Diabetes: symptoms and treatment

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Diabetes affects approximately 850,000 people in the Netherlands, many of whom are not yet aware of it. There are two types of diabetes, each with their own symptoms and treatment. A healthy diet, not smoking, consuming alcohol in moderation, getting enough exercise, watching your weight, taking good care of your feet and keeping the blood glucose level as stable as possible help to limit the harmful effects.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a metabolic disease in which the body no longer processes sugar from food. Insulin is not produced or the body still produces it, but not enough. This increases the amount of glucose in the blood, which has harmful consequences for the body. There are two main types of diabetes.

Diabetes type 1 and diabetes type 2

  • Type 1 ; In this form of diabetes, no insulin is produced by the body. This form often starts at a young age, but can also develop later. Anyone with type 1 diabetes will have to inject insulin.
  • Type 2 ; This form starts later in life, often in people over 50 years old and is also common in overweight people. Because people in Western countries are increasingly overweight, type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common and sometimes even affects children. In this form of diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but not enough. By living a healthy lifestyle, the degree of disturbed glucose levels can improve again.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  • To feel sick
  • Fatigue
  • Losing weight for no apparent reason
  • Blurred vision
  • Being very thirsty
  • Pee a lot

This form often develops in a short time and due to the amount and extent of the complaints, it is usually recognized as type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

  • Being very thirsty
  • Pee a lot
  • Fatigue and listlessness
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Eye complaints, such as poor vision, blurred vision or burning red eyes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful legs when walking
  • Itch

Many people have vague complaints for which type 2 diabetes is not immediately or not immediately suspected. This is why many people have diabetes without being aware of it. The longer the disease remains untreated, the worse the consequences for the body can be.

Treatment of type 1 diabetes

The treatment of type 1 diabetes consists of injecting insulin. There are different types of insulin. Which type you are prescribed and how often you need to inject depends on your specific situation, the internist determines the treatment schedule.

Types of insulin

  • Rapid-acting insulin , for example NOVO RAPID, starts working after 10 minutes. This insulin can be administered immediately before or during a meal and wears off after about 4 hours.
  • Short-acting insulin , for example ACTRAPID , starts working after about 30 minutes and continues to work for about 7 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin , such as Insulatard , starts working after 1.5 hours and with a dosage of 40 EH it wears off after about 24 hours.
  • Mixtures of rapid-, short- and intermediate-acting insulin start working quickly and also last a long time. Examples of this type of insulin are NOVOMIX 30 or MIXTARD 30/70

Treatment of type 2 diabetes

People who are overweight must first lose a lot of weight . Exercise is good because the insulin then works better. Treatment will continue with tablets and if that does not help sufficiently, injecting insulin.

Late complications due to having high glucose levels too often

People who regularly have too high a glucose level can have problems with their eyes (poor vision), kidneys, heart and blood vessels (wounds heal more slowly), feet and the nervous system (reduced sensation in arms and legs).

Foot care for diabetes

The feet should be washed daily with lukewarm water and little soap. Make sure that the skin does not become soft, so do not take extensive baths. Dry the feet by patting them dry, especially drying well between the toes. Then rub the feet with some oil or a greasy cream, but do not do this between the toes, as this can become too soft and cause wounds. Cut nails straight and not too short. Nails that are too long should also be avoided. Have calluses, corns or corns removed by a podiatrist or a pedicurist with diabetes certification.

Check the feet daily for wounds and abnormalities and make sure you wear good shoes with sufficient room for the toes. Wear shoes at home too. Furthermore, exercise is good for blood circulation. You can also do foot exercises to improve circulation.

read more

  • Diabetes: lifestyle advice and nutrition
  • Type 2 diabetes: cause, symptoms, treatment

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