Monday, September 27, 2010

I am a Diabetic - Welcome to my World

I am a Diabetic. I learned about it five years ago. I’m now 36. I’m writing this blog for people like me. How I learned about the disease and how I am now living to educate people on how to live with the disease and control it.
I have Type 2 Diabetes – or Insulin Resistance Diabetes. See the definition below;
“ Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes... When you have type 2 diabetes, the body does not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means that fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond normally to insulin. As a result blood sugar does not get into cells to be stored for energy.”
I learned about this disease when I was 30 years old and I got hospitalized for dizziness and nausea. At first I thought it was just because of my hypertension. They drew blood from me and started running some lab tests. It was then that my doctor told me, I have the tell tale signs of a Type 2 diabetic, the dizziness and nausea was not due to my hypertension, but that I had hyperglycemia. Here is an explanation of Hyperglycemia according to Wikipedia.

Hyperglycemia - is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. This is generally a glucose level higher than 10 mmol/l (180 mg/dl), but symptoms may not start to become noticeable until even higher values such as 15-20 mmol/l (270-360 mg/dl). However, chronic levels exceeding 7 mmol/l (125 mg/dl) can produce organ damage.

The origin of the term is Greek: hyper-, meaning excessive; -glyc-, meaning sweet; and -emia, meaning "of the blood".

Hyperglycemia as caused by Diabetes Mellitus

Chronic hyperglycemia that persists even in fasting states is most commonly caused by diabetes mellitus, and in fact chronic hyperglycemia is the defining characteristic of the disease. Intermittent hyperglycemia may be present in pre-diabetic states. Acute episodes of hyperglycemia without an obvious cause may indicate developing diabetes or a predisposition to the disorder.

In diabetes mellitus, hyperglycemia is usually caused by low insulin levels (Diabetes mellitus type 1) and/or by resistance to insulin at the cellular level (Diabetes mellitus type 2), depending on the type and state of the disease. Low insulin levels and/or insulin resistance prevent the body from converting glucose into glycogen (a starch-like source of energy stored mostly in the liver), which in turn makes it difficult or impossible to remove excess glucose from the blood. With normal glucose levels, the total amount of glucose in the blood at any given moment is only enough to provide energy to the body for 20-30 minutes, and so glucose levels must be precisely maintained by the body's internal control mechanisms. When the mechanisms fail in a way that allows glucose to rise to abnormal levels, hyperglycemia is the result.

I always believed that a Problem well defined is already half-solved. Charles Kettering put it best when he gave that quote and it has been my mantra ever since. I was shocked when I learned I had diabetes, but I took great strides to learn everything about the disease.

For first time diagnosed patients, getting the right information is vital. Talk to your endocrinologist or your doctor about it. Do not be afraid to ask. It's your life that is at stake, learn as much as you can. NEVER self diagnose. It could kill you. 

More about the disease and means to control, monitor and live with the disease next post. 


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