Do I Have Diabetes?
What is diabetes and can I live with it?
For most people, Diabetes can seem like a scary concept. You may be asking yourself what exactly is Diabetes and what can you do about it? During the course of this article series, I shall answer all your questions on Diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
To help you understand this condition, first I will explain a little bit about how the body normally works. Usually, your body creates this chemical (hormone) called "Insulin". Insulin works by helping reduce the amount of sugars that are floating around in your blood by storing them within the cells of the body.
In people who have Diabetes, their Insulin cannot properly lower this blood sugar. This may due to the body not being able to produce enough Insulin, or if the Insulin is being produced, it is not being used properly by the body.
This therefore results in the sugar levels being high in the body and this can results in many varied and dangerous consequences.
This short video can help explain how Insulin works and why it is essential for your body to operate as it should.
How Do I know If I Have Diabetes?
It is important to look out for the warning signs of Diabetes. This is especially true in people whose parents and other close relatives have already been diagnosed with Diabetes, because Diabetes often run in families.
There are some clues which can help you know if you need to visit you doctor to get checked up on. Sometimes, these symptoms may be present in a person who is diabetic, or a person who is on the verge of becoming diabetic. However, sometimes there may be no clues at all.
These are some things to look out for:
- passing urine more often than normal, despite not consuming more liquids than you usually do;
- being more thirsty than usual, even if you are sure you are drinking enough water;
- losing weight, even though you have not been trying to lose weight and you have not been dieting or sick;
- recent changes in vision, such as blurry vision;
- abnormal spots appearing on your genitals;
- feeling abnormally weak or tired.
How Will My Doctor Know If I Have Diabetes?
There are a few tests which your doctor can do to find out if you have Diabetes.
- Firstly, your doctor should ask you a series of questions to find out what symptoms you are having. He may also choose to examine you as part of a routine physical examination.
- Your doctor can take a "finger-prick" test, and using a small drop of blood from your finger, he should be able to know your blood sugar level at that time. If this blood test result is high, in addition to some of the symptoms described above, he may be able to tell you whether or not you have diabetes.
- Another test you doctor can do is to send your blood sample to a lab to get a reading called "HbA1c". What this tells is your sugar control over the last three months. This is a useful tool in monitoring someone who already had diabetes, and can also be used to diagnose someone who does not know if they already have diabetes.
Can I Live With Diabetes?
While all of this may sound intimidating, there is always one question going through the patient's mind: what does this mean for my quality of life? Can I live with Diabetes?
The answer to that is: absolutely! While you may have to take extra caution in things you eat and what medication you need to take, it is very possible to live a normal life with diabetes.
It is important for a diabetic patient to control their blood sugar levels as uncontrolled diabetes can have harmful effects on the body.
But what exactly are the effects that diabetes can have on the body? What do I need to know about the treatment of diabetes?
In my next article, I plan on exploring the complications of diabetes and the different treatment options that are available for the patient with diabetes.
It is important to recognize that Diabetes is not a death-sentence, and with proper control and attention to lifestyle, a diabetic patient can live a normal life.
This article is meant for information purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for medical advice from your General Practitioner.