Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
Diabetes is a disease that causes blood sugar or blood glucose to rise more than normal. In the normal body function, glucose or sugar is drawn from the food you eat, via the blood, and transferred to the cells where it’s used as a source of energy with the help of insulin. But with diabetes, insulin is lacking, isn’t enough, or is present but not effective, leading to high contents of glucose in the blood. Let us find out more about diabetes and its causes.
What are the Types of Diabetes
There are different types of diabetes that can affect someone. While some diabetes types result from a person being inactive and overweight, others occur in infancy. Here are the few types you should know:
Type 1 Diabetes – This diabetes type occurs when the pancreas (an organ that produces insulin) ceases to produce it. Often it’s because the immune system has destroyed the cells responsible for this action.
Type 2 Diabetes – This diabetes type occurs when the body stops responding to insulin as it should. Doing this lets glucose to build up in the blood, commonly found in overweight and obese individuals. Having an age above 45 years and diabetes running through the family are also other causes of this chronic disease.
Gestational diabetes: This diabetes happens in expectant women due to placenta produced hormones blockages caused by insulin.
Prediabetes: This diabetes involves a rise in blood glucose, but not bad enough to the level of Type 2 diabetes. But if left untreated, this diabetes type can easily develop to Type 2 diabetes.
What are the Early Signs of Diabetes?
The types of diabetes above come with varied signs. But some signs are common in all of them. Some of the diabetes symptoms include:
- Feeling hungry than normal
- Feeling thirsty than normal
- Urinating frequently
- Having a blurry vision
- Developing hard to heal sores on the body
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without planning for it
- Feeling tingliness and numbness in the limbs
Men with diabetes will also experience erectile dysfunction, lack of strength in the muscles, and a low sex drive.
On the other hand, signs of diabetes in women are dry and itchy skin, yeast infections, plus infections in the urinary tract.
What Causes Diabetes?
Different diabetes types have their own causes.
Type 1 Diabetes:
This type of diabetes results from the immune system attacking and destroying cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. The cause of this attack is unknown, medical experts believe it’s caused by viruses or genes.
The pancreas, like any other body organ, can fail or damage on its own. Some conditions like pancreatic cancer will lead to the removal of this organ as well. Type 1 diabetes will occur in a person without the pancreas as well as in someone with damaged pancreatic cells.
Type 2 Diabetes:
Most people that suffer from diabetes have type 2 diabetes. It runs through the genes of families with some ethnic or racial groups prone to developing it than others. Apart from hereditary reasons, this type of diabetes also results from one’s lifestyle. When you don’t make your body active, you become obese, or overweight, you are susceptible to diabetes type 2.
A person that has more weight than necessary often develops resistance to insulin, thus developing type 2 diabetes. The distribution of the fat in your body also matters – belly fats cause resistance to insulin as well as blood vessel clogging.
Another cause of this diabetes is taking particular types of drugs. Medicines like anti-seizure drugs, psychiatric drugs, niacin, glucocorticoids could expose you to diabetes. It’s good to talk to your doctor about the effects you might get from these types of medicine to get proper advice on alternatives or the levels of risks and benefits to expect.
When a woman becomes pregnant, there are a lot of hormonal changes that happen in their body. Researchers agree that when the placenta produces hormones, these hormones reduce the sensitivity of the cells to insulin. As a result, glucose levels rise in the blood. Keeping your sugar balance is very important as a diabetic.
Also, most women become less active during pregnancy, which leads to an increase in weight. As a result, this exposes you to gestational diabetes.
What is the Best Treatment for Diabetes?
Different diabetes types have different ways to manage and treat. So, there is no “best way to treat diabetes”. Here are ways to go about managing and treating diabetes.
For diabetes type 1, one needs to take insulin every day to survive. Some people with type 2 diabetes also fall into this category. All you need to do is inhale or get an injection of insulin in your bloodstream. It entails you checking your blood sugar levels using a glucometer periodically, which helps determine how much insulin you inhale or inject.
The insulin injections and inhalations come in varieties depending on how long they last. From long-acting, rapid, intermediate, to regular, one can administer one or a combination of the types to achieve the effect they want. But it’s important to be cautious to avoid the side effects of excess insulin use, which can dangerously lower glucose levels in the blood – a condition known as hypoglycemia.
Using Lifestyle Change
Most people with type 2 diabetes can reverse their condition by just changing their lifestyle. That should involve regular exercise and using a diabetes treatment diet. A medical expert for diabetes will often recommend the help of a nutritionist and insist on living an active lifestyle to manage the condition. Some of the lifestyle changes you need to make include:
- Eating nutritious meals and a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fat, whole grains, low dairy fat, and more.
- Avoiding alcohol consumption completely or take it in moderation.
- Refraining from eating foods with high sugars, high fat, and calorie content, plus any other foodstuff that does not add any nutritional value to your body.
- Exercising five days per week for 30 minutes in every session. Try exercising using different activities like riding, swimming, walking, running, and any other activity that will involve your body moving.
- Identifying the signs of low glucose in blood during physical activity and respond accordingly. Check out for conditions like confusion, profuse sweating, dizziness, among others.
The women suffering from gestational diabetes can also follow the healthy living guide above to manage their gestational diabetes. Often, this condition goes away when you give birth.
Other than insulin, there are other medications you can use when diabetic. Metformin is a great example that helps make insulin effective as well as lower glucose levels. If you ask a doctor for diabetes medicine they will prescribe drugs that suit your situation.
Now that you understand what diabetes is you should know that it can result in other medical conditions like heart diseases, foot problems, nerve damage, dental, and eye problems. These diseases are serious and could be fatal. However, you can prevent or manage diabetes risks with medication or change of lifestyle. If you suspect that you have this chronic disease, look for help from your physician.