Diabetes: An Overview
If you have diabetes, your body isn’t able to properly process and use glucose from the food you eat. There are different types of diabetes, each with different causes, but they all share the common problem of having too much glucose in your bloodstream. Treatments include medications and/or insulins. Some types of diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle.
What is diabetes :
Diabetes happens when your body isn’t able to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells and use it for energy. This results in a build-up of extra sugar in your bloodstream.
Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to serious consequences, causing damage to a wide range of your body’s organs and tissues – including your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Type of diabetes :
Type I diabetes: Also known as juvenile diabetes, this type occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, which means they must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body uses insulin. While the body still makes insulin, unlike in type I, the cells in the body do not respond to it as effectively as they once did. This is the most common type of diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and it has strong links with obesity.
Gestational diabetes: This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.
Causes of Diabetes :
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. It’s believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and additional environmental (as yet unidentified) factors provoke the immune system into attacking and killing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes from occurring.
Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by insulin resistance. This means no matter how much or how little insulin is made, the body can’t use it as well as it should. As a result, glucose can’t be moved from the blood into cells. Over time, the excess sugar in the blood gradually poisons the pancreas causing it to make less insulin and making it even more difficult to keep blood glucose under control.
Obesity is a leading cause of insulin resistance – about 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Genetic factors are also likely to be involved in the cause of type 2 diabetes. A family history of the disease has been shown to increase the chances of getting it.
Other risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes include:
being 40 years of age or older
being of Indigenous, Hispanic, South Asian, Asian, or African descent
blood vessel disease (e.g., damage to blood vessels in eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, brain, or arms and legs)
high blood pressure
a history of gestational diabetes
history of prediabetes or impaired fasting glucose
giving birth to a large baby
certain medical conditions (e.g., HIV infection)
mental health disorders (e.g., bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia)
acanthosis nigricans (a condition causing darkened patches of skin)
polycystic ovary syndrome
obstructive sleep apnea
use of certain medications (e.g., corticosteroids such as prednisone, certain antipsychotic medications, and certain antiviral medications for HIV)
Symptoms of diabetes :
Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may sometimes not experience symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.
Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are:
Unexplained weight loss
Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available., insulin)
Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.