Diabetes Mellitus, DM, or simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases that involve high levels of blood sugar within a long period of time. The medical condition may be due to either the pancreas’ lack of insulin production or the body’s poor response to the insulin produced.
Diabetes has two types: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
The first type is caused by the pancreas’ failure to produce enough insulin; however, the main etiology remains unknown.
On the other hand, the second type of diabetes is caused by excessive body weight and insufficient activity, this type of diabetes starts with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells of the body do not react to insulin as expected.
The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being studied, as per International Diabetes Federation. While this is the current state with regard the identification of factors towards the medical condition, it is noted that type 1 diabetes could be hereditary. This means that a person who has a history of a family member with the disease has a higher risk of having the disease.
For type 2 diabetes, the risk factors include a familial history of the medical condition, being overweight, an unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, increasing age, high blood pressure, ethnicity, impaired tolerance to sugar, history of gestational diabetes, and malnutrition during pregnancy.
The common signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus are polyphagia (increased hunger), polydipsia (excessive thirst), and polyuria (frequent urination), along with weight loss or weight gain. Other signs and symptoms of the medical condition include vomiting, stomach pain, blurred vision, tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feet, slow-healing wounds, and frequent infections, among others.
While diabetes is managed by prescription medication, it is generally believed that prevention is better the cure and it is done by making some lifestyle modifications.
A well-balanced diet is a vital component of diabetes prevention. According to Help Guide, one should choose high-fiber and slow-acting carbohydrates, since carbohydrates have a huge impact to the body’s blood sugar levels. Instead of eating white rice, white potatoes, regular pasta, white bread, cereal, instant oatmeal, cornflakes, and corn, one may opt to eat brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat pasta and bread, high-fiber cereal, steel-cut or rolled oats, low-sugar bran flakes, and peas or leafy vegetables instead. In addition, one must control the intake of sweets like candies and chocolates.
Being overweight is one of the risk factors of type 2 diabetes, thus, it has to be managed through regular exercise. According to the Harvard website, weight loss could help if a person’s weight is more than the healthy weight range. The publication added that a seven to ten percent reduction in one’s current body weight serves as a ticket to cutting one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50 percent. It is added that the findings from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study indicate that brisk walking can be done for 30 minutes daily to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent.
According to Mercola, having too much or too little sleep increases one’s risk of having diabetes. In fact, a recent study learned that increased sleep hours can place a higher risk for having type 2 diabetes, according to Web MD. Conversely, few hours of sleep could also contribute to having the disease, since the body’s circadian rhythm is disrupted. As per Total Health Magazine, a study conducted by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found that sleep deprivation increases one’s risk for developing diabetes and having more hours of restorative sleep allowed the participants’ bodies to regulate blood sugar levels more efficiently.
Overall, people who have high risk for diabetes mellitus can prevent the condition with proper diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, right health attitude, and routine medical consultation.