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Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Updated: Mar 27, 2023


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Are you feeling constantly thirsty or experiencing blurred vision? Do you often feel tired and irritable? These could be signs of diabetes, a chronic condition affecting millions worldwide. In the Philippines alone, around 3.5 million people are living with diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation. But what exactly is diabetes, and how can you manage it? In this blog, we'll break down everything you need to know about type 2 diabetes, from its symptoms and causes to its treatment and prevention.


What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, or "dyabetis" in Tagalog, is a chronic condition affecting how your body processes glucose or sugar. Usually, your body produces insulin, a hormone that helps your cells absorb glucose from the blood and use it for energy. However, in people with type 2 diabetes, their body either doesn't produce enough insulin or doesn't use it effectively. As a result, glucose accumulates in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels.


What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes symptoms may develop gradually and may not be noticeable initially. Some of the common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  1. Frequent urination (palagiang pag-ihi)

  2. Increased thirst and hunger (palagiang pag-inom at kain)

  3. Fatigue (pagkapagod)

  4. Blurred vision (malabong paningin)

  5. Slow healing wounds (Mabagal na paggaling ng mga sugat)

  6. Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet (pamamanhid sa mga kamay o paa)



Can diabetes lead to other health problems?

Yes, diabetes can cause a range of health problems if left untreated. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the body, leading to complications such as:

  1. Heart disease and stroke

  2. Kidney disease

  3. Eye damage and blindness

  4. Nerve damage

  5. Skin infections and sores

  6. Poor blood circulation


How do I know if I have type 2 diabetes?

The only way to confirm if you have type 2 diabetes is to undergo a blood test. The most common test used to diagnose diabetes is the fasting blood glucose test, which measures your blood sugar levels after an overnight fast. An average sugar level should be below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If your blood sugar level is between 100 and 125 mg/dL, you may have prediabetes, which increases your risk of developing diabetes. If your blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, you may have diabetes.



How is type 2 diabetes treated?

The goal of diabetes treatment is to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range and prevent complications. Treatment for type 2 diabetes may include:

  1. Lifestyle changes include eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and engaging in regular physical activity.

  2. Medications: Depending on your blood sugar level, your doctor may prescribe oral medications, insulin injections, or a combination.

  3. Blood sugar monitoring: You may need to check your blood sugar levels regularly to track your progress and adjust your treatment plan accordingly.


Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

"Prevention of diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. Start early, stay strong, and finish well." - Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Yes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle modifications. Here are some tips for preventing type 2 diabetes:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight: If you're overweight, losing just 5-10% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

  2. Eat a healthy diet: Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein.

  3. Stay active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.

  4. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption: Smoking and heavy drinking can increase your risk of developing diabetes and complications.


Food for a diabetic person (Pagkain para sa may mga dyabetis)

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If you have diabetes, you may need to adjust your diet to manage your blood sugar levels. Here are some food tips for diabetic persons:

  1. Choose high-fiber foods: Foods high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, can help regulate blood sugar levels.

  2. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks: Limit your intake of sugary drinks and snacks, such as sodas, juices, cakes, and candies, as they can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

  3. Opt for healthy fats: Choose foods high in healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil, instead of saturated and trans fats.

  4. Eat small, frequent meals: Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help prevent blood sugar spikes and dips.

In conclusion, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. By understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for type 2 diabetes, you can take control of your health and prevent complications. If you suspect you may have diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor and get tested. Remember, early detection and management of diabetes can improve your quality of life and prevent serious health problems.

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