Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm a Diabetic ! ! !

This is my first blog post in this niche I choose for my life's journal as an insulin-dependent diabetic. "of Lancets and Strips" will serve as a repository of my experiences in managing my diabetes. Lancets and strips are actually the blood test tools I use in my glucometer, a device I use that helps me monitor my blood sugar level. This blog will forever remain as my inspiration as it connects me to friends in the internet who may be are suffering from diabetes, or with family members, friends, and associates in their work place with this health condition. Mutual sharing of information makes this blog useful and meaningful.

My 5 months of blogging experience have opened a chance for me to browse, read, and understand the volume of invaluable information about diabetes. I've come across a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) that there are about 180 million people worldwide with diabetes mellitus. In the year 2030, accordingly, this number may yet double up , especially mentioned are developing countries, like in my country, the Philippines. The identified factors for the rise of the cases are: the growing population, ageing, unhealthy diet, obesity, and sedentary life.

How my condition started is beyond my understanding. I only knew recently that I may have inherited it from my father who had it in his old age before he died. This condition began to manifest in me and in my other siblings as we grow in age. I want to believe now in one of my doctors who said we have a "family pre-disposition" to this disease- diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high level of blood glucose or sugar. The body needs only enough blood glucose as its primary source of energy, provided for by the food we eat. The normal and healthy level of glucose that the body needs is from 80 to 120 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). More or less of this, results to diabetes.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition of the body resulting from lack of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin is needed by the body to be able to utilize carbohydrates from foods we eat and to assimilate glucose, amino acids , and fatty acids for energy. When the body does not have enough insulin or if the insulin is ineffective, blood glucose or sugar level is increased. The disease can not be cured, but it can be controlled. It can also be tamed to normalcy if detected early. Good management, next to proper treatment, are highly necessary for the diabetic to enjoy longer and happier life.

I have type II diabetes mellitus. I discovered it by accident. It was during one of the annual health checkups required of public servants for re-entry into service. My urine test for blood sugar yielded a positive plus 4 (++++) which meant I have a high level sugar. Since it didn't disturb me whatsoever, I shrugged it off as just ordinary health impairment I could reverse through dieting. It was after few years later when I began to feel the symptoms that I subjected myself to a series of tests that ended in my first oral treatment.

Had I known about the so-called pre-diabetes test and its importance, I would have prevented or even reversed my glucose level to normal. It's now too late.

What is this pre-diabetes test ?

There are three types of this test which I read from My Daily Guide in Managing My Diabetes (Outsmart Diabetes, Abbot Nutrition), namely:

1. Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG)

It is a condition in which fasting blood sugar (FBS) level is elevated from 100 to 125 mg/dl after an overnight fasting. However, this condition is not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

2. Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)

It is a condition in which the blood glucose, after a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test, is elevated from 140 to 199 mg/dl. This is still not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

3. Both IFG and IGT

Pre-diabetes conditions can be prevented, delayed or may even return blood glucose level to normal. A strict and proper program of weight loss, coupled with increased physical activity may be of help. However, its progression to diabetes condition is inevitable, without help.

What are the types of diabetes mellitus ?

I gleaned the following descriptions of the two types of diabetes mellitus from several sources in which I put this common characters:

1. Type I diabetes is a condition that runs in the family. Its precise cause is not known. It begins in childhood and adolescence. It can also occur at any age. It is a condition where the pancreas fails to produce insulin. This type accounts for 1 of 10 of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

2. Type II diabetes results from the body's inability to respond properly to the insulin produced by the pancreas. It usually begins with resistance to insulin. Given this condition, the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin. Its onset occurs frequently during adulthood It is also noted to increase in adolescence. This is much more common type. It accounts 9 out of 10 of all diabetes cases worldwide.

Furthermore, according to the aforesaid guide, this type is associated with:

- old age
- obesity
- family history of diabetes
- impaired glucose metabolism
- physical inactivity
- race/ethnicity

At present time, I have diabetes type II condition. I have been on a routine checkup and management for almost 20 years now. I started my insulin shots 3 years ago when my blood glucose rose to 497 mg/dl. At present time, my blood sugar stays on the average somewhere between 107 mg/dl t0 140 mgdl. Diabetes is not a hindrance, it is a gift, because it reminds you to take care of yourself with professional medical help. More next time !

Resources: Philippines Health Guide, 1997 Edition, Reader's Digest Medical Encyclopedia , 1971 Edition, Outsmart Diabetes (My Daily Guide in masnaging My Diabetes), Abbot nutrition.

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