What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by an abnormally elevated level of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which over time leads to severe damage to the heart, eyes, blood vessels, kidneys and nerves. It can also be said to be a condition that impairs the blood glucose level.
It affects the way our body uses food for energy. When your body can not move sugar or glucose from your bloodstream into your cells, thus having excess sugar in your cells, this can be said to be diabetes. It leads to a buildup of sugar in the blood, which increases the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart diseases
Types of Diabetes
There are four major types of Diabetes. With Type 1 and Type 2 very similar, the remaining major types of diabetes are Gestational diabetes and Pre-diabetes.
The different types of diabetes in detail, causes, symptoms and effects;
1. Type 1 diabetes: this is also known as Juvenile diabetes. Type 1 is an immune system diabetes. The pancreas produces insulin, the body attacks and destroys the cell that produces insulin in your pancreas; once this is done, diabetes sets in since the body stops producing insulin (this is a hormone that is responsible for breaking down sugar in the bloodstream).
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes include:
• Increased urine
• High blood pressure
• Excess Thirst
• Nerve damage
• Loss of weight
• Cardiovascular disease
• Skin problems
Risk factors for Type 1 Diabetes
• When there is a family history of Type 1 diabetes
• When there is an injury to the pancreas
• When the autoantibodies mistakenly attack the body’s tissues or organs
• Physical stress
• Getting exposed to an illness caused by viruses.
2. Type 2 diabetes: it is also known as Adult-onset diabetes and Insulin-resistant diabetes. Here the body either does not produce the right amount of insulin or the body does not respond normally to the insulin. In simple terms, your body still has a problem moving sugar into your cells, but your cells are not sensitive to insulin, and they can’t use the insulin the way it is meant to. It often occurs in middle-aged people, older people. You will hardly experience or notice any symptoms since they develop slowly over several years.
Risk Factors includes:
• Middle-aged or older people,
• Family history of Type 2
• History of smoking
• Being physically inactive
• History of heart disease or stroke
• Having high blood pressure
• Having low HDL cholesterol
3. Gestational Diabetes: this is a type of diabetes, developed in some women during pregnancy. It is an insulin-blocking hormone produced during pregnancy. It occurs when the pregnant woman blood sugar level is too high. It usually goes away after pregnancy. Women who experience Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy will take Oral Glucose Tolerance Test about six weeks after birth to know if diabetes continued after pregnancy. It causes Premature Birth, Increases Birth weight etc. Any woman who experiences Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy and uses insulin tends to have Type 2 diabetes after about a decade.
Risk Factors for Gestational Diabetes:
• Family History
• Overweight before pregnancy
• Over 25 years
4. Pre-diabetes: this is the stage before Type 2 diabetes. Blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. It is silent and the patient will not get any reinforcement to tell them that something is wrong with them.
Complications of Diabetes
1. Nerve damage causes numbing of fingers and toes and it is likely to spread
2. Kidney failure or damage
3. Retinopathy (eye damage that can lead to blindness, cataracts or glaucoma
4. Poor healing of cuts and wounds
5. Erectile dysfunction
7. Dental problems
9. Coronary disease
10. Atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries) etc.
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