Diabetes Care Unit

With you every step of the way.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term disease that occurs when a person’s blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is too high. This could be because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps get glucose from our food into our cells. Other times, the pancreas does not produce any insulin at all.

An excess of glucose in your blood can lead to other health complications in the long run. This is why diabetic patients have to take steps to manage their disease and stay healthy.

Types of Diabetes

What is Type 1 Diabetes? 

Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body’s immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that helps with insulin production, stopping the pancreas from making insulin. Without insulin, your body is unable to process the glucose which then leads to an increase in blood glucose levels. 

Patients with Type 1 Diabetes must take insulin everyday to survive.

Who does it commonly affect? 

Type 1 diabetes tends to develop in children and young adults, although it is also detected in older patients. A parent or sibling who has the disease also increases your likelihood of developing Type 1 diabetes.

What are the symptoms? 

These symptoms are serious and develop quickly, over a few days or weeks. 

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Sometimes, early first symptoms of type 1 diabetes are signs of a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Some symptoms of DKA include:

  • Breath that smells fruity
  • Fry or flushed skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble paying attention or feeling confused

If you or your child show signs of DKA, contact your healthcare professional immediately, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

What is Type 2 Diabetes? 

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not make enough insulin or does not efficiently use insulin to process glucose.

 

Who does it commonly affect? 

Type 2 diabetes is more common than Type 1, and can occur at any age. That said, it is often detected in middle-aged and elderly people. You are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if you are above 45 years old, have family history of diabetes, are overweight or obese, or have previously suffered from prediabetes or gestational diabetes while pregnant.

Individuals who are not physically active also risk developing Type 2 diabetes.

 

What are the symptoms? 

Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, sometimes over the course of several years. Sometimes, symptoms are so mild that people only realise they have diabetes when other health issues occur. 

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Feeling tired
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss

What is Gestational Diabetes? 

Gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy and is usually diagnosed between the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. In general, all pregnant women tend to develop insulin resistance during late pregnancy, where the body does not respond as efficiently to insulin and is therefore unable to absorb glucose from the blood. In most cases, the pancreas is able to produce enough insulin to overcome resistance. However, women who cannot produce enough insulin develop gestational diabetes.  

High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can impact your baby. Here are some effects:

  • Being born too early
  • Weighing too much, which could lead to a difficult delivery or a C-section
  • Developing hypoglycemia, low blood sugar levels, right after birth
  • Having breathing problems
  • Increase chances of a miscarriage or a stillborn baby
  • Developing Type 2 diabetes when your baby grows up 

Gestational diabetes also increases the likelihood of preeclampsia, where the pregnant mother develops high blood pressure and too much protein in her urine during the second half of pregnancy. Preeclampsia can lead to serious or fatal problems to the mother and her child, and the only cure is to give birth.

People who suffered from gestational diabetes are also more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

 

Who does it commonly affect? 

Pregnant women who are overweight or obese are at risk of gestational diabetes. This also applies to women who gain too much weight during pregnancy. Women who have family members that are diabetic are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

 

What are the symptoms? 

Typically, gestational diabetes has no symptoms at all. If symptoms are present, they’re often mild, for instance being thirstier than usual or having to urinate more frequently.

Treatments for Diabetes

Effective treatment for diabetes is different for every patient. Doctors should consider every patient’s unique needs when creating care plans for them to manage their diabetes.

Meal and Nutrition Planning

Eating nutritional and well-balanced meals at regular intervals can help stabilise your blood sugar levels and improve your wellbeing. Dieticians can help plan meals based on your preferences and help you develop healthier eating habits.

Diabetes Medication

Depending on the individual’s condition, doctors might prescribe oral or injected medication that supports the pancreas to release insulin, or to prevent the release of glucose from the liver.

Monitoring Blood Sugar

Diabetes patients need to regularly track and record their blood sugar levels throughout the day so that blood sugar levels remain in the target range. Glucometers are used to measure sugar levels in a drop of blood.

Physical Exercise

Regular exercise can help regulate blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Spending as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your health and mental wellbeing.

Weight Loss

In some cases, doctors might recommend patients lose weight as it can help regulate blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure. A dietitian can help you set your weight-loss goals and create a plan to get you there.

Insulin Therapy

Insulin therapy is prescribed if blood sugar levels cannot be controlled through lifestyle changes. There are two main types of insulin, long-acting insulin which works overnight or throughout the day, and short-acting insulin used at targeted times of the day.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

If you have previously been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or prediabetes, the Center for Disease Control recommends a few helpful changes you can make to reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.

Exercise

It is recommended that individuals get up to 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. Set a realistic goal for yourself, track your progress, and keep up the good work! Your body will thank you for it.

Diet and nutrition

Eating healthy and nutritional meals can help reduce calories and regulate blood glucose levels. Maintain balanced portions and servings, and stick to a regular eating schedule for best results.

Track your progress

What isn’t measured cannot be achieved. Creating a habit tracker to record your exercise and food activity can be a great motivator. There are also many apps on the market that can help you out.

Weight Loss

For some individuals, losing weight can significantly reduce your chances of getting diabetes. Get help reducing your calorie intake and creating a realistic exercise plan to improve your health.

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Routine Screening

If you are overweight, have suffered from gestational diabetes, was diagnosed with prediabetes, or fall into any of the risk groups mentioned, regular screening for diabetes can offer you peace of mind.

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Find out how Regency’s Diabetes Care Unit can help you

Diagnose, treat, and educate yourself or your loved ones about diabetes.
We’ll be with you every step of the way.