Diabetes involves a number of problems with insulin in our bodies. Under normal conditions, the pancreas produces insulin to help the body in the use and storage of fat and sugar from the meals we take. However, when one has diabetes, the body doesn’t react suitably to insulin or produces a less or no insulin.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic type. This condition is usually lifelong affecting the ability of the body to use energy from food. The three major types of this conditions are: type 1 diabetes, types 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent diabetes)
This type begins from infancy. This condition is caused when a person’s own antibodies attack the pancreas. It is, therefore, an autoimmune disorder. Due to damage, the pancreas ceases to produce insulin for the body. This type occurs mainly in genetically predisposed individuals. It can however also be an outcome of defective insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Many medical risks are linked to type one diabetes. This even includes an increase in the risk of strokes and heart conditions. Treatment of type 1 usually includes taking of insulin, usually through injections into the faulty tissue.
Types 2 diabetes (noninsulin dependent diabetes)
This is a progressive type of diabetes. In this case, the body usually produces insulin. However, the production is usually either inadequate for the body or cells are not sensitive to it. Hence, the pancreas produces more insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes: occurring in about 95% of the reported cases of diabetes. It is usually associated with lifestyle hence more common in obese and overweight people. It is usually mild as compared to type 1. However, it still causes considerable medical issues, especially to the smallest blood vessel that supply organs like eyes, kidneys, and nerves with blood. It also associated with a higher risk of heart conditions and strokes. Although there is no cure for diabetes, type 2 can be controlled by nutrition, exercise, and weight management.
This is usually elicited by pregnancy as pregnancy causes some degree of resistance to insulin. In most of the cases, it is identified towards the late or mid-pregnancy. This is because, at these times, high amounts of sugar in an expectant mother flows to the developing baby through the placenta. Research show that this type usually fades away after pregnancy. However, to protect the baby’s development this type must be contained. Risks to the baby include breathing complications at birth, risks of diabetes in later life, obesity and unusual weight gain before birth. This poses a risk of caesarean section and damage to the heart, eyes, and kidneys for the mother. Also, gestational diabetes predisposes mothers to the development of type 2 diabetes. It can develop at any time after delivery, even up to several years after delivery.
Symptom of diabetes
Fatigue and hunger: food is converted to glucose in the body to be used by the cell to produce energy. Lack or insufficient insulin means less glucose and hence no energy. Making you tired and hungry often.
Frequent urination and thirst: averagely, normal people urinate 4-6 times a day. Diabetics have higher sugar levels, which the body might be unable to bring to a normal level. So, in a bid to get rid of it, extra urine is made. This makes you take more liquids to recover that lost by urination. Hence feeling thirstier.
Itchy skin and dry mouth: since most of the liquids you take are used by the body to make more urine, you get dehydrated and your mouth dries up. Also, less skin moisture causes an itch.
Blurred vision: varying liquid levels causing swelling of the eyes. The shape change causes a reduction in eyes ability to focus clearly.
Yeast infections: This affects both men and ladies. Yeast grows under favorable conditions in most skin folding, including: between toes and fingers, in or around genitals and beneath breasts.
Slow-healing sores or cuts: High sugar levels damage nerves and affects blood flow, making it harder for the healing of wounds.
Pain in feet or legs: Results from the damage to nerves.
Other symptoms for Type 1
The unplanned loss of weight: Due to less energy, your body starts using up fat and muscle for energy. This results in loss of weight.
Nausea and vomiting: Ketones are produced as a result of your body burning fat making you feel sick in your tummy.
Risk factors for diabetes
Family History and genetic predisposition. Get checked if you have a relative with diabetes.
Diseases of the pancreas slowing production of insulin
Infections that damage your pancreas
Obesity and excessive weight. This can occur in obese adults or even teenagers.
Reduced glucose tolerance: a milder condition of diabetes is referred to as prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with it, chances of developing type 2 are high.
Insulin resistance: this is usually the onset of type 2 diabetes as explained in previous sections.
Ethnic or family background: Hispanic/Latino, African-Americans, Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, Alaska natives and Pacific Islanders are more prone to diabetes
This type of diabetes associated with pregnancy increases the risk of a woman developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Living a sedentary lifestyle: An inactive lifestyle with exercise less than thrice a week.
Women with polycystic Ovary Syndrome have a higher risk of diabetes.
Age: people older than 45 years that are obese or overweight have a high risk of developing diabetes
Treatment and Control of Diabetes
Diabetes treatment requires a careful tracking of the level of sugars in one’s blood and a combination of exercise, medication, diet and lifestyle changes.
Medication for diabetes
When one develops type 1 diabetes, they will require insulin injections or a continuous pump. The insulin taken with a combination of proper exercise, better diet, and healthy lifestyle changes work great for type 1. However, for type 2 diabetes, another medication is used in conjunction with insulin. They include:
Drugs to increase production of insulin in the pancreas or its blood levels such as chloropropamide and linagliptin.
Drugs to decrease absorption of sugar into the body including acarbose.
Drugs to improve the use of insulin in the body such as rosiglitazone.
Drugs to lower production of sugar in the liver such as metformin.
Drugs to prevent reabsorption of glucose in the kidney and thus increase excretions of glucose through urine known as sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.
Pramlintide (Symlin) is a synthetic hormone injected into the body to help lower sugar levels in the blood for patients using insulin.
Nutrition and timing of meals
Ensure you eat a well-balanced diet. Take at least 3 small meals and 3-4 snacks to maintain a proper balance of insulin and sugar in the body.
Exercise for Diabetes
Proper exercise is paramount for the treatment of diabetes. You are advised to have at least 2 ½ hours of weekly exercise of moderate intensity such as walking. However, keep track of your sugar levels as you exercise.
Wear a bracelet or tag that indicates you have diabetes to help other be aware should you suddenly have a hypoglycemic attack
Take proper care of your teeth by flossing.