What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that happens when blood sugar is high in the body; in such situations, either the pancreas is no longer to make sufficient insulin or is unable to use the insulin created by the body. Insulin is a type of hormone produced by the pancreas; the main job of insulin is to help generate energy by absorbing the glucose from the food. When a human body cannot make sufficient insulin or when insulin cannot absorb the glucose, then the problem of diabetes occurs. Having too much-unabsorbed glucose in the blood can lead to significant health issues, including damaging various body organs such as the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves
Despite so many developments in the medical science field, there is no specific permanent cure for diabetes; it is a life-long disease. Patients with diabetes need to manage it by changing their lifestyle, namely diet and physical activity.
People with a family history of diabetes, injury to the pancreas, physical stress, having high Blood Pressure, overweight, active smoking are at elevated risk of developing diabetes.
What are the different types of Diabetes?
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Diabetes: This type of diabetes gets diagnosed in young adults, teenagers, and children. Type 1 is caused by autoimmune failure i: e when the body kills or attacks the cells producing insulin, leading to a situation where the body does not make any insulin. There is no specific cure for Type 1 diabetes. People who get diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes need to inject insulin daily to survive
- Diabetes: This is the most common type of diabetes, with more than 95% of the population (WHO) affected. This occurs when the body cannot use insulin, constantly increasing the blood sugar level. This type of diabetes can be managed by taking a healthy diet, maintaining physical activity, and sustaining a healthy body weight
- Gestational Diabetes (GDM): This is the third type of diabetes that occurs in females with high blood glucose levels during their pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes subsides after childbirth
What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
Symptoms of diabetes differ basis the type of diabetes; symptoms of Type 1 show up quite quickly and are more severe. However, symptoms of type 2 diabetes are often not easily understandable, and some people may not experience the symptoms of type-2 diabetes. The most common symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:
|Consistent feeling of being parched||Fatigue|
|Increased frequency of urination||Problems associated with vision|
|Increase in Appetite||Slow Healing process of bruises and sores|
An important thing to note in the process of developing diabetes is that both Type 1 and Type 2 can occur at any stage in life; however, Type 1 is more common in young people, children, and teenagers, and Type 2 diabetes is more common in people of middle age. There is no specific treatment for both diabetes; for Type -1 diabetes, taking insulin at a constant interval is necessary, and for Type-2 diabetes, oral medications are the way forward.
What causes Diabetes?
To understand the exact cause of diabetes, it is crucial to understand the process of insulin. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas; insulin provides sugar to the cells in the body by breaking the glucose that is consumed in the form of food. When this insulin function is not happening correctly, an individual gets diagnosed with Diabetes.
Well, the exact reasons of what causes Type 1 diabetes is not known; however, it can be stated that when the human body is itself destroying the cells that produce insulin, thereby leaving the body with either low insulin or no insulin, then blood sugar level rises in the bloodstream and the person is said to have Type 1 Diabetes. It could be caused because of environmental factors or because of genetic structure.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin to break the glucose into the body and enter the cells. In this scenario, the blood sugar does not get absorbed in the body to provide energy. Instead, it spreads into the blood. The significant causes of type 2 diabetes are overweight, genetics, and environmental factor.
How to prevent Diabetes?
Currently, no specific method can be applied or practiced to prevent Type 1 Diabetes. On the contrary, multiple factors can influence the cause of Type 2 Diabetes, namely, unhealthy food consumption, less physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, genetic structure, and more.
As the studies conducted by the International Diabetes Federation, any transformation in the lifestyle such as eating a healthy and balanced diet, exercising three to five times a week, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, and sustaining the BMI can prevent diabetes.
When to see a doctor?
General Physician or Primary Care Physician is the first choice of people when symptoms of diabetes start showing up. GP will recommend some tests such as the A1C test, fasting blood sugar test, and random blood sugar test to assess the blood sugar levels in the human body over the last three months. General Physician can then refer you to Diabetologist or an endocrinologist, a physician who specializes in diabetes care.
General Physician, commonly known as or family doctor, is a trained doctor who provides all sorts of physical and medical treatments, excluding surgical therapies. General Physician is the first choice that comes to anybody’s mind when seeking treatment for healthcare concerns. They are trained in treating various diseases, including detection, prevention, and cure.
Endocrinologists can treat various diseases such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, hormone imbalance, and gynecomastia. They have specialties to treat glands and hormones.
Diabetologist is the type of doctor who has specialties in providing the treatment for Diabetes, including Diabetes Type 1, Diabetes Type 2, and Complications related to Diabetes. They provide treatment, usually in medications either orally or through Insulin injections.
How to treat Diabetes?
The doctor will recommend oral medicines or insulin based on the blood sugar level in the body. In cases of Type 1 Diabetes, insulin is the only way to treat patients. Four types of insulin are recommended:
- Rapid Insulin: It starts working within 15 minutes after being given, and its impact lasts for 3 to 4 hours
- Short Insulin: It starts to work within 30 minutes after being given, and its impact lasts for 6 to 8 hours
- Intermediate Insulin: It starts to work within 1 to 2 hours after being given, and its impact lasts for 12 to 18 hours
- Long Insulin: It starts to work a few hours later after being given, and its impact lasts for 24 hours or more than that
In the case of Type 2 Diabetes, doctors recommend oral medications such as Meglitinides, Sulfonylureas, and more which need to be consumed daily along with lifestyle changes. People with Type 2 Diabetes need to change their food consumption habits, increase physical activity, and participate in relaxing activities to relieve stress.
Women who develop diabetes during pregnancy are advised to monitor their sugar level several times a day and quit or reduce consumption of the same based on their test sugar level.
Once an individual gets diagnosed with diabetes, it becomes part of everyday life, however, it can be managed, and an individual can lead a healthy life. The critical thing to note about diabetes is that it can damage all body parts. Therefore, monitoring one’s blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol is crucial. Furthermore, it is also important to note that the ABCs- A for A1C Test, B for Blood Sugar, and C for Cholesterol.
Achieving the ABC goals can help manage diabetes better and lower the chances of heart attack, stroke, or other health problems. Taking a diet by keeping blood sugar levels into account is crucial such as fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains, chicken or turkey, fish, lean meats, cheese, and more, increasing intake of water and reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Furthermore, following the meal plan and actively participating in physical activity to reduce weight are ways to keep on track even with diabetes.