Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

What a Diabetic Needs to Know

facts-on-diabetesIndia has the highest number of diabetic people in the world—a whopping 50 million and counting. Many among them have queries that escape their minds in a rushed visit to the endocrinologist. There are also people who don’t have diabetes at the moment, but have a close relative or parents suffering from diabetes. Naturally, such people are worried and want to assess their risk factors. All such queries come to us and we have got them answered from Dr Ambrish Mithal, HoDDr Ambrish Mithal Endocrinology Endocrinology at Medanta-the-Medicity.


Q. My dad was a type 2 diabetes patient and at the age of 70, he passed away because of diabetes related complication, failure of kidneys. I am forty plus and I got diagnosed with high blood pressure, four years ago. Of late, my blood pressure is under control, but my triglycerides levels are high, for which I am taking medicines. Will I get diabetes?

Ans. Abnormal triglycerides, high blood pressure along with a family history can prove to be a risk for diabetes in future. Follow a healthy diet plan and do regular exercise (as prescribed by your doctor/nutritionist). Be regular with your medications and get the tests done as prescribed. Also, keep your weight in check.

Q. At the age of thirty five I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I have been taking medicine for it but I am overweight. What is my risk factor for getting diabetes?

Ans. You may get diabetes due to excess weight and not due to hypothyroidism.


Q. I have been recently diagnosed with diabetes and my sugar levels were fairly high. My endocrinologist has prescribed insulin shots to me instead of oral medicines. Aren’t insulin shots supposed to be given when the end-stage of disease reaches?

Ans. Prescription of insulin shots to a patient does not mean that end stage of disease has been reached. Nowadays insulin is being prescribed fairly early in the course of disease, along with the drugs, to help control blood sugar levels. Some studies have also indicated that early insulin therapy corrects metabolism in a better manner than oral tablets. One fact stands clear, insulin is the most natural therapy of all anti-diabetic therapies (since it is produced by the body itself), and hardly produces any side effects, except low blood sugar.

Q. How should I handle my diabetes when am not feeling well and have no appetite? I have quite taking the medicine that releases insulin during meals, because I am not eating anything. Am I doing it right?

Ans. When you fall sick, the blood glucose levels may vary widely. You should check your blood glucose values more frequently when you are sick. You will most likely need to take your medications as usual. Do not skip meals, try eating small frequent meals and have plenty of fluids. However you can adjust the dosages of your medications after consulting your physician. You should rush to the doctor if you have persistent vomiting, decreased frequency of urination, excessive thirst or dryness of mouth and breathlessness.

Q. How can I lower my risk factors for diabetes related complications like heart attacks, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and foot infections?

Ans. A diabetic has to battle with cholesterol and hypertension too. Keeping them within the normal range—LDL<100mg and blood pressure at—120/80, drastically reduces chances of diabetes related complications.

Q. As a diabetic when how often should I get my blood sugar level checked? Any other tests about which I should be careful?

Ans. The frequency of sugar monitoring varies according to the medication advised. It can be once a week to four times daily! People on insulin should check sugars more frequently.

  • Get your HbA1C check done every 3 months.
  • Check your blood pressure in every clinic visit.
  • Eyes, kidney function, liver function should be checked annually
  • Lipids should be checked every 6 months.
  • Go for yearly nerve testing.

Remember, diabetes is an insidious disease and it hardly gives any symptoms until it is too late. If your fasting blood glucose level is 100-125mg/dl it is likely that you have prediabetes. Your blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose diabetes. Don’t panic yet. Research shows that if you follow a healthy lifestyle (limit the fat you eat and get plenty of fibre), be active just about 30 minutes five days a week and lose about 5 -7 percent of your starting body weight, you can hope to delay or prevent the onset.

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Category: Diabetes
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