Let’s first start off with what diabetes is. It is a persistent illness that makes the body unable to control the concentration of blood sugar.
What Causes Diabetes?
A lack of insulin in the blood, or a total resistance to it will lead to diabetes. What is insulin? It’s a hormone that the pancreas releases to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.
It’s better to have an idea of how food is digested, what happens when food is digested, and how it energizes the body. The following things occur when you digest food:
— Glucose, a sugar that the body uses as an energy source, is released into the bloodstream.
— Your pancreas produces the insulin, with the intention of transporting the glucose from your bloodstream to muscles, fats, and liver cells. When it reaches its destination, the glucose then can power the body.
Those suffering from diabetes are unable to transport the glucose from their bloodstream to other parts of the body such as muscle and fat cells. Because of this, that glucose in turn can’t be used to fuel the body. A diabetes sufferer will end up with high blood sugar because of that and in large part due to their liver producing and releasing excessive amounts of glucose into the bloodstream. Why does this happen? There are two possible reasons:
— There is an insulin deficiency due to the pancreas producing an insufficient amount of insulin
— The insulin produced is resisted by the cells
— All of the above
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes mainly comes in two big (and different) forms: type 1 and type 2. Below you will find the different causes and risk factors for each:
— You can get type 1 diabetes no matter how old or young you are. However, it is most commonly recognized in younger people like children, teens, and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body has trouble producing insulin and releasing it into the bloodstream. Why? Because the cells in your pancreas responsible for producing the insulin stop performing their duties. You will need to be inoculated with insulin every day to handle type 1 diabetes. It’s hard to pinpoint a definitive cause for type 1 diabetes.
— Type 2 diabetes is a bit different. First off, it’s far more common than type 1. On top of that, it’s more older people like full grown adults that get it. However, rising obesity levels in youths have led to the disease being found in teens and young adults as well. Since the symptoms take a while to develop, sufferers of type 2 diabetes may not even be aware of if they have it.
— Other factors out there are known to cause diabetes, and sometimes the diabetes that someone has can’t be labeled as type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes. This kind of diabetes is diagnosed when a pregnant woman who didn’t have diabetes prior to becoming pregnant develops high blood sugar during the pregnancy.
How Do You Become Diabetic?
Diabetes is known to be a hereditary disease. If anyone in your immediate family (parents, siblings, etc.) has had diabetes, you have a heightened chance of getting some of form of diabetes in your lifetime.
It’s commonly said that eating too much sugar over an extended period of time leads to developing type 2 diabetes. That’s a myth. Remember, you can get diabetes due to a problem in how your body produces and utilizes insulin. Consuming an excess of sugary foods won’t lead directly to diabetes. That said, eating too much sugar might make you overweight and obese, which heightens your chance of getting diabetes. It’s more of a correlation but not causation kind of deal. It is true that being overweight or obese gives your body a harder time when it comes to producing and properly using insulin. The excess fat creates a lot of difficulty for your body. Medical experts refer to this as “insulin resistance”. If you are overweight and then start losing all of the extra fat, your insulin resistance will be diminished or even out right eliminated. Asthma is a health issue that doesn’t heighten your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, whereas obesity does heighten those chances. And yes, it’s possible to have diabetes for a long time and not even know that you have it. This is the reason that we recommend consulting with your doctor on a regular basis about diabetes screening tests. Especially if you’re older than 45, have high blood pressure, and are obese. These are serious risk factors for diabetes and you should really get tested just to see if you have it or not. It’s best to be in the know on conditions like this. Below you’ll find a list of symptoms for both types of diabetes. You need to talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of those symptoms. And remember with type 2 diabetes, the symptoms may take a while to develop, so it’s especially important to tell your doctor if you’re starting to feel them. You could’ve had diabetes for years and are just now feeling the effects.
Your doctor will give you some kind of diabetes test if your blood sugar level is in excess of 200 mg/dL. One of those tests is of your fasting blood glucose level. If it’s in excess of 126 mg/dL twice, you have diabetes. Another test is the hemoglobin A1c test. If your result is greater than or equal to 6.5%, you have diabetes. One other test you might get is the oral glucose tolerance test. You have diabetes if, after 2 hours, your result is greater than 200 mg/dL.Your eyes, kidneys, nerves, skin, heart, and blood vessel could be severely damaged if there is an excessive amount of sugar in your blood for a long period of time. This is why you need to get it treated. Consult with your doctor about the best paths to take to maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Below you’ll also find various treatments for the two types of diabetes. The best treatment of which being regular exercise and an effective healthy diet. Medications or insulin injections may be necessary if you’re unable to regulate and maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Again, talk with your doctor or a medical expert about what kinds of foods you should include in your diet to best keep your blood sugar level under control. Also, if it turns out that you do have type 2 diabetes, you’ll have to quickly get over your fear of needles (if you have one). Why? Because you may need to inoculate yourself with insulin. Inoculations won’t be necessary if you’re able to keep your conditions under control with the aforementioned diet and exercise, along with prescribed diabetes medications. But, if all else fails, daily injections of insulin will be necessary to deal with your types 2 diabetes.
It’s important to know that if you have diabetes, you’re also at risk for heart disease. This is because diabetes affects your heart directly and creates difficulties for your bodies as it pertains to controlling your cholesterol levels. This is a perfect storm for developing heart disease, along with other severe health issues. Again though, following a healthy and effective diet, and getting regular exercise will help you avoid this whole mess, as it makes your diabetes easier to control, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Hell, you may not even need the aforementioned diabetes medications if just exercising and following a diet allows you to sufficiently manage your condition.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
The following symptoms are closely related to high blood sugar:
— Blurred Vision
— Constant Need For Hydration
— Having To Go Pee A Lot
— A Constant Starving Sensation
— A Drop In Weight (even Though Having An Unhealthily High Weight Causes It In The First Place)
Keep in mind that type 2 diabetes is not an instantaneous thing. It takes it time to develop. Therefore, those with high blood sugar may not suffer from any of the above symptoms. Make regular visits to the doctor and get tested.
Type 1 diabetes is different, however. You’ll be able to identify the symptoms rather quickly, as they develop in far less time than the symptoms of type 2. This is dangerous because sufferers can be seriously ill when they’re finally diagnosed with type 1.
Naturally many years of suffering from diabetes will result in other severe health issues. Those issues are what we refer to as complications from diabetes, and among those are:
— Vision problems – examples include: impaired vision (specifically at night), sensitivity to light, and complete or partial blindness.
— Your feet and legs could get nasty sores and become infected. Left untreated, an amputation of the infected limb may be necessary to prevent blood poisoning.
— Damaged nerves – these damages lead to a tingling sensation in various limbs, a complete loss of feeling, trouble maintaining an erection, and even digestion problems.
— Kidney failure stemming from various kidney issues
— A greater risk of contracting more illnesses and infections due to a crippled immune system
— Heightened risk of heart attack and stroke
How to Treat Diabetes?
You can turn back the clock on the effects of type 2 diabetes if you substantially change your lifestyle. What this means is a complete overhaul of your diet and exercise regimens. That change could be simply implementing a diet and workout regimen, or doing more so that you can slim down to a healthy weight. If all else fails, you can always opt for liposuction to improve your condition.
Alleviating the effects of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes will require medication, a strictly followed diet, and of course, regular exercise. This is all necessary to regulate your blood sugar level and insure that your insulin is doing what it has to do.
On top of just dealing with diabetes, improving your lifestyle and being able to contain your levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol will also diminish your chances of coming down with other nasty ailments such as kidney disease, eye disease, stroke, heart attack, and nervous system disease. You’re doing your body a huge favor in so many more ways than one.
Be sure to make consultations and appointments with your doctor at a minimum of 2 to 4 times in a calendar year. This is to make sure you are having no complications from diabetes. Be honest and straightforward with your doctor about any discomfort you’re feeling or any questions you might have about your condition. Listen to what they say and adhere to any instructions they give you. They have your best interests in mind and want to see you beat this thing almost as much as you do.
Support Groups for Sufferers of Diabetes
There is a plethora of resources available online and in print that can teach you all about diabetes and how to live with it. On top of that, there are a lot of people you can talk to for advice and coping strategies. If you are suffering from diabetes, just rest assured that you’ll find help if you do a simple search. Don’t be shy to ask questions because it may just end up saving your life. You don’t want to deal with any complications from mishandling your diabetes treatment.
How to Prevent Diabetes?
To prevent type 2 diabetes, maintain a healthy body and stay physically fit and active. This won’t guarantee that you won’t get type 2 diabetes, but at the very least it will slow down the start of it.
Unfortunately, there are no means of preventing yourself from getting type 1 diabetes.
— Citations —
American Diabetes Association. Standards of medical care in diabetes — 2014. Diabetes Care . 2014; Jan;34 Suppl 1:S14-S80.
Buse JB, Polonsky KS, Burant CF. Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology . 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 31.
Eisenbarth GS, Buse JB. Type 1 diabetes mellitus. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology . 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 32.