Symptoms and Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disorder that results in an elevated level of blood sugar.

To understand diabetes, we need first to understand the metabolism of carbohydrate in the body. Carbohydrates that we eat gets broken down into sugar known as glucose inside the body. Glucose is released into the bloodstream. Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas (The pancreas is the gland that is situated below and behind the stomach) and is responsible for moving the sugar from the blood into the cells where sugar is stored or is used to produce energy. Thus, insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your blood. As the level of blood sugar drops, the secretion of insulin from the pancreas drops too.

However, with diabetes, the body either is unable to make enough insulin or is unable to use insulin effectively. 

Diabetes mellitus if left untreated eventually damages the kidneys, eyes, nerves and other organs and can be serious and life threatening. There is no cure for diabetes, but you can still can live a healthy and long life by bringing changes in your lifestyle and with appropriate treatment.

The treatment of diabetes depends upon its cause and its type.

Type of Diabetes

The two primary types of diabetes include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes – Type 1 diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produces insulin. The pancreas makes little or no insulin. Thus, the sugar cannot reach the cells to be used to produce energy.

10% of people who have diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common diabetes in people under the age of 30. However, it may occur at any age.

Type 2 diabetes– It is the most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin but is unable to use it properly. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin that leads to the build-up of sugar in your blood. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any age. However, it is common in middle-aged and older people.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes. It is common in young people who are obese or overweight. About 90% of diabetic patients have type-2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are chronic conditions. Reversible diabetes condition is termed as prediabetes.

Prediabetes – Prediabetes is defined as reversible diabetes. Here the level of blood sugar is higher than the normal, but it is not enough to be termed as diabetes.

The normal blood glucose level is between 70 and 99mg/dL. Those with diabetes have a fasting blood sugar level higher than 126 mg/dL. Individuals who are referred to have borderline diabetes or prediabetes usually have blood sugar range of 100 to 125 milligrams per deciliter.  People with prediabetes are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes that affects females during pregnancy. 

Gestational diabetes – It is common for pregnancy to cause some form of insulin resistance. However, some pregnant females become less sensitive to insulin. It is essential to control gestational diabetes as the blood sugar travels through the placenta to the baby and affects the growth and development of the baby.

In most of the cases, gestational diabetes goes after the birth of a baby but about 10% of females suffering from gestational diabetes are at the risk of developing type-2 diabetes after weeks or even years later.

Other less common types of diabetes are cystic fibrosis-related diabetes and monogenic diabetes.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes

No matter what type of diabetes the patient is suffering from it leads to high blood sugar. The symptoms of diabetes depend on the elevated level of blood sugar.

The common symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Slow healing of the sores
  • Recurrent vaginal, skin or gum infections.
  • Presence of ketone bodies in the urine.

People with prediabetes and in some cases, type 2 diabetes, may not experience any symptoms initially.

Symptom in type 2 diabetes tends to be more severe and comes on quickly.

If you notice possible symptoms of diabetes in yourself, any of the family member or your child contact your doctor so that the diagnosis can be made earlier and treatment can begin soon.

What Causes Diabetes

What Causes Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

In prediabetes and type-2 diabetes, the cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and pancreas are unable to make enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance. Thus, sugar instead of moving into the cells is a build-up in the bloodstream.

The exact reason why this happens is unknown. However, the environmental factors, unhealthy lifestyle and genetics may play a role.

Studies show that being overweight is linked strongly to development type-2 diabetes. However, his does not mean that every person who has type-2 diabetes are overweight.

Causes of type-1 diabetes

The cause of type-1 diabetes is not known. It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system starts attacking the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the body with little or no insulin. It is believed to be caused to due to the combination of the genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. Weight is not at all considered related to the case of type-1 diabetes.

What Causes Gestational Diabetes

During the pregnancy, certain hormones are produced to sustain the pregnancy. These hormones make the cells resistant to insulin. Our pancreas produces extra insulin in order to overcome this resistance. However, in some cases pancreas is unable to keep up the extra insulin. As a result, little glucose gets into the cell and much of the glucose stays in the blood resulting into gestational diabetes.

Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes is a severe disease. Treatment of diabetes requires close watch over the level of blood sugar along with medication proper diet plan and exercise. To find out the appropriate diabetes treatment, consult health care professionals of a diabetes treatment team that includes diabetes specialist, an eye doctor, foot doctor and a nutritionist.

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