Did you know? Nearly 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, hence among the leading causes of death globally. To be specific, the prevalence of diabetes is rapidly growing in low and middle-income countries. Even worse, more people are unaware they already have or are at high risk of getting pre-diabetes or advancing to Type 2 diabetes.
But what exactly is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease occurring due to extremely high blood glucose or blood sugar in another term. Blood sugar is your primary source of energy coming from the consumed food. Conversely, a hormone from the pancreas called insulin allows the glucose from food into your cells for energy purposes. Therefore, there are times when the body doesn’t produce enough or use insulin well. When this happens, glucose remains in the blood and fails to reach the cells hence developing diabetes.
Consequently, diabetes comes in various types hence different symptoms. Still, you can check for the leading online resource for information about diabetes.
Different Types of Diabetes
There are three popular types of diabetes, type 1, 2 and gestational diabetes.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body fails to make any insulin. This is because your immune system destroys all the insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Therefore, people with this type of diabetes survive with a dose of insulin daily to stay alive.
Even though type 1 diabetes can come at any age, it is common among young adults and children. But, it is possible to manage type 1 diabetes with medication, diet and exercise.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
This is the most popular type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either does not make enough or uses insulin well. It usually develops slowly from a young age, but it is common among middle-aged adults.
Approximately 89 % of people with type 2 diabetes have a body index that considers them obese or overweight. However, more factors can bring about type 2 diabetes, such as diabetes, a trace of gestational diabetes, reduced glucose metabolism, older age and physical dormancy.
Like type 1diabetes, you can control type 2 diabetes by healthy eating and exercise and medication and insulin.
When it comes to a proper and healthy diet, you should eat something sustainable to ensure you are happy and full. You can always get helpful tips and diets to ensure you work with something that suits your lifestyle.
As for fitness, move! No matter how fit you think you are, ensure you engage in a bit of activity daily and be in control of your life.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
It is common to develop in most women during pregnancy. In pregnancy, some hormones cause insulin resistance, a condition whereby these hormones block the process of the mother’s insulin to her body. When insulin resistance occurs, it is hard for her body to use insulin hence causing gestational diabetes.
Usually, gestational diabetes goes away after birth, but most mothers are at a high risk of advancing to type 2 diabetes in future. While it is very much treatable, it would be best to seek medical attention promptly as it is likely to hurt the mother and baby.
What Is Pre-Diabetes?
With pre-diabetes, there are no clear or defined symptoms. This means that you may even have had it without knowing. However, for people to develop type 2 diabetes, the chances of initially having pre-diabetes are high. Usually, they must have experienced higher than regular blog sugar but not so high to join the diagnostic of diabetes. Besides, you may have some other symptoms and complications of diabetes.
To be safe and sure of your condition, always check with your doctor. Also, remember that having pre-diabetes does not mean you must develop type 2 diabetes. With proper treatment, diet and exercise, you are on the right track to overcoming this disease completely.
Other Types of Diabetes
Apart from the three common types of diabetes, type 1, 2 and gestational, some people develop unique diabetes from other causes. For example;
- Monogenic diabetes syndromes like the maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY) and neonatal diabetes
- Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes
- Chemical or drug-induced diabetes like the use of glucocorticoid in the treatment of HIV/AIDS or after significant organ transplant
Who Is At Risk Of Getting Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes will only occur under the following circumstances;
- An overweight/obese person, extreme weight, especially around your midsection, will result in your body forming an insulin resistance
- Usually having high blood pressure or through pregnancy which is also preeclampsia
- Eating an unhealthy diet with extreme levels of fat, calories, cholesterol, and processed food.
- Inactive body due to inadequate exercising
- Being over 45 years, though it can also happen to younger people
- Genetically-caused with a parent, brother or sister having diabetes
- Having a diagnosis of gestational diabetes
- Giving birth to a baby with over 9 pounds
- Having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Type 2 diabetes is also common among particular races like Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders. It would help to talk to your doctor about all the risk factors.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Even with a high rate of undiagnosed diabetes, the symptoms are usually apparent. Still, some people do not show any signs.
So, the common signs and symptoms include;
- Extreme thirst
- Urinating more than usual
- Unexplained weight loss/losing weight without trying
- Blurry vision
- Wounds or blisters that don’t heal well
- Tingling in your hands and feet
- Feeling very tired
- Dry, itchy skin
- Red, swollen, tender gums
- Frequent infections
How to Test For Diabetes
Even though you may experience the above signs and symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical attention for precise testing. Testing diabetes involves taking a thorough medical history, a report of symptoms, and blood tests that measure the level of glucose in the blood or how your body reacts to it.
There are numerous types of blood tests to test for the sugar level:
- Fasting Plasma Glucose: Shows the level of glucose in a sample of blood taken when someone is fasting for 8-12hours
- A1C Test: Gauges a person’s average blood glucose amount for the past 2-3 months. This test indicates the level of glucose that remains in the cells
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: The outcome of this test indicates how the body consumes glucose eventually. A health care expert carries out this test after an overnight fast. For a blood test, the patient should drink a high-glucose beverage. Then, the expert should take a blood sample hourly for up to 3 hours
Managing Blood Glucose Levels
If you have diabetes, bear in mind that it is not the end of the road. Together with other health personnel in your team, a professional nutritionist will help you get through successfully. This way, they will help you manage your blood sugar level and reduce your risk of further complications. Some of the objectives your healthcare team will handle include;
- Maintaining the blood sugar levels within an average range or still as close to normal as possible. This helps to avoid or reduce complications
- Maintaining blood pressure in standard ranges
- Working on getting balanced cholesterol levels
Generally, people with Type 1 diabetes require insulin injections daily or an insulin pump, while people with Type 2 diabetes need to control blood glucose levels through healthy food choices, physical activity, and others using insulin injections and medication.
General Tips to Keep Diabetes in Check
- Get all factual information you can about your type of diabetes by asking questions, finding support, and understanding what you need to do to avoid or delay snags from professionals and fellow patients.
- Form a habit of eating healthy foods by selecting what to eat wisely; go for more fresh vegetables, better fats and low-salt options. Also, know the right time to feed to avoid insulin resistance occurrence.
- Get moving and start to exercise for an average of 30-60 minutes most days. You can try to talk a brisk walk, try a new exercise type of mild exercise or even enrol into a fitness challenge group.
- Keep records of your blood glucose level. Ask your doctor how and when to check your blood sugar. Remember to always report to your health care team in extreme levels of too high or too low. Better still, ensure you know your HbA1c status.
- Take your medications correctly. Always take any medication exactly as directed by the doctor, and never make alterations without first consulting your care team. Make sure you report side effects or other concerns instantly to avoid any complications.
- Usually, diabetes and heart disease occur at the same time. Talk to your doctor about any risk factors you are experiencing for cardiovascular disease.
Lastly, having diabetes is not a life sentence, but it can end your life prematurely. The best way to overcome this is to understand the type of diabetes you are suffering from clearly. With this in mind, you will be able to access the right treatment plan, diet and even exercise. Yes, it is possible to manage diabetes for prolonged life.