Diabetes mellitus are a group of diseases that affect your body on how it uses the blood sugar (or the glucose). It is very important because it’s our brain’s source of fuel and the source of energy for the cells that make up the muscles and other body tissues. So if you suffer from diabetes, it means that you have too much glucose in your blood that can lead to serious health conditions.
According to our health source:
Types of diabetes includes:
- Type 1 diabetes– may develop at any age (during childhood or adolescence). In this type, symptoms come quickly and more severe.
- Type 2 diabetes– more common type, it can develop at any age but more common to those older than 40 years old.
- Gestational diabetes– occurs during pregnancy but will resolve when the baby is delivered.
Signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes includes:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Feeling hungry and thirsty
- Frequent infections
- Slow wound healing
- Blurring of vision
- Feeling tired/ fatigue
- The presence of ketones in the urine
Note: Consult your doctor or physician right away if you notice any possible symptoms that may indicate a diabetes, in order to begin the treatment, because the earlier the treatment the higher the chance of healing. After you are diagnosed with the disease you need medical check-up with your doctor until your sugar levels stabilize or go back to normal. Avoid self-medication.
Type 1 diabetes
What are the Causes?
The exact cause is unknown. What is known is that the immune system (the one responsible for fighting harmful bacteria and viruses) attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This leads to a little or no insulin. So the sugar builds up in your bloodstream instead of being transported into your cells. It is thought to be caused by environmental factors and genetics.
What are the risk factors?
- Dietary factors– low vitamin D consumption
- Geography– it is uncertain but Finland and Sweden have high rates of type-1 diabetes
- Presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies)
- Family history– you are at risk if your parents or siblings have this type 1 diabetes.
- Environmental factors– exposure to viral illnesses
Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
For prediabetes (that could lead to type 2) and type 2 diabetes– your cells become resistant to the insulin’s action, so the pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome the resistance. The sugar builds in the bloodstream instead of moving into your cells where it is needed for energy. Genetic, environmental factors and being overweight are linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, though not everyone with type 2 is overweight.
- Family history– you have a higher risk if your parents and siblings have this type 2 diabetes.
- Inactivity or sedentary lifestyle
- Weight– the fatty tissue your body have, the more resistant your cells to insulin. Physical activities help your body use glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin and can also control weight gaining.
- Race– it is unclear but races like Black, Hispanics, American- Indians and Asian- Americans are at higher risk.
- Age– as you get older you’re at risk because you tend to exercise less, gain weight and loss muscle mass.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (common condition characterized by excessive hair growth, obesity and irregular menstrual period).
- Gestational diabetes– if you experienced this during your pregnancy there is a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Abnormality in the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides– you are at risk if you have low levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or good cholesterol.
- High blood pressure– a blood pressure of 140/90 mm/hg (millimeter mercury) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
For gestational diabetes– during the pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to sustain the pregnancy and these hormones make the cells more resistant to insulin. In normal situation your pancreas responds by producing enough extra insulin to overcome the resistance, but when the pancreas can’t keep up, there are too little glucose gets into your cells and too many stays in your bloodstream.
- Family or personal history
- Age– older than 25 years old women
- Weight– overweight before pregnancy
- Race– unclear but women who are Black, American Indian, Hispanic and Asian are most likely to develop this gestational diabetes.
There are complications related to diabetes that could threaten your life. Below are the possible complications:
- Cardiovascular disease, damages in the nerves, kidneys, eyes and feet.
- Skin conditions
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Hearing impairment
Complications for gestational diabetes may include: (for the baby)
- Excess growth- macrosomia (the baby grow too large.)
- Low blood sugar
- Type 2 diabetes later in life
- Death if gestational diabetes is untreated.
Complications to the mother may include:
- Pre-eclampsia (characterized by high blood pressure).
- Subsequent gestational diabetes
- More likely to develop type 2 diabetes as you get older.
Tests for diabetes includes:
- Glycated hemoglobin test– this will indicate your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months.
- Random blood sugar test– your blood sample will be taken at random time.
- Fasting blood sugar test– blood sample will be taken after an overnight fast.
- Oral glucose tolerance test– you fast overnight, and the fasting blood sugar level is measured.
Test for type 1 diabetes:
- Urinalysis – your urine will be tested.
- Test to see autoantibodies– destructive immune system cells
Test for gestational diabetes will be done if you are:
- High risk– if you are obese or overweight, had previous gestational diabetes, family history of the disease.
- Average risk– screening test will be done during second trimester.
Screening tests may include:
Initial glucose challenge test– drinking a syrup glucose solution, then after 1 hour you will have a blood test to measure your blood sugar level.
Follow-up glucose tolerance testing– you will be asked to fast overnight then they will measure your fasting blood sugar level. You will drink again a sweet solution with higher concentration of glucose then the blood sugar level will be checked every hour for a period of 3 hours.
Treatments to all types of diabetes:
- Healthy eating
- Physical activity
Type 1 and 2 diabetes treatment:
- Monitoring your blood sugar
- Insulin therapy
- Oral or other medications
- Transplantation (pancreas transplant) in some who have type1 diabetes
- Bariatric surgery
Treatment for gestational diabetes:
- Controlling and monitoring your blood sugar level
- Insulin or oral medications
Treatment for prediabetes:
- Healthy lifestyle choices
- Healthy weight through exercise
- Healthy eating
- Oral medications
What are the home remedies you can do:
- Eat healthy foods– preferably those foods that are lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber.
- Get more physical activity– do physical activities daily for 30 minutes, for example: brisk walking, biking, jogging etc.
- Lose excess pounds– motivate yourself to achieve a healthy weight.
Coping management to help you with the disease:
- Seek mental health professional to speak with. If you are stress about the disease, feeling down and losing hope.
- Try a support group or talk to someone who have the same battle as yours. You will find health tips and effective ways they have been through.