Diabetes Mellitus – The silent killer

Oct 31, 2016

Introduction

Diabetes is an enormous and growing burden. It is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, be physically active, and having a regular screening can help to prevent diabetes and its complication.

About Diabetes:
  • In the year 2015, 415 million adults were living with diabetes
  • By 2040, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to rise to 642 million or one in ten adults
  • One in two adults with diabetes is undiagnosed, which make them specifically susceptible to the complications of diabetes
  • In many countries, diabetes is a major cause of blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, and lower-limb amputation
  • Screening for diabetes complications is an important part of effective management of diabetes, to ensure optimum health

Poorly managed diabetes leads to serious complications and early death. Serious diseases affecting the eyes, tooth, nerves, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys can be caused by persistently high blood glucose levels

The major diabetes complications:

Eye disease (diabetic retinopathy)

  • Damage vision or provokes blindness
  • Network of blood vessels that supply the retina can be damaged, leading to permanent loss of vision

 

Oral health

  • Risk of inflammation of tissue surrounding the tooth (periodontitis) increases
  • Periodontitis is the major cause of tooth loss

 

Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy)

  • Affect any nerve in the body
  • Most common type is peripheral neuropathy, especially the sensory nerves in the feet, which lead to pain, tingling, and loss of sensation

 

Cardiovascular disease

  • Include angina, myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, peripheral artery disease and congestive heart failure
  • Most common causes of death and disability among people with diabetes

 

Diabetic foot

  • Damage to blood vessels which causes poor circulation to the feet
  • Risk of ulceration, infection, and amputation increases

 

Kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy)

  • Kidneys may become less efficient, or stop working altogether
  • Cause by damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys

 

Consult a health professional when you experience the following signs and symptoms of diabetes:
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased hunger
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Wounds heal slowly
  • Lack of interest and concentration

 

Prevention is better than cure, especially when diabetes has no cure.  In conjunction with World Diabetes Day, which is celebrated on 14 November 2016, together we keep our blood glucose level under control

 

References:
 
  1. International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 7th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2015. [Retrieved from http://www.diabetesatlas.org, 5 October 2016].
  2. International Diabetes Federation. 2015. Signs and symptoms of diabetes. [Retrieved from http://www.idf.org/signs-and-symptoms-diabetes, 5 October 2016].