Diabetes is rising
When it comes to diabetes, 99 is better than 100. According to medical science, a fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL or lower is normal, while 100-125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes. A level higher than 126 mg/dL indicates we have diabetes.
WHO says that about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. India is often referred to as the diabetes capital of the world. It accounts for 17% of the total number of people with diabetes worldwide. In fact, diabetes is so prevalent that almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes.
When it comes to diabetes, prevention is better than cure, so here are some things we ought to keep in mind.
What is a random blood sugar level?
A random blood sugar level measures glucose in the blood at a particular point in time. It is usually measured in milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Between 70 and 140 mg/dL is considered a normal random blood sugar level. A random blood sugar level of 140-199 mg/dL would indicate prediabetes, and 200 mg/dL or above could mean diabetes.
Why is testing random blood sugar level important?
Random blood sugar level testing is important to screen for diabetes. It is crucial if we think we are at risk for diabetes or are showing symptoms of diabetes. For those already diagnosed with diabetes, regularly checking random blood sugar levels is a great way to check glucose levels. This can help prevent complications of diabetes such as heart disease, stroke, and eye, nerve or kidney damage.
By checking for random blood sugar, doctors can determine whether someone has diabetes or prediabetes and take steps to manage the condition and prevent complications.
What are the risk factors for diabetes?
Some of the risk factors for diabetes are:
- Being overweight
- Being 45 or above
- Have a parent/sibling with type 2 diabetes
- Being physically inactive
- A history of gestational diabetes
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination because our kidneys are working overtime to filter excess sugar out of our blood
- Increased thirst because the body tries to compensate for the loss of fluids due to frequent urination
- Sudden and rapid loss of weight since insufficient insulin prevents the body from drawing glucose from the blood to use as energy
- Blurry vision sin uncontrolled sugars can cause swelling of the eye lens
- Tingling in hands or feet because high blood sugar levels can damage small blood vessels and nerves in the body
Who can help regulate random blood sugar levels?
A diabetologist, a doctor specialising in treating diabetes, can help us understand how to manage diabetes. Diabetologists diagnose and treat the condition by prescribing medications (insulin, for example) or guiding us on lifestyle modifications (enough sleep, exercise, etc.).
Endocrinologist or diabetologist?
Some people with diabetes may be required to see a diabetologist and an endocrinologist, depending on the condition. An endocrinologist specialises in the endocrine system. Endocrinologists diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine glands such as adrenals, pancreas, pituitary, thyroid, ovaries and testis, and parathyroid. An endocrinologist may be roped in if we appear to have a condition that extends to the rest of the endocrine system. Diabetologists are essentially endocrinologists who specialise in the treatment of diabetes mellitus.
How to regulate random blood sugar levels?
- Healthy diet: Ensuring our diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and adequate lean protein can help. We should avoid sugary drinks and processed foods.
- Regular exercise: We should exercise for 30 minutes every day. Brisk walking is a great way to get started.
- Lose excess weight: This will help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Take medications as prescribed: Talk to a diabetologist about the medicines.
- Monitor blood sugar levels: Check blood sugar levels at home as well as with a diabetologist to evaluate if the treatment plan is working.