What is Diabetes?
- Diabetes is a condition that occurs when there is too much glucose (sugar) present in the blood.
- The amount of glucose in the blood is under normal conditions well-stabilized.
- There are different types of diabetes, a significant majority of Diabetes patients on Aruba have type-2 diabetes. With Type-2 diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body cannot make enough use of it, this is called Insulin Resistance.
- Diabetes can worsen over time, this happens when the pancreas produces less insulin.
- Diabetes requires regular check-ups because the conditions of the disease can change over time.
- Once you have diabetes, it cannot be cured.
- Diabetes is a disease that needs to be well monitored because there is always a chance of developing complications.
- The good news is that there is a lot you can do to lower the risk of diabetes or to reduce the consequences of diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
During the PRISMA encounters, you may have noticed that people with diabetes can experience different symptoms. Experiencing a symptom, or an increase of symptoms, can be a sign that the glucose level in the blood is too high. Below you’ll find a few of the most common symptoms that appear due to high-levels of glucose in the blood.
When the body cannot maintain the blood glucose level below 10 mmol/liter, it activates some emergency measures. Glucose exits the body through urine. The disadvantage of this is that it is hard on the kidneys and can possibly cause frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. If the blood glucose level is normal, the frequent urinating will lessen.
When the kidneys remove the glucose from the urine, it requires liquids to dissolve the glucose. The body will communicate its need for more liquid through thirst. If you ignore the thirst, you’ll risk becoming dehydrated. Removing the glucose from the urine takes priority. The thirst will cease once the blood glucose levels go down and the body no longer needs to remove glucose.
Lack of Energy / Fatigue
Glucose is a combustible part of creating energy, so every part of the body needs it. If the blood glucose level in the body remains elevated and insufficiently reaches to the places where it is needed, it causes fatigue. There is a lack of energy. Once the glucose can be taken from the blood the fatigue will reduce.
When glucose exits the body in the urine, the body loses energy. If the body cannot regain energy from the blood glucose, it will take energy from the fat reserves in the body. For certain people, this will be experienced as weight loss. Weight loss may seem like a good thing and not so much a complaint, but weight loss in this manner is unhealthy for the kidneys. Once the blood glucose levels improve, the body’s weight should re-stabilize.
Infections / Bladder Infection
Infections are caused by bacteria. Bacteria thrive in sugar-rich areas, so they particularly love glucose. A regular complaint with diabetics is bladder infections. Because the kidneys remove excess glucose via urine, the bladder can become a glucose-rich area, which is an ideal spot for bacteria to multiply itself. The result is an irritating bladder infection that can regularly come back. When the urine is glucose-free as a result of the blood glucose levels being under control, it becomes easier to combat the bladder infection and there will be less risk of it coming back.
The eye’s lens is also affected by high glucose levels in the blood, causing it to deform, which causes blurry vision. Once the blood glucose levels are normal, the vision will be fixed.
An absence of symptoms does not automatically mean the blood glucose levels are normal. The complaints that arise when levels are elevated aren’t always obvious: everyone feels tired sometimes, urinates more than usual, gets infections, or feels unfit. Blurry vision and thirst won’t necessarily raise any immediate red flags. You won’t necessarily experience weight loss. Most people experience a change when they begin treatments for diabetes, that’s when they realize something had been amiss.