Diabetes is also medically referred to as diabetes mellitus. It is a long-term condition and requires proper diabetes care to manage the condition well. Diabetes can be controlled by proper treatment and diabetic care.
It is a metabolism disorder due to which an individual experiences high blood sugar either due to the fact that insulin production in the body is less or because the body cells are not responding well to insulin or both.
Types of Diabetes
There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin carry the glucose and in type 2, the body does not use insulin well or make enough of what is required. Almost 10% of diabetics are type I and the remaining are type 2.
We get glucose from the foods that we consume. The hormone, insulin helps to transport the glucose into the cells of the body and give it energy. With less insulin in the body, the glucose stays on, and over time may lead to a host of serious health issues including damage to your nerves, kidneys and eyes. Pregnant women can also be afflicted with diabetes, which is known as gestational diabetes.
Causes of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes can happen at any age, but it is more dominant in childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is more common in people above 40 years of age though it too can develop at any stage.
The exact reason for type 1 diabetes is not known. The condition happens when the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells located in the pancreas. Your body is left with very little insulin that causes sugar to build up in your bloodstream. A combination of environmental and genetic factors is thought to handle type 2 diabetes.
Your diabetes symptoms depend on the level of blood sugar in your body. People with type 2 diabetes may not have any symptoms in the initial stages. On the other hand, people with type 1 diabetes experience the symptoms quickly and these are more severe too. Some signs of type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:
• Sudden weight loss
• More thirst
• Increased hunger
• Frequent urination
• Slow-healing sores
• Blurred vision
• Ketones in the urine
• Recurrent infections, such as gum or vaginal infections
Diabetes Risk Factors
Two of the important risk factors for type I diabetes includes:
- Genetics, your risk of having the condition increases when anyone in your family is already suffering from it.
- Diseases of the pancreas which can reduce the ability of the body to produce insulin. Some illnesses also may cause damage to your pancreas thereby affecting insulin production.
It is still not known why some individuals develop type 2 diabetes, and some don’t. However, it is clear that certain factors increase the risk of the condition such as weight, sedentary lifestyle, genetics, race, high blood pressure, and age. While the risk of the condition increases with age, these days diabetes is also increasing among children and young adults. Also, if you had diabetes at the time of pregnancy, it increases your chances of getting type 2 diabetes later in life. Prediabetes is a milder form of type 2 diabetes. If you have this, there is a greater risk of you getting type 2 diabetes. A simple blood test can determine prediabetes.
Your doctor may ask you to go for a blood test to determine if you have the condition. For type 1 diabetics, a regular regime of exercising, weight control and following a meal plan are instrumental to help manage the condition better.
Type 2 diabetes patients need to watch their diet and be physically active too. They will also have to monitor their blood glucose levels and take oral medication and insulin to manage their blood sugar levels. As the risk for cardiovascular conditions is high for diabetics, it is important to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure levels regularly.
Some expectant mothers have very high levels of glucose in their body and the insulin produced is not enough to carry the glucose into the cells. It can lead to diabetes. Most of the gestational diabetics can control their condition through exercise and the right diet. Some of them might need to take some medications. Uncontrolled or undiagnosed diabetes can increase the risk of pregnancy complications.
Long-Term Complications of Diabetes
Long-term complications of the condition develop over time gradually. With time, the risks increase even more. Some complications may even be life-threatening or disabling. Some of the common complications are Skin issues, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, foot damage, eye damage, hearing impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.
With proper care and the right diabetes treatment, it is possible to control the conditions and avoid the long-term complications of diabetes. Diabetes is a very difficult illness, but the condition is quite manageable with proper diet and lifestyle changes.
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