Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes

Posted by Nishita Kalra on Sat, Dec 23, 2023  
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We are all aware that in today’s time, Diabetes is one of the most common lifestyle disorders in the country. According to WHO, more than 77 million adults in India are suffering from this. But still, many are clueless about this life-threatening condition. So, let’s start by understanding what exactly is diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disorder arising due to increase in blood glucose level which over the time shows deleterious effects on heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves.  The human body uses glucose as a primary source of energy, which is produced as a result of breakdown of food. When the levels of glucose rise in the bloodstream, the body dictates pancreas to increase the production of Insulin, a hormone which lowers down blood glucose level by aiding it in entering the body cells.

When the body is unable to produce insulin, in sufficient amount or at all, or when the body is not capable of utilising the insulin, a condition called hyperglycaemia or high blood glucose arises, which is a common symptom of diabetes.

Now let’s discuss the various types of diabetes. It is mainly of 4 types as follows -

Type – 1 Diabetes

When the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, the blood sugar level rises in the body. This type of diabetes is known as Type – 1 Diabetes. 

It is thought to be caused due to an autoimmune reaction resulting in the destruction of Beta cells of Pancreas which are responsible for insulin production. This reaction may go on for months before the symptoms arise. It can also be due to genetic makeup but usually triggered by an environmental factor.

It was earlier known as Insulin Dependent or Juvenile diabetes and it generally occurs in children or young adults.

Type – 2 Diabetes

This type occurs when the body is unable to utilise the insulin being produced. The cells don’t respond to insulin due to which pancreas start producing more of it and eventually fail to keep up and hence blood sugar level rises.

It was earlier known as Non – Insulin Dependent or Adult-Onset diabetes. More than 95% of people with diabetes have Type – 2 Diabetes. It mainly happens due to high body weight and lack of physical activity. It usually develops in people above the age of 45 but nowadays it is increasingly being reported in children, adult etc.

 Gestational Diabetes

It develops in pregnant women who didn’t suffer from diabetes before pregnancy.

In this, the blood sugar levels are high but not enough to be termed as diabetes. It also increases the risk of Type – 2 Diabetes in mother as well as the children.

During the term of pregnancy, certain hormones are produced by the body as well as certain changes occur in the body, which decreases the effective insulin usage by body cells. This condition is known as insulin resistance. All the women experience this during late pregnancy, however some have it earlier, even before pregnancy, which increases their chances of Gestational Diabetes.

Prediabetes

When the blood sugar is level is higher than normal but not enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, a serious condition called Prediabetes arise which makes the patient more susceptible to developing Type 2 Diabetes, heart diseases and even stroke.

The symptoms of diabetes are as follows:

  • Frequent urination, often at night
  • Feeling fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Having blurry vision
  • Having Dry skin

Patients with Type – 1 Diabetes may also experience nausea, vomiting and stomach ache.

The symptoms of Type – 2 Diabetes are hard to detect so knowledge of their risk factors is important.

There are no definite symptoms for Gestational Diabetes but it usually develops between 24 – 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Different type of diabetes has different causes like -

TYPE – 1 DIABETES: It is believed that this type is usually caused by genetic makeup of a person as well as environmental factors like microbes etc., which might trigger it.

TYPE – 2 DIABETES: This is caused by a variety of factors including lifestyle disorders like obesity, physical inactivity, increased BMI etc. It is also caused by genetic makeup as well as insulin resistance.

TYPE – 3 DIABETES: There is no definite cause but it occurs due to production of certain hormones as well as changes in the body along with genetic and lifestyle disorders.

OTHER CAUSES:

  • Some types of genetic mutations, like the one in Monogenetic Diabetes, in which there is a mutation in a single gene and certain genetic disorders like Cystic Fibrosis, Hemochromatosis etc.
  • Certain hormonal disorders like Cushing’s Syndrome, Acromegaly etc.
  • Removal of Pancreas due to Pancreatitis, Pancreatic cancer etc.

  You should consult a doctor in case of –

  • constant fatigue, extreme thirst or frequent urination.
  • family history of diabetes.
  • recurrent infections and slow healing of wounds.
  • neuropathy starts setting in.
  • In children, development of flu like symptoms or fruity breath etc.

Some of the risk factors for diabetes include -

  • For Type – 1 Diabetes, the main risk factor is the family history of Diabetes for a person. 
  • For Type – 2 Diabetes, the risk factors include obesity, physical inactivity, family history or history of Gestational Diabetes. 
  • For Gestational Diabetes, the risk factors include family history of Type – 2 Diabetes, high BMR, PCOS history etc.
  • For Prediabetes, risk factors are same as those of Type – 2 Diabetes.

Preventive measures can be adopted only for Type – 2 Diabetes.

Some of the preventive measures are -

  • Being physical active like maintaining an exercise regime.
  • Keeping body weight under control.
  • Intake of a balanced diet and avoiding consumption of large amounts of fats, sugars etc.
  • Avoiding consumption of harmful substances like tobacco.

Different treatment options for diabetes are - 

  • For patients with Type – 1 Diabetes, the only possible treatment is intake of insulin which can be administered through Insulin pen, syringe, pump etc. An artificial pancreas, wherein delivery of insulin occurs automatically, can also be an alternative.
  • For patients with Type – 2 Diabetes, certain lifestyle changes like exercise, balanced diet etc. might help in treatment. Drugs such as Metformin are also prescribed. If the blood glucose levels are severely high, then administration of Insulin can also be done as a short-term treatment with quick onset.
  • For patients with Gestational Diabetes, maintaining a healthy diet and moderate exercise might help in controlling the glucose levels. However, if they do not show positive results then use of insulin can be done.

 

In conclusion, it can be said that regular monitoring of symptoms is necessary for early diagnosis as well as treatment of diabetes.

Also, a healthy lifestyle should be maintained in order to prevent and manage this disorder.

One should consult a doctor as soon as there is onset of symptoms or if they are susceptible to above mentioned risk factors to achieve timely intervention.

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