ABC of Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin.

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Common symptoms

1) Increased thirst
2) Increased appetite
3) Frequent urination
4) Weight loss despite good appetite
5) Lethargy, irritability

Severe Symptoms

1) Increased thirst and increased urination
2) Repeated infections
3) Cuts, blisters, ulcers that heal slowly
4) Dimness of vision
5) Numbness or tingling of hands or feet


Diabetes is a very serious disease. If left untreated it can lead to life-threatening complications affecting the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves. Hundreds of people die every day due to complications of diabetes.

Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar and sweets. It is a genetic or autoimmune disease in which beta cells of the pancreas fail to produce an adequate amount of insulin to utilize the glucose obtained from our food. However, eating too many calories or drinking a lot of soda and sugary drinks will lead to weight gain and develop insulin resistance which can be a prerequisite to diabetes type 2.

restricting sweets altogether in diabetics will create frustration. In a healthy meal plan, some sweet foods like fruits and low-calorie sweet dishes can be added in small quantities so that the whole calorie count remains stable. Diabetics can take 1500-1800 calories per day or 150-200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Try to avoid food with a high glycemic index that causes a sharp rise the blood glucose e.gjuices, soda, refined sugar, honey Instead take low glycemic index foods that raise the blood sugar slowly and maintain a steady blood glucose level for a longer time like whole-wheat cereals, bread, fruits.

eating bitter gourd or bitter herbal drinks will not cure diabetes. It will only produce a bad taste in your mouth. The underlying problem is the deficiency of insulin in the body that needs to be corrected by medicine or insulin injections.

Various foods labeled as diabetic food are not only expensive but also unnecessary for diabetes management. We do not recommend any special diabetic foods. Diabetics can eat all healthy foods other people can eat but in a limited quantity keeping the calories and carbohydrates under control.

Diabetics can play all sports. They can even compete in Olympics, provided they maintain a balance between blood glucose, diet, and medicines.it is advised to check blood glucose before and after exercise and take carbohydrate snacks during or after sports/exercise.

 Obesity is one of the risk factors for prediabetes and diabetes but it is not necessary that all obese people become diabetic. And it is not necessary that only obese people get diabetes, some very thin can also get diabetes. In fact, type 1 diabetics are mostly underweight at the time of diagnosis.

 Diabetes is not a contagious disease like cold and flu. You cannot catch diabetes by sitting, eating, or living with diabetic patients.

Diabetics have similar chances of getting the common cold, flu, or other illnesses like the rest of the normal population. But these small illnesses can raise blood glucose levels due to physical stress, so diabetics need to take special care of blood glucose, diet, rest, and medicine when they are sick.

diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness all over the world. But taking proper measures to control blood glucose and yearly eye examination by an ophthalmologist can prevent the development of eye complications

patients are scared of insulin and they think it is prescribed at the last stage of the disease. Insulin is present in all of us, in diabetics the body is not producing an adequate quantity of insulin so it has to be given as an injection. Insulin does not mean the end of life, in fact, people have lived for 50-60 years taking insulin injections. Earlier use of insulin prevents the development of certain complications.

If diabetics keep blood glucose under control, they can perform all jobs efficiently. In fact, the discipline learned during the management of diabetes can help them achieve their goals in other jobs in life as well. There should be no discrimination in jobs with diabetes. However certain jobs like armed forces and airline pilots are not suitable for diabetics as hypoglycemia can be hazardous in these jobs.

Diabetics can drive a car if they control their blood glucose properly. They should keep sweets or chocolate with them to eat if symptoms of hypoglycemia develop. However when they develop retinopathy (impaired vision) or neuropathy (impaired foot sensations), it is not advisable to drive.

When a girl is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, her family is concerned about whether she can bear children or not. But diabetic women can conceive easily if they maintain good blood glucose control. In fact, there is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy called gestational diabetes.

after 10-15 years of diabetes, many people develop complications effecting the eye, kidneys, and nerves. But it is not necessary, if diabetics maintain ideal blood glucose levels by balancing their diet, exercise, and medicine intake, they can live a long and healthy life free of complications.

It is wrongly portrayed in the media that some form of herbal treatment can completely cure diabetes. There is no such treatment available yet. Once a diabetic will always be a diabetic and they have to take medicine for life. However new research regarding ‘Stem cell transplant’ is in process. When it is successful, transplanted cells will be able to produce insulin inside the body and there will be no need for injections or medicine.