Diabetes is one of the most common diseases around the world. As of 2021, more than 537 million people around the world are diabetic and this number is expected to rise in coming years. When we eat food, our body breaks down the food into glucose which enters the blood where the cells of the body absorb this glucose to burn and release energy. Insulin is a type of hormone that regulates the amount of glucose to be absorbed and used. However, when insulin production is less, glucose levels may fluctuate and remain high.
Did you know?
- Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness around the world.
- People who have diabetes are twice as likely to die from stroke or heart disease.
- Half of people with diabetes are still undiagnosed.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes: It is a kind of autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks the cells produced in your pancreas where insulin is made. Due to this, your blood sugar levels get high.
- Type 2 diabetes: This is the most common type of diabetes and happens when your body becomes resistant to insulin. 95% of people with diabetes suffer from this type.
- Type 1.5 diabetes: When you are in your adulthood, you may get this type of diabetes which slowly becomes type 2 diabetes. It occurs due to an autoimmune disease and any changes in your diet or lifestyle may not help much.
- Gestational diabetes: When you get pregnant, too much blood sugar may get accumulated in your blood when your placenta produces insulin-blocking hormones.
Many people have diabetes and are not even aware of it. Prediabetes is a condition when your blood sugar gets high but not high enough to fall in the category of type 2 diabetes. This prediabetes may become type 2 diabetes if treatment is not provided on time.
Symptoms of diabetes
Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the type of diabetes they have and the severity of the condition. However, common symptoms include:
- Increased craving for food
- Increased thirst
- Sudden weight loss
- Urinating frequently
- Trouble seeing things clearly
- Chronic tiredness
- Slow healing of wounds
- Decreased interest in sex
- Erectile dysfunction
- Vaginal dryness
- Infections in the urinary tract
- Dry and itchy skin
Causes of diabetes
The cause of diabetes depends on its type:
Type 1: The reason for type 1 diabetes is still unknown. Here, the immune system of a person begins to attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 2: Factors such as your genetic makeup and lifestyle cause this type of diabetes. If you are obese, you are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 1.5: Here, your pancreas gets attacked by your own antibodies.
Gestational diabetes: When you are pregnant, your placenta may produce hormones that may block insulin production.
Effects of diabetes
High blood sugar levels may damage your organs and lead to:
- Heart diseases
- Foot damage
- Bacterial and fungal infections
Diagnosis of diabetes
A fasting blood glucose test is done where you don’t have to eat anything for at least 8 hours before the test. Also, a random blood glucose test is done anytime to check the sugar level in your blood.
Treatment of diabetes
Treatment begins by monitoring the blood sugar levels and if it’s high, oral medications are prescribed initially. Insulin may also be prescribed in case of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Your healthcare professional may also suggest changes in your diet and ask to participate in physical exercises.
Prevention of diabetes
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stay physically active
- Maintain proper weight
- Manage stress level
- Sleep for 8 hours daily
- Do not smoke
Can genetic diabetes be prevented?
Just because either of your parents has/had diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean that you will develop it no matter what. Your eating habits and lifestyle factors can help prevent or delay genetic diabetes to a great extent. There is no doubt that your genes play a huge role, but you can control the onset of diabetes and even prevent it altogether. Adopt the below-mentioned steps:
- Get a yearly test for diabetes
- Exercise regularly, no matter what
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid smoking
- Get vitamin D
- Avoid stress
- Monitor your blood pressure and keep it under control
This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.