Diabetes is one of the most common and also one of the deadliest diseases in the world and the number of people living with diabetes is increasing every day. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2019 alone, more than 46.3 crore people were reported to have diabetes worldwide and diabetes was responsible for over 42 lakh deaths in just one year alone.
While the statistics are indeed scary, diabetes is also one of the few diseases that could be identified at an early stage and managed efficiently with time. It is, therefore, extremely important that we understand the disease and prepare ourselves to identify it as early as possible.
What is diabetes and what are its types?
Diabetes is a chronic disease caused due to insulin imbalance in the body. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar levels in your body and it is produced by the pancreas. Diabetes happens when either the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or when the body is not able to utilise the insulin effectively.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of diabetes:
Type 1: This is also called insulin-dependent diabetes as the body does not produce enough insulin and it needs to be administered externally on a daily basis. The exact cause of this deficiency is not yet known, the symptoms may appear suddenly, and no certain preventive measure is known so far.
Type 2: This is also called insulin-independent diabetes as it happens when the body is not able to utilise the insulin produced in the body effectively. It is often caused due to low physical activity and excess body weight. The majority of people with diabetes around the world suffer from Type 2 form of diabetes.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
While both the kind of diabetes have similar symptoms, these signs are more prominent in Type 1 diabetes and it shows late for Type 2 diabetes. You, nevertheless, should be aware of the 5 most important symptoms to catch the disease at the earliest possible time.
- Always hungry – Our bodies require energy. Energy is produced in the cells. Cells need insulin and glucose to produce energy. If you have diabetes, your cells do not get enough insulin, they do not produce enough energy, and your body signals that it needs more food because the energy is just not there.
- Peeing a lot – When you have diabetes, the body does not break down the sugar in your body efficiently. This means that your body signals excessive blood sugar which is then expelled out of your body when you pee. Since you pee more, your body needs more water and the more water you drink, the more you pee again. It is a vicious cycle that you should be alert to.
- Dry mouth – It is a direct result of dehydration in your body. The more water your body expels, the drier you feel in the mouth. Keep a close watch on this symptom if the dryness becomes regular.
- Blurred vision/ headaches – The loss of fluids in the body, dehydration, and high blood sugar means that you may have frequent instances of headaches and your vision may get blurry. This may result in a change in the shape of your eye lens. It may begin with small signs like squinting, seeing floaters, blurriness, etc., but if they remain unchecked, you may lose your vision in the long run.
- Wide weight swings – Your body weight is usually a good indicator of your health. In the case of diabetes, if your sugar levels are low, the cells begin using the protein in your muscles to produce energy that can cause unexpected weight loss. Or, if you start eating more food with high sugar content to compensate for low blood sugar, you can also gain weight rapidly. Unexpected and wide swings in your weight is a definite warning sign that you shouldn’t ignore.
What can be done?
Diabetes can be managed if detected at an earlier stage. Here are some of the steps you can take as preventive measures:
- Get your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, and eyes tested. These tests are very common and cheap but they can help identify the disease early.
- Keep a close watch on your lifestyle, quit smoking and excessive drinking, and start an exercise schedule immediately.
- Look for a history of diabetes in your family as the disease has been known to have hereditary effects.
- Consult a physician and seek immediate advice if you observe the symptoms presented earlier.
One more thing that is highly advisable is to get yourself insured against the disease as soon as possible. Diabetes is chronic and can stay with you all your life. It could lead to other complications including strokes, heart attacks, blindness, and other serious ailments. Fighting the disease could seriously affect your financial health which, in turn, could also lead to high stress and fatigue.
Instead of taking a risk, it would be wiser to get yourself covered and your family too, if the family has a history of diabetes, blood sugar, high blood pressure, or coronary diseases. There are a number of health insurance providers who have custom-made insurance policies to deal with such chronic diseases.
Are there any good examples of Diabetes-specific plans in the market?
Yes, there are a few diabetes-specific plans that you may opt for. Some examples are:
- Aditya Birla Health Insurance Diabetes Insurance plan provides comprehensive coverage including doctor’s consultation fees, diagnostic tests, costs of medicine, and hospitalization. They offer reimbursements for the best medicines available in the market, including the purchase of insulin, for both Type 1 and Type 2 patients. And they have an Enhanced Plan that provides coverage of up to Rs. 2 Crore and a cover for expenses in case of organ transplant. This makes it an important plan for patients who have a history of diabetes in the family or patients who may develop complications in the future.
- Star Health Diabetes Insurance plan is another example of a great diabetes-specific plan for the simple fact that it offers coverage for complications arising out of diabetes and even the aggravation of diabetes due to other complications. It covers all daycare costs and the out-patients are covered for diagnosis as well as medicines, including insulin. One other important aspect of this plan is that they also provide for compensation in case of accidental death of the insured person.
To conclude, as you look out for your vital signs and monitor your health, you should also keep in mind the benefits of protecting your future through a suitable health plan. Invest in a health plan now as your health is the one asset you may never get back.
OneAssure is a distribution platform that helps you make right decisions on matters where health and finances converge. Visit oneassure.in to know more about your health insurance choices.