Hi readers! Here I am going to tell you some of the facts or rather clear the common doubts that arise in the minds of people who were newly diagnosed Diabetes or for that matter any chronic illness like Hypertension. First question every patient will ask is “Once I start the medicine should I have to continue it life long?” The answer is a big “YES”. One thing they have to understand is these chronic illnesses are going to be there with them life long and if they really want long life they have to take the medicine life long, because these diseases are silent killers. If we don’t control them at early stage, they will quietly damage what we call target organs, leading to MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION OR HEART ATTACK, CEREBROVASCULAR ACCIDENT OR BRAIN STROKE, RENAL FAILURE (ESRD), PROLIFERATIVE RETINOPATHY (BLINDNESS), and so on and so forth. As you can see, many of these complications can kill the patient or cripple him severely at a very young age. This is the reason, all the doctors are advising their patients to tightly control their diabetes or blood pressure.
The next question they ask is “Once they control their blood sugar with medicine will they be able to stop the medicine? Definitely “NO” in most of the cases. Very rarely some patients who have mild diabetes, who can control their diet strictly and do good exercises regularly, have a chance of stopping their medicine. But they must strictly adhere to their diet regimen and exercise lifelong. In most of the cases it is the medicine which brings the sugar or blood pressure under control and so if they stop the medicine they will again develop uncontrolled disease of initial stage. Hence it is imperative that they continue their medicine without fail.
The third question they put to me is “No one in my family has diabetes, how did I get it doctor?”. To put it in short it is the price we pay for living in this electronic or computer age. Scientifically speaking diabetes is not a 100% hereditary disorder. It is a multifactorial disorder where genetic component also plays a role. If one of your parent is having diabetes, your chances of getting diabetes increases, but is not definite. Environmental factors like sedentary life, unhealthy food etc., leads to morbid obesity and diabetes. Diabetes is epidemic in this country. Every fifth person is diabetic and it is increasing alarmingly.
Another common question which is posed is when we advise them to take insulin. Invariably all the patients will say “NO”. It is considered as taboo and curse to start taking insulin. They feel that it is the end of the road for them. The newer concept, based on lot of clinical studies done over the years is, early aggressive control of diabetes prevents or delays the onset of life threatening complications such as Myocardial infarction. Of all the medicines available under the sun for diabetes there is none which can match the insulin. In fact insulin is not medicine. It is a natural hormone present in the human body secreted by pancreas. It is the Inadequacy of this hormone either in quantity or quality will lead to the development of diabetes. Hence if the physician advises for insulin it is for better control of your blood sugar and thereby prevent life-threatening complications only and not for your end stage disease. Nowadays with the help of new technology newer insulins are available with painless injections which can be taken by the patients easily and conveniently.
Yet another question which is frequently asked is taking of native medicines like herbal preparations. Here the issues are, one, none of these medicines have been evaluated according to scientific methods and accepted. Two, we don’t know the exact content of them and their effects on human body. Some of them may harm the kidneys also. Third, these medicines may reduce the blood sugar but don’t have action on the deranged metabolism of the body and so the patient may have false impression that their diabetes is under control. Hence it is advisable not to take these medications.
One more question often we faced is “I take medicine regularly can’t I eat all the food?” Control of diabetes is completely under the control of patients. Controlling the diet is as essential as taking the medications. Most of the commonly used medications need the insulin which is secreted in our body. In diabetic patients, what is called as beta cell reserve, from which insulin is secreted, is low. Hence if they take more diet which are rich in simple carbohydrates, along with medications, their beta cell or insulin reserve gets exhausted very soon and they have to take insulin at an early stage. So it is quite imperative that they have to control their diet from the beginning stage of diabetes even if they take the medicine regularly.
To conclude I tried to cover common doubts which arise in the minds of people who are diagnosed with diabetes. If any of you have more specific doubts please feel free to contact me in GMC HOSPITAL-FUJAIRAH, MEDICAL DEPARTMENT.
GMC Hospital & Research Centre Fujairah