First an overview of the different types of diabetes. You can read more in the About Diabetes section.
Type 1 diabetes
It is very difficult to accept the diagnosis that you have type 1 diabetes. The hardest part of being a Type I DM is the need to inject insulin and check your blood glucose levels [BGL] several times a day for the rest of your life.
Acceptance of the illness is vital to achieve good control. If you are anxious or stressed about it, your BGLs will remain high.
Being a type 1 need not stop you from achieving your dreams as it is like any other chronic illness. With good control, you can reach for the stars and prevent onset of complications.
Type 2 diabetes
As we know the causative factors of type 2 diabetes namely Genetics, Foetal Origins [womb environment] Lifestyles and Stress, prevention and management is possible. In this instance, stress is primary and the most important factor as oppose to T1DM in which it is secondary to the development of the illness.
The primary objective is to correct the wrong lifestyles before you start oral medication. However, insulin may be required at a later stage in the long or short term to treat a moderate to severe illness or infection. This could include periods of severe stress not controlled by oral medication.
When a person is either going into a pregnancy with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, good control before and during pregnancy is absolutely necessary to avoid complications. In the case of a known T2DM, you will be converted to insulin during the pregnancy to achieve good control.
In case of GDM, early diagnosis and proper control using insulin is required to prevent complications.
It’s important to do regular BGL checks to ensure that you are healthy. Many people who discover that they have diabetes only when you are diagnosed with a related complication like a heart attack or stroke. Early detection and prevention through lifestyle modification is key to managing diabetes.
Did you know that 40 – 50% of people don’t know that they have diabetes?
Finding out that you have diabetes can be really scary, sad or hard to believe. But it doesn’t have to be so. First, find out as much as you can about diabetes and what it entails. The biggest risk of having diabetes is the complications that come with it. Knowing more about diabetes and how you can take control of it, will help you to manage the complications that arise as a result of the illness.
Is to keep your BGLs in the normal range through changing your lifestyle i.e. what you eat, how much you eat, eating at the correct time without delay, getting adequate exercise, active reduction of stress, and taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
Expected Blood glucose levels
Fasting < 100 - good control
110- 125 mg/dl – moderate
Random BGL - upto 200 mg/dl
Post prandial BGL [ 2 hrs after meal] - < 140 mg/dl]
Where can I get help?
The National Diabetes Center is a good place to start. We can help you with the lifestyle changes that you need to make to cope with diabetes. The NDC can help carry out regular tests and refer to the correct doctors for treatment.
Read about what can cause Diabetes and it’s triggers >>
How do I achieve good control ?
Changing to a healthy lifestyle and taking your medication as prescribed.
- If you are a Type1, you should have a home glucose monitor to check before meals and at bed time.
- If you are a type 2, you should check your BGL at least once a month
- Hba1c should be done every 3 month as it shows your long term control over 3 months
- Yearly complication assessment which includes a eye photography test should be done for all person living with diabetes.
Taking care of yourself and monitoring your Blood Sugar
Home glucose monitors are a great way to keep your bloody sugar in check. These are widely available at leading pharmacies and don't cost a lot. It is extremely important that your glucose levels are kept very close to the normal level.
Prick your finger with a glucometer pen
|Place a drop of blood on the glucometer strip||Place strip in to glucometer|
If you are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, it is best to check before each main meal and before going to bed. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments yourself or to discuss with a medical professional. It's a good idea to record these values on a daily basis so that it can be reviewed periodically by a medical professional and medications and diet can be adjusted accordingly.
Hyperglycemia (High Blood Glucose)
Hyperglycemia is the technical term for high bloody glucose. High blood sugar happens when the body can't produce enough insulin or can't use insulin properly.
Normal Glucose Levels: 110mg/dL or 5.5 mmol/L
What causes Hyperglycemia
There are a number of things that can cause hyperglycemia. Here are a few to watch out for:
- You may have eaten more than planned
- Exercised less than planned
- You have stress from an illness such as a cold or flu
- Other stress such as problems at work, family or other important areas of your life
What are the symptoms of Hyperglycemia
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, get your blood sugar levels checked immediately. You may want to contact your healthcare professional as soon as possible too.
- Increased thirst and dryness of mouth
- Increased tiredness and drowsiness
- Frequent urination
- Altered vision
What should I do if I get Hyperglycemia?
- Exercise often lower your blood glucose level.
- Cutting down on the amount of food you eat might also help. Work with your dietitian to make changes in your meal plan.
- If exercise and changes in your diet don't work, your doctor may change the amount of your medication or insulin or possibly the timing of your medication
What if it Goes Untreated?
If you fail to treat hyperglycemia, you may go into a diabetic coma which is called ketoacidosis. It is life-threatening and needs immediate treatment.
How Can I Prevent Hyperglycemia?
Good control of your BGL through regular monitoring, taking your medication and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose level)
Hypoglycemia is a condition characterized by abnormally low blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, usually less than 70 mg/dl. Each person's reaction to hypoglycemia may be different and it is important that you learn to identify your own signs and symptoms of a hypo. Severe hypoglycemia can cause accidents, injuries, coma, and death.
Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
- Shakiness, Sweating, chills and clamminess,
- Nervousness or anxiety, Irritability or impatience, Anger, stubbornness, or sadness
- Confusion, including delirium, lack of coordiation
- Rapid/fast heartbeat , lightheadedness or dizziness
- Hunger and nausea
- Sleepiness, weakness or fatigue
- Blurred vision, headache
- Tingling or numbness in the lips or tongue
- Nightmares or crying out during sleep
- Seizures, Unconsciousness
- Consume sugar / glucose or drink a coke
- Recheck your blood glucose after 15 minutes
- If hypoglycemia continues, repeat.
- Once blood glucose returns to normal, eat a small snack if your next planned meal or snack is more than an hour or two away.
Sometimes you may not feel the symptoms of a hypoglycaemia when it goes below 70 mg/dl. This is called hypoglycemia unawareness. Hypoglycemia unawareness occurs in those who have frequent low blood glucose episodes or when you have had diabetes for a long time. They are less likely to be awakened from sleep when hypoglycemia occurs at night.