Diabetes Symptoms Recognition Questions Answered - Feel in touch with your condition.
The more you know about diabetes, the more you can do to stay in control.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas (an organ behind your stomach) produces little insulin or no
insulin at all, or when the pancreas makes insulin but the insulin made does not work as it should.
Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy.
Glucose (or Sugar) provides the energy your body needs for daily activities. Your blood stream transports
glucose from where it is either taken in (the stomach) or manufactured (in the liver) to the cells where
it is used (muscles) or where it is stored (fat).
The glucose in your blood stream cannot go into the cells by itself. Insulin serves as the helper, or the
"key" that lets glucose into the cells for use as energy.
When glucose enters your cells, the level of glucose in your bloodstream decreases. Without insulin,
glucose cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy.
This increases the levels of glucose in your blood. Too much glucose in the blood is called
"high blood sugar" or diabetes.
Why do I have diabetes?
You have diabetes either because your body can't make enough insulin or because the insulin it makes
doesn't do its job properly. Insulin is a hormone that moves glucose (or sugar)
from your blood into your body's cells where it's used to give you energy.
If the glucose isn't moved
into the cells, it builds up in your blood and the level can become too high.
What's the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
If you have Type 1 diabetes, your body can't make any insulin so you have to control your blood glucose/sugar
levels by takin insulin injections.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body can't enough insulin or the insulin it makes doesn't work
Some people with Type 2 diabetes can control their blood sugar/ glucose levels with healthy eating
and regular exercise, others also need to take tablets.
For example, Metformin 500mg Tablets for
Insulin and COZAAR 50mg Tablets (Losartan Potassium for HBP - High Blood Pressure ) or
the 5 x 3ml NovoMix 30 Flex Pen Insulin 3ml for insulin injections.
What is Hypoglycaemia or Hypo?
People suffer from Hypoglycaemia, or 'Hypo' for short, when their blood glucose or sugar level is below 4.
Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, hunger, shaking, feeling faint, sweating and a dry mouth.
What is Hyperglycaemia or Hyper?
People suffer from Hyperglycaemia or Hyper for short, when their blood sugar or glucose level is
too high. For me, this is a symptoms or a sign of diabetes.
You should immediately rush yourself or the person to the hospital and see a nurse or a doctor.
There may be no symptoms in the early stages but as their blood glucose level rises they might experience
blurred vision,lethargy, increased thirst, increased urination, cramps, weight loss and dehydration.
When this symptoms starts you or the person usually wants to drink fizzy drinks such as Coca cola,
Pepsi cola, Supermalt, Lemonade, 7 Up or Sprite for a quick energy. As a result you're doing a great damage
to yourself. Please call a doctore or visit a hospital immediately for treatments.
Diabetes Feet or Foot Problems and Care
Diabetes can damage the nerves in your feet, causing numbness, burning, tingling or pain. It can also
cause them to change shape, become dry or have poor circulation, which leads to skin and nail
problems and prevents cuts and sores from healing properly.
Tips to Take Care of Your Feet...
- Check your feet every day, including between the toes. Look out for areas of thickened hard skin, changes in colour and breaks in the skin.
- Wash your feet every day, dry them thoroughly and use a moisturing cream on any dry areas of skin.
- Keep your toenails trimmed.
- Make sure your shoes and socks/tights/stockings aren't too tight.
- Avoid walking around barefoot.
- Check your shoes for sharp objects or stones before putting them on.
If you notice any changes in your condition contact your GP or Doctor straight away. Also ask your doctor
to recommend a Podiatrist (or Chiropodist) and go for check-ups at least once a year.Between 4 - 7 mmol/l before meals
Diabetes Eyes Problems and Care
Anyone with diabetes can develop a complication known as diabetic retinopathy, which affects the
retina at the back of your eye.
There are no obvious symptoms but an eye examination will detect any problems at an early stage so
it's important to have your eyes checked at least once a year.
Annual eye tests are free if you have diabetes in UK. Just tell your optometrist or optician before the
Look After Yourself - Take control and enjoy life
If you have diabetes, it doesn't have to rule your life. With the right treatment, a healthy diet and
regular exercise you can carry on as normal, doing all the things you enjoy.
Below subsection contains tips on how you can control your blood sugar (or glucose) levels by eating the
right foods and keeping active.
MONITORING your blood sugar levels...
Your doctor might advise you to test your blood regularly to check its glucose levels.
You should aim to keep your blood sugar levels as near to normal as possible:
Up to 10
mmol/l two hours after a meal
(mmol/l = millimols per litre of blood)
If in doubt, ask your doctor or diabetes nurse for advice
Tips for Healthy Eating...
What you aet directly affects your blood sugar levels but that doesn't mean you have to go on a special
diet or buy food and drink labelled "diabetic".
Simply choose healthy foods that are low in fat,
sugar and salt, and eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods
Eat regualr meals and always include some kind of starchy food, such as:
- Breakfast Cereals
- Bread, Crumpets, English muffins or Pitta Bread
- Crackers, Crispbreads or Cracker Bread
- Pasta or Noodles
- Potatoes, Cassava, Sweet Potato or Plantain
Try to keep your calorie intake constant as fluctuations can affect your blood sugar levels.
You don't have to give up alcohol but stick to the recommended guidelines of two units a day for Women
and three units a day for Men. (1 unit = 1 glass of wine or 1/2 pint of beer or 1 measure (25mls) of spirits).
If you're overweight, even losing afew pounds can help you manage your diabetes more effectively. If you haven't
already seen a dietician, ask your doctor to make an appointment for you.
Keeping active will help to regulate your blood sugar levels and make insulin work more effectively.
It can also help you to lose weight, improve circulation and keep your blood cholesterol and
blood pressure within healthy limits, reducing the risk of heart disease.
The exercise you take doesn't have to be strenuous but it should be make you warm and a bit out of breath.
If you're a complete beginner, take things slowly and aim to build up to at least 30 minutes a day.
Tips for Keeping Active...
Do things you enjoy, such as Walking, Gardening, Cycling, Swimming, Dacing, Playing Tennis or Football,
Yoga, Trampolining... the list is endless!
- Leave the car at home and walk briskly to the shops.
- Cycle to work and take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Walk to the next bus stop along the route or get off a stop earlier.
- Do your housework to music.
- Team up with friends and family so you can motivate one another.
Before you start any new activity, check with your doctor or diabetes nurse first.
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