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How Diabetes Affect Your Health

What is Diabetes?

Also known as diabetes mellitus, diabetes is a metabolic disease. A metabolic disorder is caused when abnormal chemical reactions in the human body disrupt the metabolism process, which is how a person gets energy from the food they consume. When this happens, a person might have too much of some substances or too little of other ones that are essential for them to remain healthy.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder because it causes high blood sugar. The human body contains insulin hormone that moves sugar from the blood into the cells, which is then stored or used for energy. When a person has diabetes, their body is unable to make sufficient insulin or is not able to use the insulin it produces effectively. When left untreated, diabetes can result in various health problems, including damage to critical organs of the body.


In India, diabetes is slowly emerging as a significant health crisis, and it is estimated that 8.7 percent of the diabetic population is between 20-70 years old. Many rising cases of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are due to many lifestyle changes, including rapid urbanization, sedentary routines, unhealthy diets, increased smoking, and alcohol use, and increased life expectancy. Additionally, obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes, so a healthy diet and exercise will play a vital role in reversing diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

Three major types of diabetes can affect a person, which includes:

1. Type 2 diabetes

Formerly known as non-insulin dependent, Type 2 diabetes results from ineffective use of insulin in the body. It is essentially a result of obesity and lack of physical exercise. Since the symptoms occur later, they tend to get diagnosed only once complications due to the conditions have arisen in the patient.



2. Type 1 diabetes

Characterized by low insulin production, it generally affects children and is not preventable.



3. Gestational diabetes

A condition that occurs only during pregnancy, it can result in pregnancy complications, especially during delivery. Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through prenatal screening rather than through reported symptoms.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Most forms of diabetes are not recognizable in their early stages because they cause very few symptoms. Some tell-tale signs of diabetes include the following:

  • Excessive thirst or polydipsia
  • Excessive hunger or polyphagia 
  • Excessive urination or polyurea
  • Nocturia means frequent night-time urination 
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue leads to low energy and irritability 
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Skin infections and dry, cracked skin
  • Visual disturbances 
  • Diabetic foot problems

Additionally, besides the general symptoms of diabetes, men who have diabetes may also showcase a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and poor muscle strength. On the other hand, women with diabetes can depict signs including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry and itchy skin.


With gestational diabetes, however, there are no symptoms as the condition is detected during a routine blood sugar test conducted at the beginning of the pregnancy.

What are the health impacts of diabetes?

Diabetes can damage the human effect, especially if not diagnosed on time. It can impair the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves, so diagnosing and treating it on time is of essential importance. Some ways in which diabetes can cause health problems include:


  1. Adults with diabetes are at greater risk and almost two/three times more likely to get heart problems and strokes.
  2. Diabetes can lead to reduced blood flow and nerve damage in the feet. This can increase the risk of foot ulcers and infection and even require limb amputation.
  3. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness and generally occurs because of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina.
  4. One of the most significant risk factors that diabetes can cause in an individual is kidney failure. With time, when it is not treated, high blood sugar levels can damage the millions of tiny filtering units in each kidney.

How can a person prevent diabetes?

Diabetes is not curable, but simple lifestyle measures can delay the damage caused by this condition. Some practical steps that can be implemented to prevent diabetes include:

  • Achieve and maintain a reasonable body weight
  • Be physically active – doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day is highly recommended
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugar and saturated fats
  • Do not smoke, as smoking can significantly increase the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular conditions
  • Get regular blood sugar fasting tests.




Dr. Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine

Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi

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