Diabetes is the most common disease in the world. It has many types and causes. A person with diabetes can get it easily if they are overweight, eats junk food, do not work out regularly, or do not follow a healthy lifestyle. If your parents have diabetes, you have a high chance of getting this disease too! Diabetes can also be hereditary.
Diabetes is when the body is unable to produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a secretion that helps your body turn sugar (glucose) into energy. Suffering from diabetes means your body can’t make enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin as they should, causing glucose levels in the blood to rise instead of being converted into energy that your cells need.
Diabetes may result in serious health problems over time without proper treatment and care. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes (which includes both pre-diabetes and gestational).
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops making insulin altogether—you either were born with this form of the disease, or you may develop it later in life because of an autoimmune disorder.
Type 2 diabetes develops when your body resists its available insulin—this form accounts for 90-95% of all cases worldwide. Gestational diabetes develops only during pregnancy; however, if untreated, it may carry over into the postpartum period after childbirth.
Preventing complications from developing depends on managing blood glucose levels through lifestyle changes and medications such as oral agents or injectable medications like GLP-1 agonists.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), results from the body’s failure to produce enough insulin.
In type 1, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood and overflows into the urine.
This excess glucose can cause life-threatening complications: if someone with diabetes has an infection, their blood sugar levels may drop too low to fight it off.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells become insensitive to insulin or when there isn’t enough insulin being produced by the pancreas to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
With type 2 diabetes, either some of your body’s tissues do not respond properly (insulin resistance) or your pancreas does not make enough of this hormone (a condition called pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction).
In the end, glucose builds up in your bloodstream instead of getting absorbed into other parts of your body, which is used as fuel for all types of activity—including thinking and physical activity.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy only and usually goes away after delivery; however, having gestational diabetes increases the risk that you’ll develop type 2 later on in life.
Pre-diabetes refers to any condition where there are early warning signs that you will develop type 2 within ten years if lifestyle changes aren’t made
Causes For Diabetes
Diabetes, which can affect your body in several ways, results from your inability to produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that manages how much glucose enters your cells to give them energy. If you have diabetes, too much sugar builds up in your blood, or not enough gets into your cells because they’re resistant to insulin.
Several factors can cause the condition:
If you have a family history of diabetes and are overweight or obese, there’s an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Genes may also play a role in developing gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
It occurs when excess fat accumulates around the waistline, making it difficult for people to lose weight through dieting and exercise alone because their bodies store more unused calories as fat than leaner individuals do under similar circumstances.
Over time this leads to insulin resistance (when higher levels of circulating glucose trigger excessive production of insulin), which often progresses into full-blown type 2 diabetes if left untreated over long periods—especially if obesity continues unchecked despite lifestyle changes like dieting and exercising regularly together with standard medical care options like medications given periodically throughout each day).
How Can We Prevent Diabetes?
You may prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by losing weight, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Avoid obesity. Losing weight is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing as little as 5-10 percent of your body weight can improve your health.
- Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet helps maintain glucose levels and keeps insulin in check—which is both important steps toward lowering your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan to help manage blood sugar and lower systolic blood pressure (the top number).
The DASH eating plan includes the following foods: Lean meats, fish, and poultry, Whole grains (like brown rice and whole wheat bread), Low-fat dairy products, Nuts and seeds, and Fruit Vegetables.
To be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you must have a blood glucose level of at least 126 mg/dL and symptoms of hyperglycemia (blood sugar higher than normal). You must also be younger than 30 years old.
If your doctor suspects type 2 diabetes, they will measure your:
A test the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is the gold standard for diagnosing this type of diabetes. It involves drinking a sweetened liquid and having more blood drawn several hours later to measure how much sugar remains in your bloodstream. Other tests can also help diagnose type 2 diabetes:
How can diabetes be treated?
Diabetes treatment can include:
- insulin injections and other medicines to help your body use sugar (glucose) effectively
- healthy eating and regular exercise
- Weight management if you are overweight or obese
Insulin is a hormone that lowers blood sugar levels by facilitating the absorption of glucose into cells. The pancreas produces insulin secreted by beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans.
Insulin enters the bloodstream and travels to the liver, muscle tissue, and fat cells for storage or use. Ingesting carbohydrates activates your body’s “sugar response system.”
Your pancreas releases more insulin into your bloodstream for about an hour after eating a high-carbohydrate meal. Levels drop as your glycogen stores are replenished over time (with exercise).
Insulin can also be taken orally via an oral medication such as metformin or sitagliptin—both of which help lower blood sugar levels—or inhaled through an inhaler device called Afrezza®, which delivers rapid-acting insulin directly into your lungs through tiny doses of powder that dissolve on contact with moisture from saliva in your mouth.
Diabetic patients do not produce enough insulin or cannot use it effectively because their bodies are resistant to its effects. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate glucose levels in the blood. Insulin also works by allowing glucose to enter cells, converted into energy used throughout the body. This can lead to high blood glucose levels, which increase the risk for complications such as heart disease and stroke.
Medications are the common way to treat diabetes. They can help control blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and help you lose weight.
- Insulin is a secretion that helps your body use sugar in food for energy. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas cannot make insulin because their bodies don’t produce it naturally anymore. People with type 2 diabetes often take insulin and other drugs to control their blood sugar levels better than diet alone.
- Oral medications are pills that lower high blood sugar levels by helping the body make or use more insulin on its own — or by helping keep glucose from entering cells, so there’s less for them to burn for energy;
- metformin (Glucophage)
- sulfonylureas such as glipizide (Glucotrol) or glyburide (Micronase)
- biguanides such as metformin
- thiazolidinediones such as rosiglitazone (Avandia) or pioglitazone (Actos),
- DPP-4 inhibitors like sitagliptin.
Therapies for diabetes can be divided into two categories:
This is the first line of defense against diabetes. It involves teaching patients about healthy eating habits, exercise, and other lifestyle changes that can minimize the effects of diabetes.
Therapies are suggested to the patient after they have exhausted all options in managing their diabetes, including diet and exercise; these include medications and insulin therapy (see below).
Other Factors In Treating Diabetes
If you have diabetes, the following are additional ways to manage your symptoms and prevent complications:
The American Diabetes Association recommends eating a healthy diet based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid and exercising regularly to help control your blood sugar levels.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing just 5% of your body weight can reduce some of the effects of diabetes, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance (when cells don’t respond well to insulin). Losing weight might also help lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
People with diabetes should take special care of their feet at home by wearing good shoes that fit properly and checking them daily for cuts or sores that may require medical attention; see a podiatrist if necessary; cleanse calluses regularly with a pumice stone or corn pad; soak feet in warm water twice weekly (not hot) followed by application of moisturizer; avoid tight socks made from synthetic materials. Wear comfortable cotton socks.
Diabetes is a serious disease, and it’s important to do whatever you can to manage it effectively. Setting small, realistic goals can help motivate you to make positive changes in your lifestyle.
Try setting these goals.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that can be supervised with the right help. It’s important to know your options and share them with your doctor, who will help you choose the best treatment plan for your needs.