What is Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a state with ‘increased blood glucose levels’, which can damage your kidney, eye, heart, nerves, etc. Pre-Diabetes means you are at higher risk of developing diabetes mellitus.

Which are the symptoms of diabetes?

Patient with mildly elevated sugars may not have any symptoms. Usual symptoms of diabetes are: frequency of urine, excessive thirst, increased/decreased apatite, weight loss, burning feet & generalized weakness.

How to confirm the diagnosis of Diabetes?

Diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed by fasting/postprandial sugars or HbA1c. Fasting glucose ≥ 126 mg/dl or postprandial glucose ≥ 200 mg/dl or HbA1c > 6.4% is called ‘Diabetes mellitus’. Fasting glucose 100-125 mg/dl or postprandial glucose 140-199 mg/dl or HbA1c 5.6-6.4 % is called ‘Pre-Diabetes’.

What is HbA1c?

HbA1c is a better reflection of sugar control than fasting or postprandial sugars, because it is an average of last 3 months blood glucose levels. Hence, every diabetic patient should do HbA1c testing at least 2-3 times per year.

What are the types of Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy & other types. Majority (90-95 %) of the patients with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

What is the difference between Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes?

In Type 2 diabetes, sugars can be controlled with oral drugs for many years & Insulin is required in few patients only. In Type 1 diabetes, Insulin is always required for sugar control and stopping of insulin can lead to death.

Does eating too much of sugar/sweet leads to diabetes?

Not directly. In fact, eating too much calories in form of carbohydrate/fat in presence of sedentary lifestyle (physical inactivity) can lead to obesity. Obesity leads to insulin resistance (inability of insulin to control sugars) and hence diabetes.

Who is at risk of developing diabetes?

Those who are overweight or obese or have family member with diabetes are at risk for diabetes. Females with history of diabetes in pregnancy or PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) are also at increased risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes can occur in anyone without any of these risk factors because we Indians are already at high risk of developing diabetes.

Why is it important to control the sugars?

Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to eyes, kidney & nerves. It can lead to stroke or heart diseases. It can also increase the risk of infections and diabetic foot problems. Hence, it is very important to control the sugars.