This article introduces diagnosis, treatment and home care for patients of diabetes. To know how currently healthy people can prevent diabetes, click here: Nobody is Safe: Your Ultimate Diabetes Prevention Guidebook.
Symptoms and complications of diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes
If you notice these symptoms on yourself or someone around you, it’s possible that you have diabetes.
- Urinating often
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Sometimes the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are too mild to be noticed. An annual physical examination can help monitor your physical health.
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes.
Complications of diabetes
Diabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems, but you can prevent them with the correct treatment and healthy lifestyle.
Bacterial infections: some bacterial infections may occur on eyelids, hair follicles, skin and the tissue underneath, and nails. The inflamed tissues are usually hot, swollen, red and painful. This can be effectively prevented by practicing good skin care.
Fungal infections: this may create itchy rashes of moist, red areas surrounded by tiny blisters and scales.
Itching: diabetes can cause localized itching.
Glaucoma: people with diabetes are 40% more likely to have glaucoma than people without diabetes.
Cataracts: people with diabetes are 60% more likely to have cataracts than people without diabetes.
Retinopathy: the higher the blood glucose level and the blood pressure are, the more likely one has retinopathy. The condition is also related to how long the diabetes is and the genes.
Neuropathy means nerve damage caused by diabetes. About 50% of patients with diabetes have some form of nerve damage. However, this can also be prevented delayed if you can control you blood glucose levels well.
Diagnosis of diabetes
There are four methods to test your blood glucose levels, and each has different process and purpose.
This test measures your average blood glucose in the last 2 or e months. Results are showed below:
Less than 5.7%
5.7% to 6.4%
6.5% or higher
Fasting plasma glucose (FPG)
This test checks your blood glucose after no drinking or eating for at least 8 hours. The test is usually done before breakfast in the morning.
Less than 100mg/dl
100mg/ml to 125 mg/dl
126 mg/dl or higher
Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
The test checks the blood glucose levels before and 2 hours after you drink a special sweet drink. It shows how your body processes glucose.
Less than 140mg/dl
140 mg/ml to 199 mg/dl
200 mg/dl or higher
Random (or casual) plasma glucose test
This test can be done randomly to monitor your blood glucose levels when you have severe diabetes.
Diabetes treatments and home care
Fighting against diabetes is long and patience needed. 10 ways to help treat and care for diabetics.
Monitor your blood sugar. You can test your blood sugar at home daily to monitor it and keep it under control. Consult your doctor for the figures you should try to reach.
Pay attention to your blood pressure and cholesterol. Diabetics are more likely to have a heart attack and stroke. Keeping cholesterol levels and blood pressure under control can help prevent heart attacks.
Get physical and eye checks regularly. Schedule at least once more physical and eye check in addition to your yearly physical check. Keep in touch with the doctor about your nutrition and physical activity levels.
Have annual vaccines. Diabetics are more likely to get certain illnesses, possibly because the bacteria like the high-sugar blood. Take annual vaccines of flu, pneumonia, and other vaccines can help.
Take care of your teeth and feet. High blood sugar may lead to infections to your teeth and damages to the nerves in your feet. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and wash your feet with warm water daily.
Take baby aspirin. Aspirin can help protect your heart. Most diabetics over age 40 take aspirin daily. Consult your doctor whether you need it.
No smoking. Smoking can increase the risk of various diabetes complications including infections in the legs and feet, heart disease, stroke, eye disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and premature death.
Drink alcohol moderately. Alcohol can influence your blood sugar. Take only one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than 65. For men of 65 or younger, you can take two drinks a day.