What is diabetes?

Diabetes refers to a group of conditions characterised by high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels occur when there is a problem with the body's ability to produce or use insulin properly.

What are the symptoms?

Some symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, excessive urination, hunger and thirst, blurry vision and slow-healing sores. Some patients may feel a tingling sensation in the hands and feet, as well as numbness in these areas.

In the case of type 1 diabetes, patients may experience sudden weight loss. Patients with type 2 diabetes often experience no symptoms until serious complications, like heart attack, occur.

How is it diagnosed?

If you have experienced any early symptoms of diabetes, it is advisable that you undergo testing. There are a number of blood tests than can be performed to diagnose the condition.

The most common blood test for diabetes is known as the A1C test, or glycated haemoglobin test. The test works by measuring your average blood sugar in your body over a period of two or three months.

During a random blood sugar test, blood is drawn at any chosen time, while a fasting blood sugar test involves taking blood after you have not eaten for 8 to 12 hours.

An oral glucose test involves testing blood sugar levels over the course of two hours. Usually, the blood is tested and then tested again after the patient has drunk something sugary.

How can it be treated?

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, Dr Shaikh will advise you of the best eating plan that will help to maintain your blood sugar levels.

In some cases, Dr Shaikh may prescribe medications to help manage the condition. Insulin therapy may also be required, in which case you will need to use an insulin injection several times a day.