The human body is made up of cells. Different cells are specialized to perform different functions in the body, forming tissues and organs. Cells are the functional units of the body. All cellular functions require energy. The energy used by the cells is in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is generated within the mitochondria from glucose (sugar). Glucose is a type of simplified carbohydrate. Carbohydrates (for example, cake) ingested as meals are digested within the alimentary canal into glucose and other simple sugars. Diabetes melitus refers to an excess of glucose in the body.

The body has a tight regulatory mechanism that ensures that the cells and the body always have enough glucose all the time. This regulatory mechanism is controlled by a hormone known as Insulin. Insulin is produced by the pancreas and its production is regulated by the amount of glucose in the body. When the amount of glucose in the body is low, the pancreas reduces production of insulin that then causes breakdown of the body’s glucose stores, mostly from fat. This is what causes loss of fat and weight during fasting.

On the other hand, when the levels of glucose in the blood is too high, as a result of excess absorption from the gut, the pancreas increases production of insulin resulting in increased breakdown of glucose and conversion of excess to fats. Failure of this regulatory mechanism leads to excessive buildup of glucose in the body cells leading to dysfunction and failure. This is what is known as diabetes melitus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Too much of anything is poisonous. Too much of sugar in the body results in damage of organs. Blood vessels are the most commonly damage organ. Damaged blood vessels in the body due to diabetes results in hypertension. Damage of blood vessels in the kidneys results in renal failure and damage of vessels in the brain may cause a stroke. All these are life threatening complications of diabetes.

There are other slow but still dangerous complications of high blood sugar . Too much blood sugar damages nerves causing diabetic neuropathy; this is loss of sensation in the extremities. Loss of sensation will result in patients with diabetes getting wounds, especially on the feet without them feeling any pain. The wounds therefore grow big and become chronic. Diabetic ulcers are also contributed to by the fact that blood vessels are damaged and poor blood supply results in delayed healing.

Damage to the blood vessels of the eyes may result in blindness; a condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

As stated above, 95% of cases of hypertension have no identifiable cause. However, research has shown that there are numerous lifestyle factors that act as risk factors for development of hypertension. These include; cigarette smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, high salt intake and alcohol overuse. Other non-lifestyle factors are: increased age, being of the male gender, family history of hypertension, diabetes, diseases of the kidney and diseases of the thyroid gland. In case an underlying cause of hypertension is identified we prioritize its treatment. It is important to note that a high blood pressure may be as a sign of another disease such as preeclampsia in pregnancy.

Isolated abnormal blood pressure readings are not diagnostic of hypertension. Follow up measurements are required to make a diagnosis. The Kisumu heart center conducts schedules free blood pressure measurements campaigns in Kisumu and its environs. Any patient found to be hypertensive is referred to our facility where they are tested, counseled and started on appropriate blood pressure medication.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 and type 2. Type 1 affects people aged below 35 years and is also known as insulin dependent diabetes. This type of diabetes is caused by destruction of the insulin producing cells of the pancreas by the immune system. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common, affects older people and is characterized by too much sugar intake, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. At the Kisumu heart Centre diabetes control clinic, we manage both types of diabetes comfortably and provide long-term follow-up and monitoring.

People living with risk factors that increase the possibility of developing diabetes need to always be on the lookout for potential signs and symptoms of high blood sugar. The risk factors include: family history of diabetes, advancing age, obesity, excessive carbohydrate intake, cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intake. Some of the common manifestations of diabetes include: excessive water intake and excessive thirst sensation, excessive urination, constant feeling of hunger etc. some of the symptoms of complications include blurred vision and non-healing wounds.

It is important for all diabetic patients on follow-up to deeply understand the normal ranges of blood sugar since here at Kisumu Heart Centre we encourage self-monitoring and self-administration of insulin and other diabetes control medication. The normal blood sugar varies depending on a couple of factors including medication and last meals before measuring. Our diabetes clinic runs everyday and our doctors will give you appointments depending on the level of control of your sugar. The Kisumu Heart Centre provides personalized health education and patient training to all our diabetes patients free of charge as part of the consultation process.

Diabetes melitus has no known cure. Treatment entails control of blood sugar and looking out for complications. At Kisumu heart Center we encourage regular clinical visits for assessment of possible complications and rapid intervention before they become life threatening. Blood sugar control and maintenance withing the normal range is however the mainstay of treatment. Insulin and oral glycemic agents are the main drugs used for diabetes control. Avoid self-prescription.