Diabetes Description, Causes, Types, Symptoms, Health impacts, possible Side Effects, Related Diseases, Complications, Treatment, Lifestyle tips and FAQ
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a commonly heard disease nowadays; mostly results from an unhealthy lifestyle. It is a physical condition that occurs when blood sugar level in the body increases to the extreme.
Blood sugar is the main source of energy in the body which is derived from the food we consume. Insulin- a hormone produced by the pancreas helps glucose to enter body cells and provide energy.
Health Impacts of Diabetes
Sometimes the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to process the produced insulin. In such cases, the glucose emitted from the food remains in the blood, unable to enter the cells.
Over time, excessive presence of glucose in the blood can cause many health problems. Although there is no cure for diabetes, the patient can lead a healthy life by taking control over their blood sugar levels.
The following parts of the article lead you to the possible impacts on your health if you get diabetes along with the helpful lifestyle tips and other related information.
Types of Diabetes
Three types of diabetes are usually seen. They are–
- Type-1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in the body that its own immune system attacks and destroys the pancreas cells that produce insulin. These naturally produced insulin cells in the body play a major role in balancing blood sugar levels. These cells help the body absorb and use energy from food. This type is hereditary. It is called autoimmune diabetes. It can usually cause symptoms to float in childhood or in adulthood.
- Type-2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a physical condition in which our pancreas cells do not produce enough insulin or the insulin produced cannot be used well by the body. This type of diabetes can be developed by people at any age, even in childhood. This type of diabetes is usually seen in middle-aged and elderly people. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type.
- Gestational Diabetes
Some women develop diabetes while pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after delivery. However, women suffering from pregnancy diabetes can develop type 2 diabetes later in life. It is more likely. Diabetes sometimes detected during pregnancy can actually be Type-2 diabetes.
In addition to these, there is a rare type of diabetes:
- Monogenic Diabetes
Monogenic diabetes is a rare physical condition caused by a single gene mutation. Monogenic diabetes is seen in different forms and often affects young people, mostly aged 25 and under. Rarely, the problem is severe insulin resistance, a condition where the body cannot use insulin properly. Monogenic diabetes is often seen moving hereditary.
- Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes (CRFD)
Some characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are found in CFRD. In people with CF (Cystic Fibrosis), the dark, adhesive mucus characterized by the disease causes pancreatic injury. This injury prevents the pancreas from producing normal amounts of insulin. Therefore, people with type 1 diabetes lack insulin in their body. Although their pancreas produces some insulin, this amount is not enough to stay healthy and maintain good nutrition.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The commonly appearing symptoms of diabetes are as mentioned below :
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Stiffness or tingling sensation in the legs or hands
- Slow wound healing
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may be noticeable early, within a few weeks. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly (taking a period of several years) and can be so mild that patients usually ignore them. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not show any symptoms. Some people cannot recognize their health problems (such as blurred vision or heart problems) as the symptoms of diabetes.
Causes of Diabetes
The factors contributing to the development of diabetes varies according to its types –
- Type-1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. According to scientists, type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and environmental factors (such as viruses) that can trigger the disease. No specific cause of this diabetes has been found till date.
- Type 2 Diabetes
There are many reasons for developing type-2 diabetes. Some of these common reasons are as mentioned below:
- Excessive weight, obesity and physical inactivity- Physically inactive and overweight or obese people are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes. Excess weight sometimes prevents insulin and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The position of the body where fat accumulates also makes a difference. Excess fat in the stomach can prevent insulin which can cause type 2 diabetes, heart and blood vessel related diseases.
- Insulin Resistance- Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition where muscle, liver and fat cells do not use insulin properly. As a result, the body needs more insulin to make it easier to enter glucose into cells. Initially the pancreas tries to meet this growing demand but later the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin and the blood sugar level increases.
- Gene and hereditary causes- Like type 1 diabetes, some genes are also more likely to cause type-2 diabetes. The disease is carried in the family hereditary and is more frequent in these ethnic/ethnic groups, such as African Americans, Alaska natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, local Hawaiians, Pacific Islands, etc. genes that increase a person’s tendency to weigh or become obese can increase the risk of Type-2 diabetes.
- Gestational Diabetes
According to experts, this type of diabetes develops due to hormonal changes in pregnancy as well as genetic and lifestyle factors. The reasons for the development of gestational diabetes are as mentioned below:
- Hormones produced by placenta contribute to insulin resistance, which occurs in all women at the last phase of pregnancy. Most pregnant women can produce enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but some can’t. Pregnancy diabetes occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin.
- Gestational diabetes can also develop as a result of obesity in pregnancy. The body of obese women cannot produce enough insulin especially during pregnancy.
- This type of diabetes can occur during pregnancy if the family carries the history of this physical condition.
Effects on Health
Diabetes has many harmful impacts in the human body which can make lifestyle difficult. They are as mentioned below:
- Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA):
It is a complication caused by uncontrolled diabetes in the body. In this condition, ‘Ketones’ accumulates in the blood. ‘Ketones’ is the waste that remains after the body breaks the fat. This ketoacidosis develops in response to its inability to use glucose stored in the bloodstream. Cells are unable to convert glucose into energy without insulin or if the body is too resistant to insulin.
DKA is a deadly physical condition. The symptoms are –
- Fruity smelly breath
- Nausea and vomiting
- Short breath
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar:
Another complication of uncontrolled diabetes is- ‘hyperglycemic hyperosmolar Syndrome’. This complication occurs when blood sugar levels are very high. Without treatment, diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome can be life-threatening and can lead to severe dehydration and possibly coma. This symptom is quite rare and usually occurs in adults with type-2 diabetes. This problem is more likely to occur when people are sick and face difficulty hydrating themselves regularly. Generally, diseases that co-arise like infection or stroke cause hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome in diabetes.
Long term Hyperglycemia can cause the following complication:
- Blood vessel damage that increases the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Nerve damage
- Kidney damage or failure
- Retinal blood vessel damage which is likely to cause vision loss or blindness
- Blurred eye lenses or cataracts
- Foot problems that can lead to serious infections
- Bone and joint problems
- Skin problems, including infections and unhealed lesions
- Teeth and gum infections etc.
Lifestyle with Diabetes to minimize its Impacts
It is more logical to call diabetes a physical condition rather than calling it a disease. It is a body condition that makes our body sensitive to other diseases. Therefore, keeping blood sugar level under control can make life easier with diabetes. Below are some of the natural ways-
- Stay Active- Daily exercise or continued physical activity can help to keep blood sugar levels in control. But note that a steady exercise is more effective in lowering blood sugar than intense physical effort straining too hard.
- Take medicines- People with diabetes should always take medicines and follow doctor’s instructions properly.
- Eat nutritious food – Follow a nutritious diet in consultation with doctors or dieticians.
- Reduce stress- Stress has visible impacts on diabetes by plays an important role in mis balancing the blood sugar levels. So keep always try to keep stress at bay. Doing so will have a positive effect on your diabetic physical condition.
Also Read: Immune System of Human Body
The above article lets you know how you can determine a healthy lifestyle with diabetes minimizing its damaging impacts. Remember, the information provided above is based on trusted sources and only for knowledge purposes. Please consult a specialist for more details and proper treatment.
Also Read: Lifestyle with Diabetes (Assamese)
1) Is it safe to eat sugar free products/food?
A. Sugar free food can be part of a healthy diet plan if consumed in small quantities. Remember that some of these foods still contain carbohydrates (other sweetening ingredients such as fats, ice malts, and manitols) and can affect your blood sugar levels. Many sugar-free foods contain calories and carbohydrates and plenty of fat. So check the ingredients contained before consuming any packaged food.
2) Is it a matter of concern that my blood sugar is 120 or 200?
A. It is very important to keep blood sugar levels under control as high blood sugar levels can cause vein and arterial damage. This damage can lead to other complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, neuropathy, vision problems, etc.
3) What is a nutritious diet for diabetics?
A. Anything you want you can eat, but it is important to know the exact amount of it. A dietician will help you to find out which food is not harmful for you. A dietician will teach you to count carbohydrates and make specific meal plans for yourself.
4) Is it better to eat foods that are low in carbohydrates frequently?
A. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet. With diabetes, it is beneficial to determine the size of the food portion and get most of the required carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk and yogurt. In addition to calculating carbs, people with diabetes can also benefit from low fat, high fiber foods and just enough calories to maintain healthy weight.
5) What is the right blood sugar level?
A. The American Diabetes Association recommends blood sugar range strains of 80-130 before meals and less than 180 after 2 hours of meals. Your A1C should range below 7.