What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of illnesses characterised by insulin resistance. The pancreas (an organ behind the stomach) normally produces insulin to assist your body in storing and utilising the sugar and fat from the food you consume. Diabetes develops when one of the following events occurs:
- When the pancreas fails to make insulin
- When the pancreas makes insufficient insulin
- Insulin resistance occurs when the body does not react properly to insulin.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that lasts a lifetime. Approximately 18.2 million Americans have the illness, with nearly one-third (or approximately 5.2 million) ignorant of their status. Pre-diabetes affects an extra 41 million individuals. There is currently no remedy. Diabetes patients must manage their condition to remain healthy.
Insulin’s Function in Diabetes
To comprehend why insulin is essential in diabetes, you should first understand how the body uses food for energy. Millions of cells make up your organism. These cells require very basic sustenance to produce energy. Much of your food is broken down into a basic sugar called “glucose” when you consume or drink. The glucose is then transported through the bloodstream to your body’s cells, where it can be used to provide some of the energy your body requires for everyday tasks.
The quantity of glucose in your bloodstream is closely controlled by the hormone insulin. The pancreas is constantly releasing tiny quantities of insulin. When the quantity of glucose in your blood reaches a certain threshold, the pancreas releases more insulin to drive more glucose into your cells. This reduces the amount of glucose in your circulation (blood glucose levels).
To prevent your blood glucose levels from falling too low (hypoglycemia or low blood sugar), your body tells you to consume and releases some glucose from the liver’s storage.
Diabetes occurs when the body’s cells are refractory to insulin, resulting in high amounts of sugar circulating in the blood, also known as elevated blood sugar. Diabetes is defined as a blood glucose measurement of 126 milligrammes per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher after an overnight fast (not eating anything).
84.1 million people in the United States have blood sugar levels that are higher than usual but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. Prediabetes, or reduced glucose tolerance, is the medical term for this condition. Prediabetes typically has no signs, but it is almost always present before a person gets type 2 diabetes. However, complications linked with diabetes, such as heart disease, can occur even if a person only has prediabetes.
Consult your doctor to determine whether you should be evaluated for hyperglycemia. You may be able to avoid type 2 diabetes and its consequences, such as heart disease.
Diabetes type 1
Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system destroys the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells (known as beta cells). People with type 1 diabetes generate no insulin and must use insulin shots to regulate their blood sugar.
Type 1 diabetes is most prevalent in individuals under the age of 20, but it can strike at any age.
Diabetes type 2
People with type 2 diabetes, as opposed to those with type 1 diabetes, generate insulin. However, the insulin secreted by their pancreas is either insufficient or the body is immune to it. Glucose cannot enter the body’s cells when there is insufficient insulin or when insulin is not used properly.
Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent type of diabetes, impacting nearly 18 million people in the United States. While the majority of these instances are preventable, it is still the top cause of diabetes-related complications in adults, including blindness, non-traumatic amputations, and chronic renal failure needing dialysis. Type 2 diabetes is more common in overweight individuals over the age of 40, but it can appear in people who are not overweight. Type 2 diabetes, also known as “adult-onset diabetes,” has become more common in children as a result of the increase in childhood weight.
Some individuals with type 2 diabetes can control their weight, eat a healthy diet, and exercise frequently. Others may need to take a tablet to help their bodies use insulin more effectively, or take insulin injections.
Doctors are frequently able to identify the likelihood of type 2 diabetes before the disease manifests itself. This condition, also known as pre-diabetes, happens when a person’s blood sugar levels are greater than usual but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Pregnancy causes gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, hormonal shifts can impair insulin’s ability to function correctly. Up to 9% of all babies have the disease.
Pregnant women who are over the age of 25, are overweight before pregnancy, have a family history of diabetes, or are Hispanic, black, Native American, or Asian have a higher chance of getting gestational diabetes.
During pregnancy, women are tested for gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes, if left unchecked, raises the chance of problems for both the woman and her unborn child.
Blood sugar levels usually revert to normal within six weeks of delivery. Women who have had gestational diabetes, on the other hand, are at a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes later in life.
What Kinds of Symptoms Do People With Diabetes Have?
Diabetes type 1 is characterised by symptoms that come on quickly and may be very severe. They are as follows:
- An increase in one’s thirst
- Greater need for food (especially after eating)
- The mouth is dry
- Frequent urination
- A decrease in weight for no apparent reason (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
- Fatigue (weak, fatigued feeling) (weak, tired feeling)
- A hazy vision
- A laboured and heavy attempt at breathing (Kussmaul respirations)
- A state of having lost awareness (rare)
People with type 2 diabetes may have the same symptoms as those described above. In the vast majority of cases, there are either no symptoms or the onset of the aforementioned symptoms occurs very gradually. Some possible symptoms include the following:
- Wounds or cuts that take a long time to heal
- Itching that occurs on the skin (usually in the vaginal or groyne area)
- Infections caused by yeast
- Recent packing on of the pounds
- Symptoms include tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Infertility or malfunction of the erection
There are often no symptoms associated with gestational diabetes. Alternatively, as you may have observed:
- Extra parchedness
- Increased urination
- More hunger
- The hazy vision
While pregnancy makes most women feel hungry and causes them to have to pee more often, these symptoms may not always indicate that someone has gestational diabetes. Nonetheless, it is critical that you undergo testing since having high blood sugar may lead to complications for both you and your unborn child.
How Is Diabetes Managed Medically?
Diabetes can be treated and controlled, but there is currently no cure for the disease. The management of diabetes should have the following objectives:
- You may get your blood sugar levels as close to normal as you can by striking a balance between the food you eat, the medicine you take, and the exercise you do.
- You may keep your blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (lipids) as close to normal as you possibly can by avoiding added sugars and processed carbohydrates and cutting down on saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Regulate your blood pressure. It is important to keep your blood pressure under 130 over 80.
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes-related health complications, and maybe even stop their progression.
You have the secret to successfully controlling your diabetes by doing the following:
- Making a plan for what you’re going to eat and sticking to it may help you lose weight.
- Exercising consistently
- Taking one’s medication, if one has been given it, and paying great attention to the instructions for how and when to take it
- At home, you should keep an eye on both your blood sugar and your blood pressure.
Ensuring that you keep your appointments with your health care providers and undergo laboratory tests as directed by your physician Keep in mind that the things you do at home daily have a greater impact on your blood sugar levels than what your doctor can assess during your checkups every few months.