What do you think?
Ok, let’s not jump to any conclusion so fast. As it’s not a yes or no answer. To fulfil the quest, we have to understand the facts before reaching up to the end of it.
First of all, we have to know – what is Diabetes mellitus or Diabetes? It is a condition in which the body has difficulty in moving glucose (a type of sugar) from the blood into the cell. As the glucose is not getting delivered to the cell, it leads to the accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream which eventually causes a high sugar level. We know that our cell needs glucose for energy. But even though the glucose is right in the bloodstream, the cell starves of energy by not letting the glucose enter into the cell. But why?
Why our own body is being so stingy to us? This would not be a problem if the cell allowed glucose to enter. Isn’t it? Are we responsible for this? What do you think? Ok, let’s dig in more and find out.
In healthy people, insulin (which is produced by the pancreas) allows the glucose to be transported into the cell. Insulin is a type of hormone which is naturally produced by the β-cells of the pancreas of the body and once activated, transport the sugar into the cell.
But people suffering from chronic diabetes have one of the following conditions:
- Either there is little insulin or no insulin production at all by the pancreas of the body, or,
- The pancreas produces insulin but the cell becomes resistant to it and cannot make any use of it.
Thus, there is an increase in the level of sugar and leading to diabetes.
When we consume food, it gets broken down into simpler substances such as sugar molecules. Then the blood vessels transport the sugar molecules to the cells (e.g. muscle cells) of different parts of the body where it is used as a source of energy.
Here, sugar isn’t able to move by itself into the cell. Insulin is the key or
helper that enables glucose to be delivered. When sugar leaves the blood, the
blood sugar level is low. And when sugar cannot leave the blood, it leads to a high blood sugar level
Types of Diabetes:
Do you know what
type of diabetes you have or your dear ones have? There are two types of
diabetes. One is Type 1 Diabetes and other is Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when your immune system
destroys the insulin-making cells (i.e., β-cells) of the pancreas. It is an
autoimmune disease. Here your immune system betrays you.
Just like, when
pathogens (e.g. bacteria or virus) take entrance into your body and the body’s
immune system attack those pathogens. Similarly, your body’s immune system
thinks of the pancreas cells as antigens or pathogens and likewise attacks
them. That is the body’s immune system mistakes its healthy cells as foreign
particles and starts building immunity against your body cells and called
autoimmune disease. Thus, the cells are unable to produce insulin.
Similar to Type 1
Diabetes, there is another condition called secondary diabetes which can be
caused by wiping out of the β-cells of the pancreas due to a disease or any
kind of injury to the pancreas and without any participation of the immune
Type 2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when the cells develop insulin
resistance or don’t respond to insulin and at later stages, the body may not
produce enough insulin.
Signs and Symptoms:
Both types of diabetes share many similar signs and symptoms which are:
- Blurred vision
- Frequent urination
- Any type of cut that doesn’t heal fast or properly
- Fatigue feeling
- Feeling very hungry
- Feeling very thirsty and constantly drinking water
The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes develop very fast and the patient may experience rapid weight loss, irritability and mood changes. But the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes develop very slowly and sometimes there are no symptoms at all until complications start to develop.
How to Diagnose?
Now comes the next question that how you will know the type of diabetes you are dealing with. There are certain kinds of tests which are usually done. But it is always recommended to consult with the doctor if any such symptoms are met. The tests which are generally done are:
Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test: The average blood sugar level for the past 2-3 months is indicated by this test. The doctor may give you small finger prick or draw your blood for the test. The A1C level of the blood will be high if your sugar level is high. If the A1C level is 6.5 per cent (above 137 mg/dl) or high then it indicates diabetes.
Random blood sugar test: This test is done by taking the blood sample at a random time and require repeat testing for confirmation. Irrespective of the time you last ate, if the random blood sugar level is 200mg/dl or higher then it indicates diabetes along with the signs and symptoms.
Fasting blood sugar test: Here, the blood sample is taken after overnight fasting.
|Fasting blood sugar level||Indication|
126 mg/dl or above
After it gets
confirmed with these tests that the patient is having diabetes then the doctor
may also run some blood tests to check for autoantibodies that are common in
Type 1 Diabetes and helps in distinguishing between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
Is there any treatment?
Yes, there is the treatment
if you are asking for Type 2 Diabetes. But for Type 1 Diabetes, there is no
cure developed. As people with Type 1 Diabetes cannot produce insulin, so
insulin is injected several times per day taking doctor’s advice.
For Type 2
diabetes, doctors first prescribe medication that enables the patient’s body to
use insulin more efficiently. And also suggests certain lifestyle changes. If
the patient doesn’t abide by the doctor’s rules and regulations then there
might be a chance of a severe spike in blood sugar level and then the doctor
may suggest insulin.
Next what? Is there any hope?
Yes, there is
always hope. First of all, you have to love yourself enough to be consistent with
whatever you have to do to get cured. “Consistency” is the key.
And what about “Can diabetes be reversed”?
Now coming back to the point which brought you
up in this page. Remember ‘Consistency is the key’? Yes, you have to be
Although there is not any evidence for Type 1 Diabetes that maintaining or regulating the diet can reduce insulin dependency. But, there is a recent case study done by Dr Biswaroop Roy Choudhury who is a Medical Nutritionist Indo-Vietnam Medical Board India. In the case study, “Reversal of type 1 diabetes using plant-based diet: A case study” he found that by putting a Type 1 Diabetes patient in a plant-based diet plan with regular follow-ups and studying all diabetes-related biochemical parameters, they are successfully able to eliminate the medication and insulin dependency. If you interested to know more about the study then go and click here. According to this study, with some effort along with the help of such doctors may be Type 1 Diabetes may be reversed.
For the patients with Type 2 Diabetes, there is a very good chance that their condition may be reversed. It requires lots of work and dedication. But don’t get scared of those hard works. You have to make those as your habits. Those hard works cum your would-be habits are:
· Involvement of physical activity in your daily schedule program. For that you have to spare at least 30-40 minutes for exercises such as brisk walking, cycling, skipping, yoga, etc. and pranayam is a must.
· Focusing on weight loss to attain a healthy body mass index.
· Increase in the intake of vegetable and fruits and replacing refined carbohydrates with whole-grain foods like wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, maize and others.
· Reduce the intake of saturated fats like chips, biscuits, pastries, samosas, etc. Try to stick on grilled and steamed food which will cut down on fat consumption.
· Stress is a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes patients. Reducing stress levels can lessen the chance of getting diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, anxiety.
· Opting for a better diet is an excellent solution and reducing portion sizes will also help in lowering of calories.
Knowing the type of diabetes you have from your doctor will help you during the disease at its best. Though Type 1 Diabetes is caused by certain factors on which we cannot lay our hands but still there is hope. Opting for a good lifestyle and diet plan is the only way out. But preventing Type 2 Diabetes is totally on our hands. It can be reversed depending on the lifestyle we choose.
Yeah, it is easier said than done. But grabbing on to the last hope is the only way out.
Papiya Roy holds a masters degree in Biotechnology and is specifically interested in new biological updates all over the world. She writes health and medicine related articles for general people’s understanding