Sunday, October 3, 2010

All About Diabetes Mellitus

Fictitious beliefs and half-truths should be categorized for DM (diabetes mellitus), because the condition precipitates several serious illnesses that could cause death. People should become aware of these myths and classify them from the facts.

Here are some common myths about diabetes mellitus that the public should know about:

1. All diabetic patients are obese and over weight.

Not all persons with diabetes are fat. Persons with type I diabetes mellitus are usually thin, while type II DM (Diabetes Mellitus) persons are usually obese. The weight and size of a person does not indicate whether he/she has DM or not. Only a blood test could determine whether a person is diabetic or not. An FBS (Fasting Blood Sugar), RBS (Random Blood Sugar) or 2-HPPT (Two Hour Post Prandial Test) should be performed in the clinical laboratory to determine this.

2. Diabetes is curable.

Diabetes is a lifetime condition. Once you have it, it will stay. Diabetes can only be properly managed and controlled. This is because uncontrolled DM can cause irreparable damage to all of your organs, your eyes (retinopathy), your kidneys (nephropathy), and the central nervous system (neuropathy). , so when your blood glucose levels go back to normal, do not assume that you are "cured" already, and start going back to your eating binges.

Your observance of proper diet and exercise should be a lifetime process. Although the DM genes may skip a generation or two, it will always appear down line in your family's lineage.

Scientists are now trying to find a way to alter the genetic composition of a DM person so that the genes would not be passed on from one generation to another. If this happens in your lifetime, then you are lucky!

3. Diabetes is only caused by the lack or absence of insulin.

This is not always the case. Although people know that DM is the insufficiency and lack of insulin and is not acquired from eating too much sugar, people should also be aware that one of the symptoms of DM, which is hyperglycemia (elevation of blood sugar), could be the result of the increase secretion of the hormones glucagon in the alpha cells of the Islets of Langerhans and adrenaline in the adrenal medulla. These secretions can be triggered by caffeine, stress, and emergency situations.

4. Minor wounds would not pose a potential danger for a diabetic person.

A sad fact is that even a small pedicure or manicure wound could cause a gangrenous feet to be amputated. Any wound no matter how small it is should never be taken for granted. Diabetic patients usually have wounds that have difficulty healing, so they are more prone to infection.

Infection often comes from pathogenic microorganisms like Clostridium perfringens which causes gangrene (necrotization or death of body tissue.) When the tissues or cells die in one part, then it has to be amputated or this will infect all of the parts of the body and would cause inevitable death. If the gangrenous part is amputated, then the rest of the body would be spared.

5. Only sugar and sugar containing foods should be minimized in a diabetic patient's diet.

This is a half-truth. People should be aware that the most predominant carbohydrate in the bloodstream is glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar generally called a monosaccharide. Glucose comes, not only from sugar, but from a variety of bland foodstuffs like bread, rice (yes, rice!) pasta (even plain pasta), potatoes and many unsweetened foods. This is because glucose is the end product of the metabolism of any carbohydrate in which rice and the rest are included.

Excessive fat intake also could exacerbate the condition. The dietary fat could be stored as triglyceride and would add to the obesity of the person. It should be remembered that losing weight is one good management control for DM patients. So when the doctor tells you to limit your rice and fat intake, do so!

6. All sweet fruits should be avoided as they contain high levels of sugar.

Not all fruits have high sugar levels. Apple, grapefruit, strawberries, papayas, watermelons are examples of fruits good for diabetic persons. These however should be taken in fresh and not in the form of juices or shakes as these preparations have high artificial sugar content. It should be noted that there is also high fiber content with these fruits and are therefore healthy for the body.

Old myths may be proven false eventually but new myths are generated in return. People should have wisdom in distinguishing the two through proper information and education. Do not believe everything you hear through the grapevine. Take time to read good reference materials and be informed!