Diabetes and You. What You Should Know.
Q: What is diabetes?
A: Diabetes is a systemic disease that occurs when your blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high. Blood sugar is your primary source of energy and comes from the food you eat. The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin which helps glucose from food get into your cells for energy. When you have diabetes, your body does not make enough or any insulin. It can also be that the body simply does not use it very effectively. In these instances, glucose stays in your blood and does not reach your cells.
Q: Why are high blood sugar levels bad?
A: Over a while, too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. These can include:
·Nerve damage (neuropathy)
·Kidney damage (nephropathy)
·Eye damage (retinopathy)
Q: What are the symptoms of diabetes?
A: Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and 2 diabetes are:
·Unexplained weight loss
·Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there is not enough available insulin)
·Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
Q: How are you diagnosed?
A: Diabetes is diagnosed (and managed) by checking your glucose level in a blood test. There are three tests used:
·Fasting plasma glucose test: This is done in the morning after an eight-hour fast (nothing to eat or drink).
·Random plasma glucose test: This test can be done any time without the need to fast.
·A1c test: This test, also called HbA1C or glycated hemoglobin test, provides your average blood glucose level over the past two to three months. This test measures the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. You do not need to fast before this test.·Oral glucose tolerance test: In this test, the blood glucose level is first measured after an overnight fast. Then you drink a glucose drink. Your blood glucose level is then checked at hours one, two, and three.
Q: How is diabetes treated?
A: Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting. Treatment of type 2 diabetes primarily involves lifestyle changes, monitoring of your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both
Q: When is World Diabetes Day?
A: 14 November
Q: What is it?
A: World Diabetes Day (WDD) was created in 1991 by IDF and the World Health Organization in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. The campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public and political spotlight.
Q: How can I get involved?
A: You can get involved in the following ways:
·Pledge your support for greater access to diabetes care by supporting the online petition. They will make a link available soon.
·Engage local or national policy-makers to ensure that all people with diabetes have access to the care they need.
·Organise a ‘Learn about diabetes’ event in schools.
·Organise or participate in a local diabetes awareness walk.
·Light up a local landmark, your home or workplace in blue.
·Arrange an activity with your work colleagues.·Help people learn their potential risk of type 2 diabetes with their online test.