Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease, in which your normal blood sugar levels shoot up to abnormally high levels. This condition is known as hyperglycemia.
It occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly. The result is high blood sugar levels that damage many parts of your body.
Your pancreas usually releases insulin to help your system store and use the sugar (also fat) from your food. But when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or produces very little or your cells stop responding to insulin, it leads to insulin resistance.
Diabetes often leads to serious health issues, such as heart disease, loss of vision and kidney failure. Uncontrolled diabetes can also damage your nerves and blood vessels.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes often require prolonged treatment and proper medical care.
Diabetes is not a curable disease, but with proper weight management and heathy dietary intakes, it can be managed and controlled.
Types of Diabetes
There are three common types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.
And there is a condition called Prediabetes, which might lead to type 2 diabetes.
It’s a condition in which your body body stops making insulin. Your own immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in your pancreas. Over time, your pancreas stops producing enough insulin necessary for regulating your body’s energy supply.
Persons (children and teens normally)under the age of 20 are mostly affected, but type 1 diabetes can develop at any age.
As of now, there is no know-how as to how it can be prevented.
It’s a condition in which your body becomes insulin-resistant and your blood sugar level increases. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, and about 90% to 95% of persons diagnosed with diabetes have this type.
Type 2 is preventable with lifestyle changes that include achieving weight loss and keeping yourself physically active.
It may not throw up any symptoms, so it’s better to get your blood sugar levels tested periodically.
It occurs in some pregnant women with no prior history of diabetes in their lives. Gestational diabetes normally goes away after the birth of your baby.
However, if you had contracted gestational diabetes, both you and your child are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
This condition develops when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not higher enough to be labelled as diabetic. People with prediabetes are at a greater risk of developing type 2 and cardiovascular disease.
Prediabetes is caused by insulin resistance, which means your cells are no longer respond properly to insulin. However, prediabetes is reversible through lifestyle changes that include eating healthier foods, exercising regularly and losing weight.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The following are some of the common symptoms associated with diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
You may experience stomach aches, vomiting or nausea. Symptoms may develop fairly quickly in few weeks or months. Type 1 occurs generally in persons below the age of 20, but it can also occur at any age.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
The symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes may take many years to develop. In some cases, these symptoms may not be felt at all. Type 2 usually occurs in adults, but growing evidence shows that young children and teens are getting diagnosed with this condition.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
You may develop gestational diabetes, but you may not experience any symptoms associated with it. It is, therefore, important to get tested for your blood sugar level during your pregnancy, especially between 24th and 28th weeks of your pregnancy.
Frequent urination and feeling thirsty can be symptoms of gestational diabetes.
Less Common Types
These include monogenic, cystic fibrosis related and drug induced, and these are quite rare in their occurrence.
The one cause of your diabetes is having way too much glucose in your blood. In other words, uncontrolled spikes in your blood sugar levels cause can cause it.
But the exact reason for the many types of diabetes is still not clear.
The causes can be due to:
Complications of Diabetes
Complications arising out of diabetes can be both severe and life-threatening, and can lead to:
And, complications due to gestational diabetes include premature birth, baby’s weight being larger than average, stillbirth, jaundice and hypoglycemia.
You may be at the risk of developing diabetes owing to these following factors:
Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors
In India, gestational diabetes affects roughly over five million women every year. According to research data, both prediabetes and diabetes affect roughly over six million births in India, and 90% of them are because of gestational diabetes.
Diagnosis and Tests for Diabetes
You have to get your blood tested for your blood sugar level to determine whether you have diabetes.
Your Doctor may perform a few following tests to know whether you have type 1, type 2, gestational or prediabetes.
Early detection and diagnosis is key to the treatment and management of your diabetes. Your Doctor will treat for the type of diabetes that you suffer from. Your treatment is also based on your present health conditions and your blood sugar level.
Prevention of Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels become too high. It affects how much glucose (or sugar) enters your body and how effectively your body uses that glucose for energy.
With these following four steps, you can successfully treat this condition.
Keep Tab on Your Blood Sugar Levels
To monitor your blood sugar levels, you need to test your blood sugar at least three times each day. You should also check your blood sugar before meals and after exercise.
If you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin to control your blood sugar level. People who have type 2 diabetes can take oral medications or insulin shots to lower their blood sugar.
Eat Right Food
Eat a healthy, tailor-made diet that will improve your condition. Along with your diet, monitor your blood sugar level frequently. These steps will help you manage your condition effectively.
Do Your Exercise Regularly
Exercise helps you control blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity. It also improves your cardiovascular function and lowers blood pressure. In addition, regular exercise reduces your stress and anxiety, which can improve your mood.
Follow Your Medication
If you take medication for diabetes, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. You must consult your doctor before taking any medications. Also, keep track of how well you are doing with your treatment plan. This will help you making changes to the treatment, if necessary.
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Sources: CDC (1, 2), WHO, Mayo Clinic, Healthline, NIDDK, Cleveland Clinic, WebMD, Johns Hopkins and Frontiers.
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