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What is diabetes?
Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level. In patients with diabetes, the absence or insufficient production of insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime.
What is the impact of diabetes?
If not controlled, diabetes can be a serious disease. It can cause:
- Heart disease
- Kidney problems
- Eye problem
- Reduced immunity
How does diabetes cause heart disease?
Diabetes can change the makeup of blood vessels, and this can lead to cardiovascular disease. The lining of the blood vessels may become thicker, and this in turn can impair blood flow. Heart disease is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among patients with diabetes. Coronary heart disease is recognized to be the cause of death for 80% of people with diabetes.
How is it treated?
If you have diabetes, your doctor may prescribe medication such as insulin to treat it. Lifestyle changes, such as the ones listed above, can be just as important as taking medicines. It is also essential that you comply with your medications and attend your clinic appointments.