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Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

What are the Types of Diabetes?

Causes and risk factors of Diabetes?

What are symptoms and signs of Diabetes?

Exams and tests

What are treatments for Diabetes?

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where the body can not properly produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that turns the food you eat into energy. If the body can not turn food into energy, not only cells will be starved for energy, blood glucose will build up in bloodstream. This will cause high blood glucose levels. Over years, the high blood sugar can harm major organs such as heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, etc. .

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What are the types of Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is caused by a total lack of insulin, thus causing high blood sugar levels. Type 1 Diabetes often occurs before age 30, but may strike at any age. Type 1 Diabetes frequently requires insulin injections.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body doesn't make or use insulin well. It is the most common form of Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes usually occurs in adults over 35 years old, but can affect anyone including children. Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes mainly includes dietary therapy, exercise and hypoglycemic medicines.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes affects about 4 percent of all Gestational women. It usually appears during the second trimester and disappears after the birth of the baby. Having gestational Diabetes increases risks of developing it again in future pregnancies and getting Type 2 Diabetes in later life.

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Causes and risk factors of Diabetes

You have a higher risk of Diabetes if you have any of the following:

Age over 45 years

Diabetes during a previous pregnancy

Excess body weight

Family history of Diabetes

Given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Impaired glucose tolerance rate

High blood levels of triglyceride

High-density cholesterol lower than 35mg/dl

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What are symptoms and signs of Diabetes?

Patients with type 2 Diabetes often don't have any obvious symptoms. When symptoms occur, they are often ignored because they don't seem that serious. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually come on much more suddenly and more serious.

Common symptoms of Diabetes mainly include:

Excessive thirst

Weakness/fatigue

Frequent visits to toilets

Hunger

Unusual weight loss or weight gain

Blurry vision

Dry mouth

Nausea or vomiting

Slow-healing sores or cuts

Itching skin, especially in the groin or vaginal area

Getting infections more easily

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Exams and tests

Fasting blood glucose level----Diabetes is diagnosed if fasting blood glucose is higher than 126 mg/dl on two occasions. Levels between 100 to 126 mg/dl are referred to as impaired fasting blood glucose or pre-diabetes.

HemoglobinA1c test---hb1ac is another option for diagnosing Diabetes and identifying pre-diabetes. Normal range of hba1c is less than 5.7%. Levels between 5.7% to 6.4% can be diagnosed as pre-diabetes. Levels of 6.5% or higher is diagnosis index for clinical Diabetes. Random (non-fasting) blood glucose test---Diabetes is suspected if random blood glucose is higher than 200mg/dl and accompanied by typical diabetic symptoms such as thirst, frequent urination and hunger. A further fasting blood glucose or OGTT test is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Oral glucose tolerance test---The test reveals how quickly glucose is metabolized from bloodstream by cells as energy sources. Levels of 140-200mg/dl after two hours indicates impaired glucose tolerance(pre-diabetes). Greater than 200mg/dl indicates Diabetes. Persons with Diabetes need to have their hemoglobin A1c levels checked every three to six months. The hba1c is a measure for average blood glucose for the past two to three months. It is an effective tool to reflect how well their Diabetes is controlled in the past months.

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What are treatments for Diabetes?

Immediate treatment goals of Diabetes are to control blood glucose and avoid diabetic acute complications such as ketoacidosis. Because Type 1 Diabetes often occurs suddenly with severe symptoms, those who are newly diagnosed may need to go to the hospital. Immediate exams for eyes and kidneys are suggested in first days after diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.

Long-term treatment goals include:

Prolong life

Reduce diabetic symptoms

Prevent such long-term complications of diabetes as blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, amputation of limbs, etc

The goals are achieved through the following methods:

Basic treatments:

Hypoglycemic mediations or insulin injections

Meal planning and weight controlling

Regular exercise

Blood pressure and blood cholesterol control

Regular check-ups

Treatments for improving insulin-producing ability and lowering blood glucose:

Pancreatic beta cells are main insulin-producing cells in the body. The cells are attacked by auto-antibodies due to immune system dysfunction in Type 1 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is insensitivity or insufficient use of insulin, which will force pancreatic beta cells to work hard so as to produce more insulin, thus overstraining pancreatic beta cells in view of long-term.

An important treatment to treat Diabetes and diabetic treatment is immune blocking and immune protection. Medicines that block damage to beta cells delay deterioration of Diabetes. Traditional Chinese medicines are used in immune protection. Typical treatment effects of traditional Chinese medicines have been known—activating blood, nourishing Qi, resisting inflammation and removing toxins. The treatment removes pathogenic factors to pancreas and transports sufficient blood and nutrients for repairing of damaged beta cells, thus allowing for lowering blood sugar, stabilizing the illness condition, improving quality of life and reducing sufferings and complications caused by Diabetes.

To learn more about management of Diabetes, you may read other related articles on our website or connect us.

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