Health Blog


Published on 2017-05-12 16:05:07

Diabetes  (Medical Term Diabetes Mellitus) is not a disease but a disorder.  But diabetes is a gateway to other major diseases. Diabetes cannot be cured but it has to be controlled with life style management.

Pancreas releases insulin that helps the body to store and use sugar and fat from the food. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces less or no insulin or the body is not reacting properly to insulin, a condition termed as “insulin resistance”

Diabets, Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, diabetes in children

Role of Insulin:

The food that we eat is broken into simple sugar called ‘Glucose’, which is transported through the bloodstream to the cells of our body where it is used to provide energy for doing our daily activities The hormone - insulin regulates the amount of glucose. The pancreas releases the insulin in small amount and when the amount of glucose raises the pancreas will release more insulin as required.


People who have diabetes, their pancreas produce less insulin or no insulin or their body cells are resistant to insulin, which leads to high levels of sugar in the blood.  Having blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more after an overnight fast is considered to be diabetic.

Symptoms of Diabetes:

  • Frequent Urination (Polyuria)
  • Increasingly Thirsty (Polydipsia)
  • Increasingly Hungry( Polyphagia)
  • Lack of Energy
  • Wounds will not heal easily
  • Infections that keep coming back
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet


Types of Diabetes:

There are generally two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Gestational Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system, so the body does not produce insulin. Hence it can be categorized into autoimmune disorder.


The destruction of beta cells in the pancreas that gradually leads to Type 1 diabetes is because the immune system turns against the body own cells which could be triggered by various factors –

  • Genetic
  • Auto-antigents activate immune response resulting in destruction of beta cells. 
  • Viruses like rubella virus, Epstein Barr Virus and retro viruses are linked to type 1 diabetes
  • Diet – children exposed to dairy products, high nitrates in drinking water and low vitamin d  intake can also lead to type 1 diabetes.


Type 1 diabetes is also referred as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. People usually develop type 1 diabetes under 20 years or  before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are of Type 1 diabetes.


People who have Type 1 Diabetes should take insulin injections throughout their life, have to ensure their blood glucose level is under control and have to regularly carry out blood tests to monitor the signs of hypoglycemia (blood sugar level falls to low) or hyperglycemia (blood sugar level is high) or other diabetic related complications. They have to adjust their insulin doses according to their readings.

Type 1 Diabetes in Children:

Children with Type 1 diabetes need insulin and require constant management 24x7 – 365 days. Parents need to love, encourage and educate the child. The child may feel low and parents play a very vital role in managing the child’s diabetes. When properly managed children with type 1 diabetes can lead a healthy and long lives


Symptoms to look out for

  • Urinating more
  • Often thirsty
  • Wetting the bed
  • Feeling tired
  • Losing Weight


Unlike type 2 diabetes, the sugar level cannot be managed or controlled by diet and exercise, it requires complete approach of insulin intake, exercise, proper and healthy diet and constant monitoring of sugar levels. Also it does not mean that the children with type 1 diabetes have to put a big full stop for fun activities or socializing. They can be as normal as any other children of their age, have fun, play and enjoy their childhood.


  • Encourage children to have balanced meal containing whole grains, vegetables and fruits
  • Encourage child to eat more or less at the same time everyday. Do not allow them to skip meals or skip insulin
  • Always make your child have timely snacks and meals to prevent hypoglycemia and always carry candies or glucose to treat hypoglycemia
  • Do not make your child think diabetic diet means tasteless, boiled or bitter foods. While preparing the diet plan which encourages them to eat and follow the diet
  • Avoid sugar free diabetic foods, overeating of sugar free food is also not good for health, as they contain other carbohydrates which will affect the blood sugar level
  • Limit intake of empty calories food containing high sugar, high fat, having less fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. For ex: cookies, soft drinks, chocolates, cakes, namkeens
  • Important point for children with diabetes is that they need to balance the quality, quantity and timing of their meals with the amount of insulin intake and also with their physical activities or vice versa

Type 2 diabetes:

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, develops in adulthood. People with Type 2 diabetes generally their body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in the body do not react to insulin which is called as insulin resistance. Approximately 90% of all diabetes cases are of Type 2.


Overweight / Obese people have more risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as their body releases chemicals that can weaken the cardiovascular and metabolic systems. Also people who are physically inactive or eating unhealthy / wrong food, smoking, stress, sleeping too little or too much are prone to develop Type 2 diabetes.


Relative of people with diabetes are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. People who have high blood pressure, women who had gestational diabetes, PCOS are prone to develop diabetes. It is a progressive disease, which over a period of time gets worse and the person may end up taking insulin to control the sugar level. Compared to Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by good life style management.

Gestational Diabetes:

This type of diabetes affects women during pregnancy. Most of the times gestational diabetes can be managed and controlled by proper exercise and diet,  but some of them may need medications to control their blood sugar level. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may lead to complications during childbirth.


Tests to diagnose diabetes:

  • A1C Test
  • FPG Test
  • OGTT Test


The A1C test
- at least 6.5% means diabetes
- between 5.7% and 5.99% means pre-diabetes
- less than 5.7% means normal

The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test
- at least 126 mg/dl means diabetes
- between 100 mg/dl and 125.99 mg/dl means pre-diabetes
- less than 100 mg/dl means normal
An abnormal reading following the FPG means the patient has impaired fasting glucose (IFG)


The OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test)
- at least 200 mg/dl means diabetes
- between 140 and 199.9 mg/dl means pre-diabetes
- less than 140 mg/dl means normal
An abnormal reading following the OGTT means the patient has impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)


People who are having diabetes for a long term can damage the heart and blood vessels, kidneys, eyes and nerves.


Controlling / Managing Diabetes:

  • Diabetes cab be managed by combination of good diet, exercise and body weight control and proper medication.
  • People with type 1 diabetes have to take insulin injections regularly along with special diet and exercise
  • People with type 2 diabetes have to take tablets to control blood sugar level along with exercise and special diet. But some of them need insulin injection over a period of time.


Some of the ways to manage diabetes are:

  • Taking diabetes medications / insulin on time
  • Regular blood checkup and glucose monitoring.
  • Eating right diet at regular intervals.
  • Regular checkup
  • Exercise / Yoga asanas for diabetes
  • Meditation
  • Avoid smoking. Alcohol consumption


Complications linked to uncontrolled diabetes:

Some of the complications that can develop due to uncontrolled diabetes:

  • Eye complication: People with diabetes may develop glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy
  • Foot complications: ulcers and gangrene, which may even lead to amputation because of uncontrolled blood sugar level
  • Heart complications: may develop heart diseases, as the blood supply to the heart muscle is shrunk.
  • Hypertension: People with diabetes have high risk of developing hypertension which may lead to kidney problems, eye problems, heart attack and stroke
  • Hearing loss: People with diabetes have high risk of developing hearing problems
  • Infections: People with uncontrolled diabetes are more prone to infections and in turn wounds which may not heal easily  
  • Mental health: People with uncontrolled diabetes have risk of developing depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.
  • Sexual disorders: People with uncontrolled diabetes may have risk of developing erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems


The chart below gives you an idea of  ideal blood sugar level :

Time of Test

Ideal for Adults With Diabetes

Fasting (Before food)

70-130 mg/dL

Post prandial (After food)

Less than 180 mg/dL


Average Blood Glucose level:

Average Blood Glucose Level (mg/dL)

HbA1c (%)