Dealing with Diabetes: Types, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Southstar Drug

Disclaimer: This article features medical and health topics for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace or serve as medical or professional advice for self-diagnosis, self-treatment, self-medication, or the like for any health-related condition or medical emergency. Make sure to consult a health care or medical professional for proper medical care, diagnosis, or treatment related to your situation.

What is Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body metabolizes blood sugar or glucose due to the body’s atypical response to insulin. In 2013, the Philippine Health Statistics cited diabetes as the 6th leading cause of death among Filipinos. Not a decade over, it remains as a major threat with the numbers growing rapidly. In the Philippines alone as of May 2020, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) counts 3.9 million cases of diabetes in adults. At present, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 11 people around the world are suffering from diabetes. It is considered an international burden due to its debilitating nature and increasingly rising prevalence and cost of care, scaling up to a pandemic-like outbreak. 

With diabetes-specific complications, mortality is attributed to abnormalities developed in the kidneys, eyes, nerves, brain and even the heart. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the warning signs of diabetes, and may go undiagnosed until it is too late.  Knowing the types, symptoms, and preventive measures of diabetes can help us manage or even avoid developing this disease. 

Types of Diabetes 

There are three major types and other minor types that occur. 

Type 1 diabetes: This type of diabetes is mostly inherent in childhood. To this day, both cause and means of prevention are still unknown but some scientists believe genes and environmental factors may trigger this type of the disease. Type 1 is related to insulin deficiency where the immune system attacks the body, destroying insulin produced by the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose from food to the body’s supply of energy.  Without it, protein breaks down and muscle is lost, causing weight loss and eventual complications leading to fatality. To survive, people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. Though there is no cure, people affected by type 1 can live longer with insulin therapy and have a chance at a normal life.
Type 2 diabetes: People who have type 2 diabetes are unable to make or use insulin well, which means that affected patients have insulin resistance where the body does not respond to insulin as expected. In contrast to type 1, the more common type 2 is acquired rather than inherited and tends to develop at an older age. In most cases, it is associated with increased body weight due to lack of exercise, unhealthy eating habits or family history of diabetes. To be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a person must show a result of 200 milligrams of sugar per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher in a Random Blood Sugar Test. Symptoms of type 2 are less obvious at first, such as increased thirst, frequent urination and unintended weight loss. But if left untreated, serious complications like nerve damage, kidney disease, eye damage, hearing impairment among others can arise and lead to death. 
Gestational diabetes: This type occurs particularly during pregnancy when an expectant mother goes through hormonal changes along with diet and lifestyle adjustments. In some cases, some women experience insulin resistance as well. Additionally, other risk factors that cause this type of diabetes to develop during pregnancy include being overweight, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, having a hormone disorder called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or suffering from gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): Also known as borderline diabetes or subclinical diabetes, this condition can lead to more serious health issues like developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. IGT is still reversible and can be preventable by losing weight, exercising more and eating a healthy, balanced diet. 
Impaired fasting glycemia (IFG): Also known as pre-diabetes, this type occurs before suffering from actual diabetes, as the name suggests. IFG appears in people who have higher than normal blood sugar level but is not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. It starts to develop when the body is unable to use glucose efficiently and can lead to full-blown type 2 if unmanaged. However, this can be neutralized with diet and lifestyle changes to keep blood sugar levels from increasing.

 

Dealing with Diabetes

Amidst other concerns such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to become aware of how fatal diabetes can be and continue to push for awareness, prevention and promotion of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Contribute to flattening the rising trend of diabetes. In our own simple but mindful ways, we can take better care of ourselves to reduce the risk. 

WHO shares these important yet manageable steps against diabetes:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
  2. Be physically active.
  3. Eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats.
  4. Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  5. Have an annual check-up to monitor or ensure early diagnosis.

If you already have diabetes, make sure to go to your doctor for a check-up to know the treatment and medication that’s right for you. There are oral medications that are effective, safe, and inexpensive, but you may require the use of insulin injections or insulin pumps, depending on the type of diabetes you have and its severity. Regular blood sugar testing may also be necessary for diabetics who are already under maintenance to be able to safely administer the correct dose of insulin every time. Closely monitoring your carbohydrate intake and limiting foods that sharply increase your glucose levels may also help improve your condition and overall health.

Fight Diabetes with Southstar Drug

Take charge of your health and get what you need for diabetes prevention or maintenance. Southstar Drug carries a number of products and supplements to help you manage your condition. 

Diabetasol Nutrition Powder for Diabetic | Southstar Drug

Diabetasol is a product specially created as a diabetes nutrition supplement that is clinically proven to help maintain low Glycemic Index (GI) profile. This means it does not cause your blood glucose levels to increase rapidly and is a great source for balanced nutrition. It also creates a longer full feeling to prevent you from eating high-GI foods. What's even better about this product is it is packed with high calcium, high fiber, 11 vitamins, 6 minerals and is cholesterol-free. Available in vanilla and cappuccino flavors.

 

Glucerna Adult Nutritional Drink | Southstar Drug

Glucerna is another great-tasting nutrition product good for people with type 2 diabetes. It is designed to help provide the body with carbohydrates that are slower digesting, much like low-GI foods. It also helps to regulate blood sugar levels. It is available in various flavors such as vanilla and chocolate.

 

Nutren Diabetes is another option that is nutritionally balanced and formulated with 30 vitamins and minerals for individuals with impaired glucose tolerance. It helps meet the nutrition needed by people who have diabetes type I and II or hyperglycemia. What’s more, it is gluten-free, lactose-free, and available in Vanilla. 

 

Accu-check Test Strips | Southstar Drug

Accu Chek Test Strips is used for self-testing to determine the body’s current blood glucose level. These test strips must be used with a compatible Accu-Chek Instant blood glucose meter.

FreeStyle Optium Neo Blood Glucose & Ketone Monitoring System | Southstar Drug

 

Freestyle Smart Buy Kit is a blood glucose and ketone monitoring system that comes with an Optium Neo Meter and 1 box of 50 Optium Test Strips. This offering is best for first-time users who do not yet have a blood glucose meter and are looking for something simple, easy and reliable to use.

Having diabetes is challenging, but knowing the right treatment and management regimen can help prevent further complications and anyone suffering from it can still live a normal life. Ultimately, awareness and a healthy lifestyle are important to help prevent or manage diabetes.

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