World Diabetes Day is observed around the world on November 14th. Each year, this campaign aims to provide deep insight to raise awareness about this disease which is a global health issue. Under the theme ‘Education To Protect Tomorrow,’ this day also focuses on the second year of the World Diabetes Day 2021-23 theme- 'Access To Diabetes Education.' The campaign not only strives to highlight the challenges of this disorder, but also aims to look for appropriate solutions to scale up the level of diabetes care, and explore solutions for better prognosis, prevention, as well as managing this chronic health condition affecting millions of lives.
Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic chronic disorders that occur when the pancreas makes insufficient insulin or can no longer make insulin and balance the glucose levels in the blood. Common symptoms include increased hunger or thirst, intermittent weight loss, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, and wounds that take excessive amounts of time to heal.
What Are The Types of Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus is primarily of the following types:
- Type 1: An autoimmune disease, in this type, the immune system attacks and damages the pancreatic cells
- Type 2: Type 2 diabetes happens when the body becomes insulin resistant and there is a sugar build-up in the blood
- Gestational: A spike in blood sugar during pregnancy causes gestational diabetes. The reason for this type of diabetes is insulin-blocking hormones that get produced by the body’s placenta
Comorbidities That Coexist with Diabetes
Living with diabetes is a serious challenge for the person who gets afflicted with this lifelong ailment. People living with this condition besides fighting diabetes may also have to combat other health concerns. These conditions are known as comorbidities, which coexist with primary diseases and are specific diseases on their own.
Here are the 5 common comorbidities related to diabetes and how they can be effectively managed:
Heart Disease: One of the most common causes of death in adults suffering from chronic diabetes is heart disease. In the long run, elevated blood glucose starts to damage the blood vessels and the nerves that control the heart vessels. This is the reason that when one has diabetes, the chance of developing heart disease becomes significantly high.
How To Manage This Comorbidity
A heart-healthy diet is one of the best ways to reduce the chances of getting a heart attack or cardiac arrest. One should consume fresh fruits and vegetables and eat lean protein and whole grains. Regular exercising is also essential besides quitting or reducing smoking. Consumption of trans fat should also be avoided when one is suffering from a heart ailment.
Stroke: A life-threatening medical condition, stroke happens when the blood supply to the brain or part of the brain gets disconnected or cut. This can happen when the blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is blocked by a clot or has ruptured itself. This interrupted blood flow causes severe damage to the brain which is referred to as a stroke.
How To Manage Stroke Risk
To help prevent stroke risk, it is important to keep a watch on the amount of hemoglobin in the blood besides keeping a check on cholesterol levels. One should also keep blood pressure under control and make healthy dietary choices and follow them diligently. Smoking is a big no.
Hypertension: Hypertension or high blood pressure tags along itself with diabetes. About seventy percent of patients with type 2 diabetes are diagnosed with hypertension. It has been observed that insulin resistance and hypertension have always co-existed which makes things more difficult for a diabetic person.
How To Manage Hypertension
The approach to managing hypertension emphasizes controlling weight, reducing salt intake, and walking every day. Staying physically active and modifications in the diet are also essential to keep glucose levels in check.
Depression: With diabetes, depression comes as a common comorbidity due to the burden and stress of managing the lifelong problem and combating it on daily basis. Moreover, several behavioral factors, such as sleep disorders, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, alcoholism, and poor diet also contribute to this problem.
How to Combat Depression
Besides taking care of the primary problem, which is diabetes by keeping glucose levels in check, the person suffering from this comorbidity needs encouragement, love, and support to keep his or her mental health in a sound state. Helping the patient cope and manage both conditions effectively is crucial. Therapy sessions may also be of great help in such cases.
Dyslipidemia: Dyslipidemia is a lipoprotein disorder that is when lipids (building blocks of life that provide energy to cells) such as triglycerides, cholesterol, fat, and phospholipids in the blood are abnormal. Type 2 diabetes is known to increase the chances of developing dyslipidemia as a comorbidity.
How To Manage Dyslipidemia
The primary therapy for handling this comorbidity aims at lowering LDL levels that could be misbalancing the lipids. One must also consume a high-fiber diet when suffering from an ailment. Lifestyle modifications and diet changes may also help the patient to get cholesterol and triglycerides balanced besides keeping glucose levels in control.