The term diabetes is the shortened version of the full name diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus is derived from the Greek word diabainein meaning siphon- to pass through and the Latin word mellitus meaning honeyed or sweet. This is because in diabetes excess sugar is found in blood as well as the urine. It was known in the 17th century as the “pissing evil”. The term diabetes was probably coined by Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC. Diabetes is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425. It was in 1675 that Thomas Willis added the word “mellitus” to the word diabetes. This was because of the sweet taste of the urine. This sweet taste had been noticed in urine by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Persians as is evident from their literature.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is usually a chronic disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. It is a condition where the body fails to use the consumed glucose properly. This could be due to lack of the hormone insulin (which helps the glucose get into one’s cells to give them energy) or because the insulin that is available is not working effectively.
Diabetes is classified into three broad categories:
The body does not produce insulin. Some people may refer to this type as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. People usually develop Type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are Type 1. Patients with Type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.
The body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin (insulin resistance). Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, Type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease, it gradually gets worse and the patient will probably end up taking insulin.
Gestational Diabetes is high blood sugar that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood, and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin to transport all of the glucose into their cells, resulting in progressively rising levels of glucose. The majority of gestational diabetes patients can control their diabetes with exercise and diet. Between 10% to 20% of them will need to take some kind of blood-glucose controlling medications. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can raise the risk of complications during childbirth.
Here are the symptoms which could help you diagnose Diabetes-
1. Frequent Urination and disproportionate thirst:
Excessive thirst and frequent urination is one most commonly noticed symptom among diabetics. Due to high secretion of fluids by the kidney, the body becomes dehydrated and starts craving for the essential amount of fluid to function properly. If insulin is nonexistent or ineffective, the kidneys can’t filter glucose back to the blood. They become overwhelmed and try to draw extra water out of the blood to dilute the glucose.
2. Unusual Weight Loss:
This is more common among people with Diabetes Type 1. As the body is not producing insulin it will seek out another energy source (the cells aren’t getting glucose). Muscle tissue and fat will be broken down for energy. As Type 1 is of a more sudden start and Type 2 is much more gradual, weight loss is more noticeable with Type 1.
3. Blurred Vision:
High levels of glucose damages blood vessels and pulls fluid from the lenses of eyes and affect the ability to see and if ignored for a long time can even cause blindness. The most serious eye condition associated with diabetes involves the network of blood vessels supplying the retina. This condition is called diabetic retinopathy.
4. Slow of healing cuts and bruises:
When there is more sugar (glucose) in the body, its ability to heal can be destabilized. Hence, the cuts or bruises on the skin take longer than usual to heal or in some cases they don’t heal properly.
5. Tingling hands and feet:
Excess blood sugar levels damages blood vessels and nerves. This leads to a loss of sensation in the hands and feet, as well as a burning pain in the arms, hands, legs and feet due to loss of motor nerve fiber. This symptom is also known as Neuropathy. It can very often improve when tighter blood glucose control is achieved.
The optimal diet for people with Diabetes symptoms
- Avoid sugar in any form i.e. rice, potato, banana, cereals & fruits containing high percentage of sugar content.
- Include at least one bitter dish in every meal
- Take plenty of green vegetables, black gram, soy, fish etc.
- Vegetables such as Bitter Gourd, string beans, cucumber, onion and garlic, fruits such as Indian Gooseberry, Jambul Fruit and Grapes and grains like Bengal gram and black gram should be included in the diet.
- Raw vegetables & herbs play a part in stimulating the pancreas and enhancing insulin production.