Approximately 1 in 10 people are affected by Diabetes nowadays, mostly Type2 DM. Most of the people who are diagnosed with DM are above 40yrs of age, but type 2 is becoming more common younger adults, children and teens. 1 in 4 with type 2 aren’t aware they have it. Usually subtle or no symptoms in early stages. Symptoms may be mistaken for other situations or problems.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
- Increased thirst,
- Increased urination,
- Feeling tired,
- Blurred vision and
- More frequent infections.
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
- Family history (parent or sibling) of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
- Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.
- Being overweight.
- Having high blood pressure.
- Having low HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and high triglyceride level.
- Being physically inactive.
- Being age 45 or older.
- Having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Having a history of heart disease or stroke.
- Being a smoker.
Why is my blood glucose level high? How does this happen?
If you have diabetes:
- Your pancreas doesn’t make any insulin or enough insulin.
- Your pancreas makes insulin but your body’s cells don’t respond to it and can’t use it as it normally should.
If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream and your blood glucose level rises.
What are the complications of diabetes?
If your blood glucose level remains high over a long period of time, your body’s tissues and organs can be seriously damaged. Some complications can be life-threatening over time.
- Cardiovascular issues including coronary artery disease, chest pain, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries).
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) that causes numbing and tingling that starts at toes or fingers then spreads.
- Kidney damage (nephropathy) that can lead to kidney failure or the need for dialysis or transplant.
- Eye damage (retinopathy) that can lead to blindness; cataracts, glaucoma.
- Foot damage including nerve damage, poor blood flow and poor healing of cuts and sores.
- Skin infections.
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Hearing loss.
- Dental problems.
Complications of gestational diabetes:
In the mother: Preeclampsia (high blood pressure, excess protein in urine, leg/feet swelling), risk of gestational diabetes during future pregnancies and risk of diabetes later in life.
In the newborn: Higher-than-normal birth weight, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over time and death shortly after birth.
How is diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed and managed by checking your glucose level in a blood test. There are three tests that can measure your blood glucose level: fasting glucose test, random glucose test and A1c test.
How is Diabetes managed through Ayurveda?
Diabetes affects your whole body. To best manage diabetes, you’ll need to take steps to keep your risk factors under control and within the normal range, including:
- Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by following a diet plan, taking prescribed medication and increasing your activity level.
- Maintain your blood cholesterol (HDL and LDL levels) and triglyceride levels as near the normal ranges as possible.
- Control your blood pressure. Your blood pressure should not be over 140/90 mmHg.
You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:
- Planning what you eat and following a healthy meal plan. Follow a diet as suggested by your doctor according to your health and other ailments including vegetables, whole grains, beans, fruits, healthy fats, low sugar. These diets are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fats and calories.
- Exercising regularly. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Walk, swim or find some activity you enjoy.
- Losing weight if you are overweight. Work with your doctor to develop a weight-loss plan.
- Taking medication, if prescribed, and closely following recommendations on how and when to take it.
- Monitoring your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home.
- Keeping your appointments with your doctor and having laboratory tests completed as ordered by your doctor.
- Quitting smoking (if you smoke).
CASE OF DIABETIC NEUROPATHY
55 year old lady with numbness and paresesthesia and svere pain of right foot since 1 year came to OPD. She has uncontrolled diabetes. On examination her right foot was very cold and edematous. Blackish discoloration noted whole foot up to half of leg. No pulse felt on dorsalis pedis artery. Advised internal medication and Ayurveda treatment for 2 weeks at home. On follow up swelling completely reduced and blackish discoloration almost gone except on medial malleolus. Pulse present. Patient can do her daily activities without pain. Continued the internal medicine for one month.
Dr Merlin Antony BAMS MS(Ay)