Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a metabolic disorder which causes high blood sugar/ glucose levels in the body. Glucose is the broken down form of food that is ingested for growth and energy. It travels into the bloodstream and cells with the help of insulin, which is a hormone created by the pancreas.
Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes: In this condition, the body is unable to produce insulin. Only an approximate of 10% of the diabetes detected fall under this category. Patients with this condition require taking insulin injections for life. Regular tests to check for blood glucose levels are also required to ensure stability. A special formulated diet also works as a stabilising factor to control the levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes: In this condition, the body does not produce adequate level of insulin for regular and normal body functions to be performed. Most of the diabetes that we see in our society fall under this category. People who may be overweight are at higher risk of developing this disease. However they can reduce the risk by losing weight through exercise and a healthy diet. Patients with this condition should avoid food products that are rich in sugar. The cause of this category of diabetes can also be hereditary.
- Gestational Diabetes: This category of diabetes affects only pregnant women. A good number of such cases can be controlled by regular exercise and customised diet. In case of extreme high blood sugar levels, these women may also be prescribed blood – glucose controlling drugs that help stabilise the condition. If this condition is not controlled, it poses a threat to the baby and mother during childbirth.
How Diabetes increases the risk of Heart Diseases and Stroke?
Heart Disease is any disorder of the heart, which is also called a cardiovascular disease, meaning that it is related to the blood vessels and the heart. A heart attack occurs when a blood clot clogs the blood supply to the heart, where the heart muscles start to die due to lack of oxygenated blood.
A stroke takes place when crucial oxygen and blood flow to the brain is cut off due to clogs or ruptures in the blood vessels, which in turn causes a brain attack.
When a patient suffers from diabetes, in the long run, the high blood glucose levels start to damage the nervous system. These damaged nerves cause cardiovascular complications leading to various heart diseases and strokes, often leading to fatalities. People suffering from diabetes are at a greater risk of having a stroke at an early age. High blood glucose levels can accumulate and store a lot of fat inside the blood vessels. This in turn constricts smooth flow of blood, hence clogging the arteries.
Tips to build a healthy heart:
- Plan a healthy and nutritious diet rich in fiber, such as lentils, cereals, oats, fruits and vegetables. High fiber content helps in digestive regulation.
- Avoid foods rich in fat. This will lower the risk of high cholesterol and prevent onset of heart complications. Certain foods to be avoided are fried foods, fatty foods and sweet baked items such as cakes and cookies, red meat, certain dairy products that contain fat, such as butter and heavy cream.
Visiting a professional dietician for a customised diet and following the special diet can significantly help in managing diabetes.