An overview of diabetes types and treatments
Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar.
Diabetes is a condition wherein the body can no longer control blood glucose, which leads to dangerously high levels of blood glucose. This is called hyperglycemia.
Persistent hyperglycemia can damage the body’s tissues, including those in the nerves, blood vessels, and eyes.
The body converts most of the food people eat into glucose, a simple sugar, which it can then use for energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
The bodies of people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all, so these people need to supplement their supply. The bodies of people with type 2 diabetes cannot use insulin effectively.
However, it is possible to control the risk of type 2 diabetes with careful dietary management and regular exercise.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and the need for amputation of the lower extremities.
Different kinds of diabetes can occur, and managing the condition depends on the type. Not all forms of diabetes stem from a person being overweight or leading an inactive lifestyle. In fact, some are present from childhood. Without ongoing, careful management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart disease.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may sometimes not experience symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe. Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are: Increased thirst Frequent urination Extreme hunger Unexplained weight loss Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there's not enough available insulin) Fatigue Irritability Blurred vision Slow-healing sores Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it's more common in people older than 40.
Causes of Diabetes
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. What is known is that your immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses — attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. Weight is not believed to be a factor in type 1 diabetes.
Treatment for Diabetes
If a doctor diagnoses a person with type 2 diabetes, they will often recommend making lifestyle changes to support weight loss and overall health. A doctor may refer a person with diabetes or prediabetes to a nutritionist. A specialist can help a person with diabetes lead an active, balanced lifestyle and manage the condition. People with type I diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes may need to inject or inhale insulin to keep their blood sugar levels from becoming too high. Various types of insulin are available, and most are grouped by how long their effect lasts. There are rapid, regular, intermediate, and long-acting insulins.
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