Yeah, I know what you thought after reading the title and saw that it is about diabetes. You probably thought who the hell are you to tell us about diabetes and everything that there is to know about diabetes?
Well, for that thought, I am going to give you a short story about me and leave you to decide whether I am fit to be talking about diabetes to you or I should just pack up my shit and leave the internet in peace before adding irrelevant information to it.
TEN YEARS OF DIABETES AREN’T A JOKE
I was diagnosed back in 2007. That was one year after my own dad had been diagnosed with this same terrible disease.
I used to hear on the radio every Sunday when a pastor was preaching that there are people who have money but can’t drink tea with sugar and for that, we should learn to be thankful to God.
I used to think to myself, what the fuck is this church leader talking about, who has money and doesn’t drink tea that has sugar in it?
But shit got real when I noticed that my dad was among those who had money but could not use sugar anymore.
I pitied him every time I seeped my tea with a huge slice of Ugali every morning before heading out to start my day at school.
I watched him eat his food that had zero carbs in it and always wondered where he would get the energy he needed for the day. I was then in class six and we had just been taught about nutrition and stuff. It was also in class six that I first learned about the human reproductive system. So, you can guess, I was always attentive in a science class.
What I didn’t realize was the fact that I was next.
I started having the signs and symptoms of diabetes but my dad thought that I was too young to be having diabetes.
According to him, there was no way that a 10-year-old kid would have diabetes.
Diabetes was just an old people disease. Huge mistake. Biggest myth ever.
Yes, I was 10 and I had diabetes. No, it was not malaria because I had lost my appetite and I was feeling nauseated 90% of the time. It was big fucking type one diabetes.
Okay. I was taken to hospital and a big mistake happened.
I was treated by an intern.
You know the kind of interns who think that books are enough to become qualified to know everything there is to know about a human body.
Yeah, she listened to my signs and symptoms and immediately decided that what I had was malaria. Big mistake. I almost died.
She gave me the malaria prescriptions and sent me home.
My condition continued to worsen but my dad who believed that I didn’t have diabetes insisted that I should finish the medications before going back to the hospital.
By the time I finished the meds I was weighing like 5 kg, man, I was emaciated like hell, I think those who saw me thought that I was HIV positive and could not afford to purchase ARVs.
Finally, I went back to the hospital and this time I met a real doctor who decided to use a lab instead of making a guess. He saved my life and sent me to the children’s ward where I was laid for the following two and half months as the doctors and nurses worked to bring my blood sugars back in control.
I have been diabetic since 2007.
That means I have had a lot of experience with diabetes.
I bought a phone back in 2011 and then realized that there was something called the internet and inside that thing there was another thing that you could punch in a few words into it and it showed you all the information that you wanted.
They call it google.
I have been researching over the years about diabetes.
I have read a lot of stuff. I have read conspiracy theories. Reasons why I should not marry as a diabetic. Things not to eat. Why insulin is bad and why it is bad (not a typo. Some articles are full of shit. They will try to convince you to leave your insulin and go with what they call “natural remedies that are supposed to cure you”. Warning: Don’t fuck with these kinds of articles. I mean ignore them completely. Otherwise you will be dead within a year or two. If you miss death, you will have a lot of health complications you will wish you were dead). In short, I have read a lot of stuff.
Coupled with experience over the years, I got a lot to share in this article.
If you don’t have a cup of coffee with you… oh, hold on a second, you most likely have diabetes if you are reading this right now, get yourself a drink that will not raise your glucose levels and then seat yourself down. And be humble (I love Kendrick Lamar if you didn’t figure that out already). You are gonna be here long if you intend on reading this to the end. It’s a sheet cheat!
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS THAT WILL TELL YOU THAT YOU HAVE DIABETES?
1. DIABETES MAKES YOU THIRSTY AFTER EVERY 2 SECONDS
I am serious here.
I used to drink a cup of ice cold water throughout the night after every 2 seconds. During the day, I think I used to drink two cups of water every one second. And yes, I said cup not glass. It was a rural area, where would I have gotten a glass from?
According to timesulin, when glucose becomes hyper-concentrated in your blood stream, your kidney loses the ability to pull out the glucose from water (remember osmosis from your biology in high school). Under normal circumstances, almost all glucose is pulled out of the urine and back into the body.
Since the body can no longer pull glucose out from water in your kidneys the osmotic pressure (the pressure that builds between a liquid with high concentration of solutes and a liquid with a low concentration) builds up.
Eventually, it gets so high that water can no longer be absorbed back into your bloodstream. This will lead to the body demanding that you add more water into it. Water is being absorbed out of your blood stream.
2. URINATING AFTER EVERY FIVE MINUTES
Yes, I said it.
I used to sit down through the night otherwise I would wake up to a wet bed.
I couldn’t afford a wet bed. Who wets the bed when they are ten?
According to diabetes UK having high blood glucose levels can cause the body to excrete excess glucose via the urine. In this instance, more sugar appears in the urine and simulates extra volumes of urine to be produced. This will make you want to go to the toilet during the night every five minutes.
3. FEELING FATIGUED/TIRED ALL THE TIME
Even when you have spent all day sitting under a tree shadow like I used to do.
According to diabetes self-management, diabetes fatigue can occur due to two reasons:
1. High blood glucose
High blood glucose makes your body “sludgy” slowing circulation so cells can’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need. Also, high blood sugar can cause fatigue through inflammation. Blood vessels get inflamed by the sugar. When this happens according to this research, immune cells called monocytes come into the brain causing fatigue.
2. Low blood sugar levels
When your body has low blood sugar levels, there is not enough fuel for cells to work with.
How long do you think a car without fuel can go without calling it quits and stopping completely?
No! No! am not telling you. You tell me.
4. FEELING HUNGRY ALL THE TIME
This is related to the above symptom. When your body can’t convert the supplied glucose into energy that cells can use, this makes you feel always hungry.
This condition of always feeling hungry can also be referred to as Polyphagia.
5. DRY MOUTH AND ITCHY SKIN
This happens because your body is using all the fluids to make pee, there is less moisture for other things. This makes you dehydrated, your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin makes you itchy.
6. BLURRED VISION
Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and lose their ability to focus.
7. YEAST INFECTION [COMMON WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES]
These affect men and women. Yeast infections feed on glucose and since diabetic people have a lot of this, it makes them thrive. Infections can grow in any warm, moist fold of skin, including:
- Between fingers and toes
- Under breasts
- In or around sex organs
8. SLOW HEALING SORES OR CUTS AND PAIN OR NUMBNESS IN YOUR FEET OR LEGS [COMMON WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES]
Over time, high blood sugar can affect your blood flow and cause nerve damage that makes it hard for your body to heal wounds.
People with type 2 diabetes often have diabetes for long before they discover they have it.
This can then destroy the nerves without you knowing.
9. UNPLANNED WEIGHT LOSS [COMMON WITH TYPE ONE DIABETES]
If your body can’t get the energy from your food, it will start burning muscle and fat for energy instead. You may lose weight even when you haven’t changed how you eat.
10. NAUSEA AND VOMITING [COMMON WITH TYPE ONE DIABETES]
When your body results to burning fat, it makes “ketones”. These can build up in your blood to dangerous levels, which can be life threatening condition called Ketoacidosis. Ketones are responsible for the feeling of vomiting.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIABETES, WHAT ARE THEY?
There are four major types of diabetes. These include:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
TYPE ONE DIABETES
This the type of diabetes where the patient does not make any insulin. This is a chronic disease.
The cells that make insulin are destroyed and the body is unable to make insulin, Insulin being the hormone that helps the body to use a natural sugar called glucose for energy. In type 1 diabetes, the body cannot process the glucose into energy due to the lack of insulin. This causes elevated blood sugar levels and can cause both short-term and long-term complications.
CAUSES OF TYPE ONE DIABETES
The body’s immune is responsible for fighting off foreign invaders, like harmful viruses and bacteria. In type one diabetes, the immune system mistakes the body’s own healthy cells as being invaders. The body hence attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
After the beta cells are destroyed, the body is unable to produce insulin.
Researchers don’t know why the immune system attacks the body’s own cells. It may have something to do with genetic environmental factors, like exposure to viruses. Research is still going on.
SIDE NOTE: I READ THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT CLAIMS THAT DIABETES IS TOO MUCH OF A PROFITABLE BUSINESS TO FIND A CURE FOR. THE THEORY CLAIMED THAT CURING DIABETES WOULD KILL A BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY. READ HERE:
TYPE TWO DIABETES
People with type 2 diabetes are either resistant to insulin being produced by their bodies or their body produces insulin but the insulin produced is not enough to cover the requirements by the body.
This could be caused by excess weight and in activity.
There are also genetic factors that are involved in this type of diabetes. That is why a lot of people with excess weight do not have type 2 diabetes while people with normal weight have type 2 diabetes.
The treatments of type 2 diabetes most of the time do not involve insulin therapy but some types of medication that reduces insulin resistance or boosts the production of insulin.
EDITORS NOTE: Diabetes type 2 in most of the cases is progressive. What this means is that most people who start managing their type 2 diabetes through the use of tablets, most of the time they end up using insulin to control their blood sugars.
I have experience with this.
My dad went from being able to completely manage his diabetes perfectly using Nogluc and Metformin tablets to having to use Mixtard insulin twice a day.
The medications failed completely. He had to shift to using insulin like me.
See what I am talking about?
Good! Let’s move on.
Prediabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not yet high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
In most cases, without lifestyle changes, prediabetes will proceed to type 2 diabetes.
This is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after giving birth.
It can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but is more common in the second half of the pregnancy.
It occurs if the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the extra needs that occur during the pregnancy.
WHAT STAGES DO PEOPLE GO THROUGH AFTER THEY DISCOVER THEY HAVE DIABETES?
Once you discover that something that will change your life forever has just happened, there are several stages that you go through. Especially if the thing that has happened to you is something negative thing.
Here are the stages:
This is the first stage where you, the newly diabetic person will deny that you have diabetes.
This may be manifested through actions like ditching your insulin shots, ditching your medications, eating whatever your friends are eating without caring how it will affect your blood glucose and doing everything you can to proof to yourself that you don’t have diabetes.
This will involve asking yourself and everyone around you this question: why me?
It will involve hating people around you because you have diabetes and they don’t.
It will involve complaining all the time.
It will involve snapping at people for no reason.
This will involve telling yourself things like:
“This will go away if I eat right and stay healthy.”
“It can’t be that bad.”
Once you realize that the diabetes is not going away, you start getting depressed.
You see like you will die tomorrow.
You start excluding yourself from social events and going to your bed and crying yourself into a pulp.
Finally, it reaches a point where you realize that you have diabetes and diabetes doesn’t have you.
You start taking care of yourself again, you stop being depressed, you start appearing at social events again.
You stop hating people just because they don’t have diabetes and you have diabetes.
You start laughing when a person makes a joke about you instead of getting mad at them.
A lot of people don’t know the first thing about diabetes. And hence, they are susceptible to believing diabetes myths. Here are the myths.
Myth: if you are overweight or obese, you will definitely develop type 2 diabetes
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, but also other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age play a role. In fact, most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes and many people with type 2 diabetes are at normal weight or only slightly overweight.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes
Fact: This will be confusing. I will try to explain it as best as possible.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease. Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. Eating too much sugar is not directly linked to having diabetes although it is somehow linked to having type 2 diabetes because it will cause people to be overweight.
Note: You can be overweight and not develop diabetes. You develop type 2 diabetes if you have genetics that are susceptible to diabetes.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease
Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Having diabetes nearly doubles your chance of having a heart attack.
Myth: People with diabetes eat special diabetic foods
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy eating for anyone.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desert can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no “off limits” to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes.
Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else
Fact: No. diabetes is not contagious.
Myth: Fruit is healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much as you wish
Fact: Fruits contains carbs. They therefore should be used as part of a healthy meal plan.
Myth: People with diabetes go blind and lose their legs
Fact: Although diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and also causes many amputations each year, people who control their blood sugars well and have a healthy lifestyle do not get any complications.
Myth: People with diabetes are dangerous drivers
Fact: the only thing that can be dangerous when a diabetic is driving is hypoglycemia. Diabetic people nowadays are always equipped on ways to deal with cases of hypoglycemia. Therefore, there is no way that driving with diabetes is dangerous.
Myth: People with diabetes shouldn’t play sport
Fact: diabetics can participate in sports. There are prominent sportsmen and sportswomen who are diabetic.
Myth: People with diabetes can’t do many jobs
Fact: People with diabetes considering the treatment improvements can participate in an infinite number of jobs. Some jobs like joining the army can be impossible but the number of jobs that diabetic people can undertake are numerous.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FAIL TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR DIABETES
When you fail to take care of your diabetes, you will get complications. These complications will mess up your life before they fucking kill you.
What are these complications?
This is a buildup of acids in a diabetic person’s blood. Ketoacidosis is life threatening and can happen when your blood sugar is too high or too low.
People with diabetes face a greater risk of stroke which is life threatening.
3. Alzheimer’s disease
This is a form of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease has a direct connection to diabetes especially type 2 diabetes.
4. Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic Neuropathy happens when you have high blood sugar for a long time and hence destroying your nerves.
5. Diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma
Diabetic retinopathy affect the eyes.
Cataracts and glaucoma also affect the eyes after years of uncontrolled diabetes.
Nephropathy is the kidney disease.
7. Increased cancer risk
Diabetics has an increased risk of contracting cancer.
EDITORS NOTE: THERE ARE A LOT OF DIABETES COMPLICATIONS FIND OUT MORE HERE
THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER TELL A DIABETIC
There are some things that none diabetic people think that are just normal when telling these to a diabetic person.
But they are not.
They make diabetic people so mad that they want to kill you.
Here are some of these:
· “THAT’S GROSS”
This is the kind of comment that anyone who has never had to deal with diabetes will make when he or she sees me injecting myself with insulin.
Yeah, I know, it looks like I am doing cocaine. Only am doing it for the opposite reason. To not get high.
I am doing it for survival.
If I don’t do this, I fucking die in like a week.
· “ARE YOU WELL CONTROLLED?”
See how the clouds are gathering around?
See how it might rain soon?
Yes, let’s talk about the weather.
Leave alone the controlled thing.
· “AREN’T YOU WORRIED ABOUT HAVING KIDS”
Of course, I am.
The price of taking kids through college has gone up.
I don’t want to stay up all night trying to sing a baby back to sleep.
Hold on a minute because I think I got you now.
Are you talking about diabetes and its effect on my kids?
Unless I am marrying you, let’s change the subject.
· “Are you supposed to eat that?”
Why the fuck not?
I have teeth.
My jaws have the ability to move up and down.
I know what the fuck I am doing.
· “At least it is manageable/not cancer”
Tell me that again and I will kick your ass so hard that you will be limping for the rest of your life.
I have to prick my fingers every time I need to eat to decide whether I should eat the carbs or ignore them.
I have to inject myself twice.
I have to carry a juice box all day like a nursery school kid just in case a hypo happens out of the blue.
Yes, it’s not cancer dumbass.
· “My aunt had diabetes, she lost her legs, lost her hands, went blind and then died of stroke…”
Tell me of that person who died yesterday of throat cancer.
Did you see how he could not swallow anything and he died weighing like 3kg?
Also, I need you to tell me about that person who was hit by the train.
Did you see how all the bones in his body were broken?
Oh, you can’t tell me that?
Why the fuck are you telling me about your aunt?
· “That girl is sweet, I think I have diabetes just looking at her.”
Bro, what the fuck?
Like for real?
I have diabetes for real and you gonna tell me such a stale joke about it?
· “You inject yourself daily? I can’t do that”
Okay, I get you.
If I don’t, I fucking die.
So, move over, I need to take another insulin shot.
· “But you are not fat.”
Diabetes is genetic.
Do you even read?
· “You must have eaten a lot of sugar as a kid.”
Type one diabetes is not even related to diet.
This thing is genetic.
· “If you eat better and exercise more, you will get better.”
Okay, not kidding right now, how “more” is “more”.
Before I saw you, this morning I had ran for 20 kilometers and I just walked for five kilometers to get here.
What the fuck is wrong with you.
Now I come to the end of this diabetes cheat sheet.
It is 3400+ words but I still think I missed some points.
What do you hate to be told as a diabetic?
Put that in the comments below.
I am looking forward to a good laugh reading your comments.
Please do share this on social media.