Why is this important?
Diabetes has turned into a global epidemic, and is predicted to be the single greatest cause of poor quality of life and premature death, with an estimated 600 million people living this chronic condition by 2035. This is a very grave predicament for a presumed preventable condition.
Why haven't we been able to control diabetes?
Diabetes is an incredibly complex syndrome with very individual manifestations. Our understanding of the underlying causes of diabetes is growing to indicate that a number of factors such as genetics, dietary habits, physical activity, essential hypertension but also economic status, smoking habits, higher consumption of processed foods, mental and emotional stress contribute very intricately to cause diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is the name given to the collection of complex hormonal imbalance as well as autoimmune disease leading to a disturbance in the body's nature mechanism for glucose handling. As a result of this imbalance, excess nutrients from one's diet which would normally be stored in the muscles and fat are processed by the body and pushed in the blood stream, increasing glucose levels in the blood to above normal levels. Not only do the prolonged periods of high glucose levels in blood worsen the original disturbance, they also result in damage, through multiple cellular mechanisms, to function of the nerve endings, eyes, kidney and heart.
Very simply put, diabetes ages the body in a very accelerated manner, long before its time.
The hidden faces of diabetes
The reality of diabetes often remains uncovered, leading to a number of misleading myths and misinformation. Since the first isolation of insulin, and its subsequent use in patients, incidence of hyperglycemic shock and the acute damage resulting from glucose spike in blood has been better controlled.
Often individuals fail to realise the many complications that accompany diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness (diabetic retinopathy), amputations and gangrene (diabetic neuropathy), need for kidney transplant and dialysis (diabetic nephropathy), cardiovascular diseases and strokes (vascular complications and diabetic cardiomyopathy). Fighting simple infections, and healing processes become compromised in individuals with long term diabetes.
Individuals living with diabetes also have much higher risk for developing depression, and often suffer from a poor quality of life.
There is no cure....yet
Diabetes and obesity pose, perhaps the greatest challenge to the medical and scientific community. More in-depth knowledge and new discoveries of the factors leading to diabetes in individuals is paving the way for highly customised, and personalised therapies.
In the mean time, a healthy life style comprising a balanced diet, stress management and more physical activity are all key to lowering the risk as well as blow of diabetes.