Understand the Different Diabetes Types and Symptoms
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Feb 12, 2017
Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes, is a medical condition where there is an increase in the blood sugar level as the body isn’t producing sufficient amounts of insulin. Having low insulin means the body will not be able to use blood sugar for energy.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. The function of this hormone is to regulate the blood sugar level.
Different Types of Diabetes
The body produces insulin when there is an increase in glucose levels in the blood, which is not the case for a patient with diabetes. Read here about types of diabetes-
1. Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes
A patient with this type has insufficient production of insulin as the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas whose function is to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is due to an autoimmune condition, and the cause of it has not been discovered. Since there is low production of insulin, patients have to take insulin shots on a daily basis, to survive.
Children and young adults are the ones who are usually diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The autoimmune condition could be due to a viral infection, or sometimes it could be genetic.
People with type 1 diabetes have the following symptoms:
The patient is extremely hungry or thirsty.
The body goes through drastic weight loss.
The person has a constant urge to urinate.
The patient has blurry vision
He or she is continuously fatigued
2. Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most commonly occurring type. In this case, your body develops resistance towards insulin. Thus the pancreas struggles to create more insulin, thus increasing stress on the organ, leading to a complete stop in the production of insulin.
It occurs due to a person’s lifestyle, like eating habits or inactivity; genetics is also a contributing factor. This condition is usually observed in middle-aged or older people or people who have had gestational diabetes and prediabetes.
Most people with type 2 diabetes are suggested to bring about a lifestyle change and maintain a healthy way of living in the hope of reversing the symptoms.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
Similar to type 1 diabetes, these patients have increased hunger and thirst, fatigue, blurry vision and the constant urge to urinate.
They also develop sores and infections that require an increased healing period.
3. Gestational Diabetes
As the name suggests, this condition during the gestation period, or pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body becomes less sensitive to the insulin, because of the hormones produced in the placenta.
Women whose body weight has increased during pregnancy tend to acquire gestational diabetes.
This type lasts as long as the pregnancy and goes away after childbirth, but the mother also has a higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes later on.
Patients with gestational diabetes don’t experience extreme symptoms. Most of them deal with increased thirst and urination. Although if mothers have gestational diabetes, it could have an effect on the child and bring about complications such as jaundice.
A doctor sometimes diagnoses a person as prediabetic or borderline diabetic. These are patients whose blood sugar level ranges between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), which isn’t diabetic(more than 126 mg/dL) but neither is it the normal blood sugar level (70 and 99 mg/dL).
Prediabetic patients are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later on in life.
5. Other Types
There are other rarely occurring types like monogenic diabetes (inherited), or cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Another condition known as diabetes insipidus exists, but this has nothing to do with indulin levels but rather a malfunction in the kidney that causes the patient to have an increase in the fluids expelled from the body.
Risks of Diabetes
Since diabetes increases the blood sugar level, it could have effects on different organs and tissues and cause damage.
Diabetic people have the chance of contracting heart diseases, heart attack or developing stroke. There could be damage in the neurons, nephrons, retina, and auditory organs. The body also has a tendency to develop sores and infections, contract bacterial and fungal infections that do not heal. In some cases, they have depression and dementia.
Diagnosis of Diabetes
It is important to diagnose the condition once the symptoms start to show to avoid the complications that come with it.
Pregnant women need to conduct routine blood tests to keep track of their blood sugar levels.
Diabetes and prediabetes are diagnosed with the help od blood tests such as the fasting plasma glucose test and A1C test. The former measures the blood sugar level after an 8-hour gap in food and water intake, while the latter calculates the blood sugar level over the past three months.
Treatment of Diabetes
There are different treatments for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
In the case of type 1 diabetes, the doctor prescribes insulin shots, which based on the type have an effect for at least 3-4 hours or at most 12-18 hours.
People taking insulin shots must be cautious about how much is injected into the body, as an excess amount could result in death.
People with type 2 diabetes are prescribed drugs to help with any of the following functions:
To reduce the rate at which sugar and starch in the food are broken down.
To reduce the production of glucose by the liver
To regulate the blood glucose level and see to that it doesn’t drop too low
By stimulating the pancreas into producing more insulin
By getting the body to expel the excess glucose through urine
By helping improve the function of insulin
Besides the drugs, bringing about change in the patients’ lifestyle could help decrease the symptoms.
Patients with gestational diabetes are to keep track of their blood glucose level at all times. Sometimes it might be severe and the patient might have to depend on insulin shots, which is safe and does not pose any risk for the baby.
Prevention of Diabetes
Since genetics and your immune system are the causes for Type 1 diabetes, there is no way one it can be prevented.
Fortunately, type 2 diabetes, when it isn’t caused due to your genes, can be prevented. All one needs to do is reduce the risk factors by implementing a few changes in their lifestyle, and maintaining health and fitness through exercise and diet. Dietary changes could be made by cutting out carbohydrate and fat intake while increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables. If in the habit of drinking alcohol, reduce the intake to one or two drinks a day.
Exercise could include walking, jogging, or any other form of aerobic exercises and physical activity, while people who are considered obese must work to lose weight.
Type 2 diabetes is a commonly occurring disease, so it is wise to be always on the lookout for the symptoms like fatigue, constant thirst and hunger, or blurry vision. Once you notice the symptoms, pay an immediate visit to the doctor.
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