WHAT IS DIABETES
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.
Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that acts as a key to let glucose (sugar) from the food we eat pass from the bloodstream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells.
Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycemia).
TYPES OF DIABETES
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Around 10% of all people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body’s defense system attacks the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the body produces very little or no insulin. The exact causes of this are not yet known but are linked to a combination of genetic and environmental conditions.
Type 1 diabetes can affect people at any age but usually develops in children or young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need daily injections of insulin to control their blood glucose levels. If people with type 1 diabetes do not have access to insulin, they will die.
The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being researched. However, having a family member with type 1 diabetes slightly increases the risk of developing the disease. Environmental factors and exposure to some viral infections have also been linked to the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
TYPE 2 DIABETES– is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all diabetes cases.
It is generally characterized by insulin resistance, where the body does not fully respond to insulin. Because insulin cannot work properly, blood glucose or sugar levels keep rising, releasing more insulin. For some people with type 2 diabetes, this can eventually exhaust the pancreas, resulting in the body producing less and less insulin, causing even higher blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
Type 2 diabetes is mostly diagnosed in older adults, but is increasingly seen in children, adolescents, and younger adults due to rising levels of obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet.
The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management is a healthy diet, increased physical activity, and maintaining healthy body weight. Oral medication and insulin are also frequently prescribed to help control blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy (gestation). Like other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects how your cells use sugar (glucose). Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health.
While any pregnancy complication is concerning, there’s good news. During pregnancy you can help control gestational diabetes by eating healthy foods, exercising, and, if necessary, taking medication. Controlling blood sugar can keep you and your baby healthy and prevent a difficult delivery.
If you have gestational diabetes during pregnancy, generally your blood sugar returns to its usual level soon after delivery. But if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes. You’ll need to be tested for changes in blood sugar more often.
Diabetes symptoms are caused by rising blood sugar.
The general symptoms of diabetes include:
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Blurry vision
- Extreme fatigue
- Sores that do not heal
Symptoms in men
In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and poor muscle strength.
Symptoms in women
Women with diabetes can also have symptoms such as urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin.