What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which the food you eat is not metabolized properly, resulting in high blood sugar levels. It happens due to problems with insulin production in human body or its working mechanism.

What are the types of diabetes?

  1. Type 1 diabetes: When the pancreas completely stops producing insulin.
  2. Type 2 diabetes: When the pancreas is producing insulin, but it is either not enough or does not work properly.
  3. GDM (Gestational Diabetes Mellitus): GDM is appearance of diabetes or glucose intolerance during pregnancy.

What is type 1 diabetes?

When the pancreas of a person stops producing insulin, it is called type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, even in very small children.
Genetics and external factors (such as some viruses) together play a role in development of type 1 diabetes. The external factors trigger autoimmune response in the body. This means that the body’s own immune system kills the pancreas’ insulin producing cells.
Currently, there is no known prevention or cure for type 1 diabetes.
Almost 5-10% of all people with diabetes worldwide have type 1 diabetes.

I have type 1 diabetes. Can I be treated with diet, exercise and pills instead of insulin?

Since type 1 diabetes is characterized by absence of insulin in the body, there is no treatment for it other than taking insulin through external injections.
Diet management is an important part of living a healthy life with diabetes, however, not eating carbohydrates can NOT replace your insulin needs. You will still need to take insulin, albeit in smaller doses. Please know that carbohydrates form an important part of the diet and should not be absent from your food. Even a small amount of carbohydrates make it necessary for a type 1 to cover them with an insulin shot.
Similarly, exercise cannot replace your insulin needs. It can only reduce the dose, or help you better manage your blood sugar levels. It cannot help you live without insulin.
Some people with type 1 diabetes may be prescribed pills along with insulin by their doctors for better management. However, pills cannot replace your insulin.

I have type 2 diabetes. What should I do?

Depending on how high your blood sugar levels are, time since diagnosis and other factors, your doctor may tell you to manage your blood sugar levels through diet control, weight loss and exercise.

However, the doctor may also prescribe you some pills or insulin to help you manage blood sugar levels. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice and to keep a good check on your blood sugar levels.

I have family tendency of type 2 diabetes. What can I do to prevent it?

Luckily, many people at risk of type 2 diabetes can prevent or delay its onset. Diabetes prevention entails healthy eating (balanced diet with controlled portion sizes), 30 minutes of regular exercise and keeping your weight in check.

Many people in prediabetes stage can avoid developing it if they lose 5-8 kgs of their weight.
Tendency for development of type 2 diabetes starts from the womb. It is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family to prevent diabetes.

Is diabetes emotionally draining?

Diabetes is a chronic condition, with no long term cure. It drains you emotionally due to the constant struggle of maintaining good blood sugar levels 24/7/365 for the rest of your life. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels also play a role in stress and depression.

It is known that diabetes can cause stress and depression. If you are upset about life with diabetes, seeing a psychologist can greatly help elevate your moods and motivate you. Learning how to better manage your blood sugar levels and connecting with others around you who are sailing in the same boat, finding a support group for networking and learning are known to greatly help improve emotional wellbeing.
*If you or a loved one has type 1 diabetes and wish to join Meethi Zindagi’s support group, please send a joining request to Meethi Zindagi Type 1 Diasquad on Facebook. ** If you need counseling and support, book an appointment with our Emotional Wellbeing Centre


Can a child/person with type 1 diabetes still go to school and play?

Of course! With proper steps taken to ensure your child’s safety and wellbeing, he/she can do anything in life that anyone without diabetes can do.

    • A few things to note:
  • The school admin/teachers should be informed about your child’s medical condition and taught about how to handle emergency lows and highs if they occur in school.
  • If your child is underage, whatever activity he/she is doing, make sure an adult is overseeing it without making the child feel over protected or restricted.
  • Better blood sugar management increase the confidence of the child as well as parents/guardians and caregivers in letting the child explore and grow as any other around him/her. If your child is facing blood sugar management issues, consult his/her doctor.
  • Please know that people with type 1 diabetes are renowned sportsmen, leaders, celebrities, divers, astronauts, pilots – name anything you can think of! Yes, currently the laws do not permit people with any kind of health conditions that need regular care to join armed forces and police. It is only in a few countries that people with type 1 diabetes can obtain license as pilots. However, generally speaking, your child can pursue his/her dreams.

What complications can be caused by diabetes?

Poorly managed diabetes can affect all organs in the body. It can cause complications of the eyes (including, but not limited to cataracts, glaucoma, retinopathy), kidneys (nephropathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), foot damage, skin, hearing and memory.
But the good news is that you can prevent the complications if you manage your blood sugar levels and keep them close to normal. Family members of people with diabetes should keep a lookout for symptoms and get themselves screened for diabetes from time to time. Delayed diagnosis is often a reason for development of complications.

What are the ideal blood sugar levels?

    1. Blood sugar level targets can vary from person to person depending on certain conditions. The levels recommended below are general recommendations. At times your doctor may recommend ranges above or below those stated below for reasons (such as pregnancy, frequent low blood sugar levels, or other specific reasons that the doctor will disclose to you).

      For people who are undiagnosed, fasting blood sugar levels are generally used for screening:

      100mg/dl or 5.5 mmol/L No diabetes
      101- 125 mg/dl or 5.6 – 6.9 mmol/L Prediabetes (risk of developing type 2 diabetes)
      >126 mg/dl or 5.7mmol/L Diabetes

For people diagnosed with diabetes, the following age specific ranges are recommended

  1. Age Fasting Before meals 1.5 -2 hours after meals Bedtime
    Adults with Type 2 diabetes
    (NICE Recommendations)
    70-100 mg/dl 70-126 mg/dl 100 – 150 mg/dl
    Adults with Type 1 diabetes
    (NICE Recommendations)
    70-100 mg/dl 70-126 mg/dl 90 – 160 mg/dl
    Children with Type 1 diabetes
    (ISPAD Recommendations)
    90-145 mg/dl 90-145 mg/dl 90-180 mg/dl 120-180
We are always here to help. For queries other than the FAQs above, kindly write to us at