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What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that makes it difficult for your body to use the energy from the food you eat. When food is consumed, it is broken down into simple sugars also known as glucose, which circulates in the blood stream. The pancreas is an organ that secretes a hormone called insulin which helps the cells in your body to use the glucose as energy. If insulin production is reduced or stops completely or if insulin is not used as it should be, then it results in higher levels of glucose in the blood which is known as hyperglycemia or diabetes.
Ayurveda considers Diabetes under the group of urinary disorders mentioned under Prameha. Madhu Meha is proximately correlated with Diabetes mellitus. Other types of Diabetes are designated as per the 19 other types of Prameha.
Most cases of diabetes mellitus fall into three broad categories:
- Type 1 is when the pancreas can no longer produce insulin; therefore the patient must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels. This type of diabetes cannot be prevented and commonly occurs in patients less than 20 years of age.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin is produced however it is either not enough or not utilized properly by the body. People who are over weight or inactive are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes can be prevented with a healthy diet and daily exercise.
- Diabetes can also develop during pregnancy which is known as gestational diabetes. Due to the increased food intake during pregnancy, the overload of carbohydrates and sugar can be a burden on the body hence resulting in diabetes. This type of diabetes commonly lasts for the duration of the pregnancy and blood glucose levels may return to normal after delivery. However in few pregnant women, the diabetes may continue throughout their life. High blood glucose levels during pregnancy can cause risk of jaundice in a new born baby.
Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids.
Diabetes burden in India
As of 2007, there are approximately 41 million cases of diabetes in India with the number rapidly growing. That means 1 in every 5 diabetics in the world, live in India which makes it the diabetes capitol of the world. It is estimated that by the year 2025, India will have more than 70 million diabetic patients.