HomeHealthDIABETES: TYPES, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, TREATMENT AND ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS LIFE THREATENING DISEASE
DIABETES: TYPES, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, TREATMENT AND ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS LIFE THREATENING DISEASE
December 27, 2021
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach. Your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin acts as the “key” that unlocks the cell wall “door,” which allows glucose to enter your body’s cells. Glucose provides the “fuel” or energy tissues and organs need to properly function. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
Poorly controlled diabetes can also lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body’s organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys and eyes.
Types Of Diabetes
Different kinds of diabetes can occur, and how people manage the condition depends on the type. Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle. Some are present from childhood.
The most common types of diabetes are:
Type 1 Diabetes
This is an autoimmune disease. It is also known as juvenile diabetes. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type. There’s no cure for type 1 diabetes. People living with type 1 diabetes need to administer insulin on a regular basis. Individuals may do this with injections or an insulin pump.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:
Unintentional weight loss
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent, or adult-onset) results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. More than 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This type of diabetes is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. Until recently, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but it is now also occurring increasingly frequently in children.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:
Sores that are slow to heal
It may also cause recurring infections
It may also results to recurring infections. This is because elevated glucose levels make it harder for the body to heal.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes. Reports suggest that it occurs in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies. Gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born. However, 35% to 60% of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years, especially in those who require insulin during pregnancy and those who remain overweight after their delivery. Women with gestational diabetes are usually asked to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test about six weeks after giving birth to determine if their diabetes has persisted beyond the pregnancy, or if any evidence (such as impaired glucose tolerance) is present that may be a clue to a risk for developing diabetes.
During pregnancy, individuals can take steps to manage the condition. These include:
monitoring the growth and development of the fetus
adjusting their diet
monitoring blood sugar levels
Gestational diabetes can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy. It can also cause:
increased birth weight
blood sugar issues with the newborn, which typically clear up within a few days
increased risk of the baby developing type 2 diabetes later in life
This occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. For a doctor to diagnose prediabetes, an individual must meet the following criteria:
Glucose tolerance levels of 140–199 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
An A1C test result of 5.7–6.4%
Fasting blood sugar levels between 100–125 mg/dl
A rare condition called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It’s a different condition in which your kidneys remove too much fluid from your body.
The general symptoms of diabetes include:
Sores that don’t heal
In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and poor muscle strength while women with diabetes can also have symptoms such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin.
Risk Factors For Diabetes
Factors that increase your risk differ depending on the type of diabetes you ultimately develop.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include:
Having a family history (parent or sibling) of Type 1 diabetes.
Injury to the pancreas (such as by infection, tumor, surgery or accident).
Presence of autoantibodies (antibodies that mistakenly attack your own body’s tissues or organs).
Physical stress (such as surgery or illness).
Exposure to illnesses caused by viruses.
Risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes include:
Family history (parent or sibling) of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
Being African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American race or Pacific Islander.
Having high blood pressure.
Having low HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and high triglyceride level.
Being physically inactive.
Being age 45 or older.
Having gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
Having a history of heart disease or stroke.
Being a smoker.
Risk factors for gestational diabetes include:
Family history (parent or sibling) of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.
Being overweight before your pregnancy.
Being over 25 years of age.
Treatment of diabetes involves diet and physical activity along with lowering of blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications.
Interventions that are both cost-saving and feasible in low- and middle-income countries include:
Blood glucose control, particularly in type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin;
Blood pressure control; and
Foot care (patient self-care by maintaining foot hygiene; wearing appropriate footwear; seeking professional care for ulcer management; and regular examination of feet by health professionals).
Screening and treatment for retinopathy (which causes blindness);
Blood lipid control (to regulate cholesterol levels);
Screening for early signs of diabetes-related kidney disease and treatment.
Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. To help prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications, people should:
Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight;
Be physically active – doing at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control;
Eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats; and
Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
While diabetes is manageable, its complications can severely impact daily living, and some can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels and moderating glucose intake can help people prevent the more damaging complications of diabetes.