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Monday, May 12, 2008

A Sweet Life - Managing Diabetes Mellitus


Yesterday, as we were celebrating Mother's Day at a restaurant in Makati, I noticed a group of people who obviously were akin. It is not really typical of me to observe other people but I couldn't help notice two people in that group were amputees - 1 male probably in his mid 40's whose left leg was missing and the other one, a female, in her 60's, who has both her legs amputated. When I saw them, I tried to make a quick survey of everyone. I noticed that most if not all of the drinks they had were one of the more popular sugarfree softdrinks. Some of them were wearing glasses. I said to myself, they're probably a family of diabetics. Probably.

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) has become a very common term these days. Almost every single person I know is either diabetic or is related to someone who is. It used to be that diabetes was a familial disease - the mother or a father or a grandparent has it. Well, not anymore. DM is now found even in persons who are not genetically pre-disposed. Why is this so? It's a matter of lifestyle.

Symptoms
The most common ones are the 3 P's: polyphagia, polydipsia and polyuria. Polyphagia just means eating so much. Why? Well, because in diabetes, the cells get starved. Sugar is the food of the cell. Everything we eat should first be converted into glucose for the cells to be able to use it and transform it into energy (ATP). Because of the absence or lack of insulin, the sugar cannot enter the cell and remains in the blood. So, these cells send signals to the brain that they are still hungry. The presence of high levels of sugar in the blood is hyperglycemia which is associated with .

Polydipsia means excessive drinking specially at night which has something to do with the presence of sugar. Pretty much like when we eat so much candy, we tend to drink so much water. and because the person drinks so much, that person urinates very frequently which we call polyuria.

The Good News
There are two types of Diabetes: type 1 or what is called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) where the pancreas is not producing insulin at all, and type 2 or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) where the pancreas does produce insulin but the insulin is not enough for the body. The NIDDM is that which could be acquired.
There's still good news. Although diabetes is a very, very destructive disease, it can be prevented. At least for the NIDDM. A change of lifesty is the answer.

For a while there, I thought my husband was going to become a diabetic. He had his blood sugar tested twice and both yielded a high glucose level. I didn't want him to take medicines yet because anything synthetic will just create more trouble for him. He merely did exercises regularly and cut down on some of his sugar, fat and carb intake. He also got enough sleep. That was it. Now he's still doing the same exercises and watching his diet but he's not in danger of NIDDM. Well, he gets to binge sometimes but that's the whole point of being disease free - you can binge anytime without being scared that you'd be in trouble the day after that.

So eat healthy and live life to the fullest - or so they say. I have yet to figure out how.

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