Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your main source of energy known as blood glucose is too high. A hormone made by the pancreas, called insulin, helps glucose from food to go into your cells to be used for energy. Your body may not make enough or make any at all which then results in glucose stays in your blood and does not reach the cells. If you have too much glucose in your blood, it can cause health problems like diabetes.
There are different types of diabetes: Type 1 wherein your body does not make insulin, Type 2 wherein your body does not make or use insulin well, and gestational diabetes which develops in some women when they are pregnant.
Diabetes is hereditary. This means that it is passed down from mothers and/or fathers to their children. Though not everyone who inherits the genes will develop it, if you have the genes for type 2 diabetes, you have a greater chance of having it. We will get to know more factors of this condition as we dig deeper into this topic.
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Type 1 Diabetes
When your immune system destroys insulin-making cells in your pancreas, it is called Type 1 diabetes. This condition is usually diagnosed in children and young people thus it is called juvenile diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
When your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar. This condition used to be called adult-onset diabetes but both types 1 and 2 can begin either during childhood and adulthood. Though type 2 is more common in older adults, the increase in the number of young people with overweight or obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in children.
This condition usually develops during pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby is born. It usually happens in the second or third trimester but can happen at any stage of pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes can cause problems for the mother and the baby during pregnancy and after birth. But the risks can be reduced if the condition is detected early and well managed.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
There are different symptoms of diabetes but the ones that we are including here are the most common ones. They are increased hunger, increased thirst, weight loss, frequent urination, blurry vision, extreme fatigue, and sores that don’t heal. Some may also experience wounds that don’t easily heal.
What can diabetes lead to?
When you have high blood sugar, it can damage your organs and tissues throughout your body. The risk for complications depends on the level of your blood sugar and the length of time that you live with it. The following are some of the complications that are associated with diabetes:
- heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
- retinopathy and vision loss
- hearing loss
- foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal
- skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections
How to cure diabetes?
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but studies show that it is possible for some to control it. Through proper diet and exercise, you may be able to retain normal blood sugar levels without the use of medication.
Aside from the two main things mentioned above, there are other ways to control diabetes. These are by testing your blood sugar, get enough quality sleep, and getting regular checkups.
How to diagnose diabetes?
Once you have symptoms of diabetes, it’s better if you have it checked by your doctor. The earlier you get diagnosed with diabetes, the sooner you can start treatment.
Most common way to diagnose diabetes is through blood tests. There are 2 blood tests that doctors use to test: fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test which measures your blood sugar after you’ve fasted for 8 hours and A1C test which provides a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months.
Common medications for diabetes
Although there is a list of medications to control this disease, it is still best to check with your doctor regularly to check if you need to change the prescribed medication or increase or decrease your dosage.
These are pills and non-insulin medicines routinely used to treat type 2 diabetes:
- Thiazolidinediones (glitazones)
- Insulin-releasing pills (secretagogues)
- Starch blockers
- Incretin based therapies
- Non-insulin Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes – Amylin analogs
Medications and devices used to treat type 1 diabetes:
- Insulin Therapy
- Non-insulin Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes – Amylin analogs
- Insulin pump therapy
- Type 1 diabetes
- Family history
- Environmental factors
- The presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Family history
- Race or ethnicity
- Gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Gestational diabetes
- Family or personal history
- Race or ethnicity
Diabetes is a condition that can change your life. It requires control of blood sugar and a healthy and active lifestyle for you to be able to manage it properly.
There are different types of diabetes, these are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 happens when there is too much consumption of high-sugar foods flooding the blood supply with glucose and reducing the production of insulin. Gestational diabetes usually occurs during pregnancy and disappears after giving birth.
You can get diagnosed by going through blood tests like fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and A1C test.
Though there is no cure for diabetes, people can control and manage it by taking supplementary insulin to improve glucose absorption. Regular exercise and a proper diet can reduce the risk of full diabetes for people who have prediabetes.
Diabetes can cause complications if not controlled so managing it is very vital. The earlier you are diagnosed with it, the sooner you can get treatment for it. Once symptoms are observed, it’s better to check with your doctor right away.