Diabetes is a chronic health condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly process glucose (sugar), leading to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose is a vital source of energy for the body’s cells and is derived from the food we eat. The hormone insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is responsible for regulating the absorption of glucose by the body’s cells. In people with diabetes, the body is either unable to produce enough insulin or is unable to use the insulin it produces effectively.
Diabetes is a global health concern, with an estimated 463 million adults living with the condition worldwide as of 2019. In India, diabetes is a significant health issue, with an estimated 77 million adults living with the condition as of 2021, making India the diabetes capital of the world. The prevalence of diabetes in India is increasing rapidly, with an estimated 101 million adults predicted to have the condition by 2030.
Diabetes can have serious health consequences if left untreated or poorly managed, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, blindness, and amputations. However, with proper management and lifestyle changes, people with diabetes can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Types of Diabetes:
There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, as it often develops in childhood or adolescence. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This leads to a deficiency of insulin in the body, which results in high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes requires lifelong insulin therapy to manage blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes: This is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all cases. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and an unhealthy diet. Treatment for type 2 diabetes typically involves lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as medications to lower blood sugar levels.
- Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and usually resolves after giving birth. It is caused by hormonal changes that affect insulin sensitivity. Women who have gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Treatment for gestational diabetes may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, and in some cases, insulin therapy.
- Other types of Diabetes: There are other types of diabetes, including monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, and steroid-induced diabetes. Monogenic diabetes is caused by a single gene mutation, while cystic fibrosis-related diabetes is caused by the build-up of mucus in the pancreas. Steroid-induced diabetes is caused by the use of steroid medications.
Causes of Diabetes:
- Genetics: Family history of diabetes can increase the risk of developing the disease. This is because certain genes are associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. However, not everyone who has a family history of diabetes will develop the disease. It is believed that genetics may play a role in the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
- Obesity: Obesity is one of the major risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes. Excess weight, particularly around the waistline, can increase insulin resistance, which can lead to high blood sugar levels. In addition, obesity can cause inflammation in the body, which can also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.
- Inactivity: Lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, which is a major risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. Exercise helps to regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. In addition, regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, which are also associated with diabetes.
- Age: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, as the body becomes less efficient at using insulin. This is why diabetes is more common in older adults. However, with the increase in childhood obesity, type 2 diabetes is also becoming more common in children and young adults.
- Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups have a higher risk of developing diabetes. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Native Americans have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared to other ethnic groups. It is not fully understood why certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to diabetes, but it may be due to a combination of genetics, lifestyle factors, and environmental factors.
Other risk factors for diabetes include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy), and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop diabetes, but it does increase the likelihood of developing the disease.
Symptoms of Diabetes:
Symptoms of diabetes can vary depending on the type of diabetes, the severity of the disease, and the individual. However, there are some common symptoms that can indicate the presence of diabetes. These symptoms include:
- Frequent urination: People with diabetes may experience an increased need to urinate, especially at night. This is because the body is trying to eliminate excess glucose through urine.
- Increased thirst: The frequent urination caused by diabetes can lead to dehydration, which can make a person feel thirsty.
- Fatigue: Diabetes can cause fatigue due to the body’s inability to properly use glucose for energy.
- Unexplained weight loss: People with diabetes may experience weight loss, even if they are eating normally or more than usual.
- Increased hunger: When the body is unable to use glucose for energy, it can signal the brain to feel hungry.
- Blurred vision: High levels of glucose in the blood can cause the lens of the eye to swell, which can lead to blurry vision.
- Slow healing: People with diabetes may have slower healing times for wounds, cuts, and infections.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet: Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which can lead to numbness or tingling sensations in the extremities.
- Dry or itchy skin: High levels of glucose in the blood can cause dry, itchy skin.
- Yeast infections: Women with diabetes may be more prone to yeast infections, as high levels of glucose in the blood can promote the growth of yeast.
It is important to note that not everyone with diabetes will experience all of these symptoms, and some people with type 2 diabetes may not experience any symptoms at all. Therefore, it is important to get regular check-ups and blood tests to monitor blood glucose levels and detect diabetes early.
Complications of Diabetes:
Diabetes can lead to several complications, especially when it is not managed properly. Some of the complications of diabetes include:
- Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.
- Nerve damage: High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, leading to a condition called diabetic neuropathy. This can cause tingling, numbness, and pain in the hands and feet.
- Kidney damage: Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to a condition called diabetic nephropathy. This can cause kidney failure, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage: Diabetes can damage the small blood vessels in the retina, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. This can cause vision loss or blindness.
- Foot damage: Nerve damage and poor blood circulation can lead to foot problems in people with diabetes. These problems include foot ulcers, infections, and in severe cases, amputation.
- Skin conditions: People with diabetes are more prone to developing skin conditions, such as bacterial and fungal infections.
- Dental problems: High blood sugar levels can lead to dental problems, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
- Complications during pregnancy: Women with diabetes are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
It is important for people with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels and work with their healthcare team to prevent or manage these complications. Regular check-ups and early detection can help prevent or delay the onset of complications.
Prevention of Diabetes:
There are certain lifestyle changes that can help reduce the risk of developing the disease. Some preventive measures include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for diabetes, so maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent the disease.
- Regular exercise: Regular physical activity can help prevent diabetes by promoting weight loss, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing the risk of developing other chronic diseases.
- Healthy diet: Eating a balanced and healthy diet can help prevent diabetes by reducing the risk of obesity and promoting good overall health.
- Avoiding sugary drinks: Sugary drinks like soda and juice can cause spikes in blood sugar levels and increase the risk of developing diabetes.
- Quitting smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for diabetes, so quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing the disease.
- Regular check-ups: Regular check-ups with a healthcare professional can help detect diabetes early and prevent complications.
Role of Neurotherapy:?
- The pancreas is an important organ that plays a vital role in the regulation of blood sugar levels in the body. It contains two main types of cells – alpha cells and beta cells – which produce hormones that regulate blood sugar levels. Beta cells in the pancreas produce the hormone insulin, which helps to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells throughout the body where it can be used for energy. Insulin also helps to store excess glucose in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. In people with diabetes, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, leading to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Hence, pancreas is stimulated in order to release insulin in natural and stream lined manner.
- Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining the health of nerve cells, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell formation. It also helps in the proper functioning of the immune system. One of the proposed mechanisms is that vitamin B12 deficiency may cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition where the body’s cells become less sensitive to the effects of insulin, leading to higher levels of glucose in the blood. This can eventually lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Another proposed mechanism is that people with diabetes are more likely to have a deficiency of vitamin B12 due to poor absorption of nutrients in the gut. This can happen due to nerve damage caused by high blood glucose levels, which can affect the digestive system’s ability to absorb nutrients. Furthermore, some studies have suggested that vitamin B12 supplementation may help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Therefore, neurotherapy helps in the natural production of Vitamin B 12.
- Diabetes can affect the oxygen level in the body by damaging the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the tissues, increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and causing complications such as DKA. So, oxygen treatment is given in order to maintain oxygen level.