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Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by elevated blood sugar levels due to either insufficient insulin production (Type 1 diabetes) or ineffective utilization of insulin (Type 2 diabetes). Elevated blood sugar levels in diabetes can lead to various complications if not properly managed, affecting multiple organ systems, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and cardiovascular system.

 

The normal fasting blood sugar level (measured after an overnight fast) for most individuals ranges from about 70 to 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). However, blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day, especially after meals, and may vary based on factors such as age, health status, and individual variability.

 

Blood sugar regulation involves a complex interplay of hormones, primarily insulin and glucagon, which are secreted by the pancreas. Insulin helps cells absorb glucose from the bloodstream, lowering blood sugar levels, while glucagon raises blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of glucose from the liver. This dynamic system aims to keep blood sugar within a relatively narrow range.

 

Blood sugar, scientifically known as blood glucose, refers to the amount of glucose (a simple sugar) present in the bloodstream. Glucose is the primary source of energy for cells, particularly in the brain. Maintaining blood sugar within a certain range is crucial for overall health, as it ensures proper cellular function and prevents adverse effects associated with excessively high or low blood sugar levels.

 

Effective blood sugar management involves a combination of healthy lifestyle choices. These include maintaining a balanced diet with appropriate carbohydrate intake, regular physical activity, monitoring blood sugar levels, taking prescribed medications (if necessary), managing stress, and getting adequate sleep.

 

Yes, adopting a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco use, and managing stress can all contribute to reducing the risk of developing diabetes. It’s essential to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized guidance based on individual risk factors.

Diet plays a significant role in blood sugar management, particularly for individuals with diabetes. Carbohydrate-containing foods have the most direct impact on blood sugar levels. Monitoring carbohydrate intake, choosing complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables) over simple sugars, and paying attention to portion sizes can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

 

Preventing hypoglycemia involves maintaining a consistent schedule of meals and snacks, monitoring blood sugar levels, and adjusting medications (if needed) in consultation with a healthcare provider. When hypoglycemia occurs, consuming a fast-acting carbohydrate source, such as glucose tablets or fruit juice, can help raise blood sugar levels quickly.

 

Hypoglycemia occurs when blood sugar levels drop below normal levels, typically below 70 mg/dL. Symptoms may include shakiness, sweating, rapid heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, irritability, weakness, and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness. It is important to promptly treat hypoglycemia, especially in individuals with diabetes.

 

Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to serious complications, such as diabetic retinopathy (eye damage), diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage), neuropathy (nerve damage), cardiovascular disease, and impaired wound healing. Proper blood sugar control is essential to reduce the risk of these complications.