Diabetes or Diabetes mellitus, as referred by doctors, is a group of metabolic disease in which a person has high blood sugar (glucose) level in a body. Glucose is an important source of energy that builds up your tissues and muscles. It’s vital for your health as it provides fuel to the brain.
Glucose level can increase either because the body’s cells fail to react properly to insulin, or insulin production is insufficient, or both. There are two main types of diabetes i.e. Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes was first identified as a disease related with sweet urine. High levels of blood sugar leads to leak of glucose in the urine, hence it was termed as sweet urine. Generally, blood glucose level in the body is controlled by a hormone released from the pancreas, called insulin. When the glucose level elevates, insulin is produced to normalize the blood sugar level. Lack or insufficient amount of insulin causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic disease, which means that it can be controlled but can never be eliminated completely.
Globally, around 382 million people suffer from diabetes with 90% cases are of type 2 diabetes. In 2012 and 2013 diabetes disease resulted in 5.1 million deaths worldwide, making it 8th top cause of death.
What is Type 1 diabetes?
When we eat a meal, the glucose from food accelerates the pancreas to increase insulin. The main role of the insulin is to transfer nutrients to the body cells. The nutrients perform as a source of energy for body. Insulin decreases the level of sugar in the blood, which make beta cells to function properly. In type 1 diabetes, there is a loss of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, causing insulin deficiency. Hence, sugar level is build up in the blood instead of going to the cell, the cells starve for more nutrients and there is lack of energy for important bodily functions.
The actual cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown. Type 1 diabetes can be inherited while environment can also trigger this disease. When harmful bacteria and viruses present in the environment attack your immune system, it mistakenly damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Although the disease starts at the early age of 20, but type 1 diabetes can occur to anyone of any age. Type 1 diabetic patients need to take insulin injection for their entire life. It is also important to maintain proper blood glucose levels by taking proper checkups and following a proper diet.
What is Type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is also referred as non-insulin diabetes, or adult diabetes mellitus. In type 2 diabetes, the body makes insulin, but either the pancreas does not make sufficient insulin or the body fail to use the insulin accurately. This is known as insulin resistance. When the insulin isn’t used up or there isn’t enough insulin, the glucose can’t get into the cells and sugar remains in the blood. When glucose remains in the blood, the body’s cells will not function properly.
Due to insulin resistance, the insulin produced by pancreas may become defective. Finally, the liver of the type 2 diabetic patients continues to release glucose through gluconeogenesis in spite of elevating glucose levels. While it is believed that type 2 diabetes affect only adults over 30 years, but there is a significant increase in diabetes stats among children and teenagers too.
The direct causes are lack of proper diet, improper eating habits, lack of exercise, and excessive body weight. While some people get it through genetic component, the most significant risk is obesity. Obesity is a major reason for developing type 2 diabetes, which hold same for children and adults too.
Signs & Symptoms Diabetes- Type 1 and Type 2
Diabetes symptoms wary depending on how much your glucose is elevated in the blood. Type 1 diabetes symptoms are developed quickly after few days of high blood sugar level. People overlooked other illness with the symptoms of Type 1. While symptoms of Type 2 diabetes differ from person to person.
Here are few symptoms of both types of diabetes which are often overlooked:-
- In type 1 diabetes, the patient urinate a lot which is more noticeable at night. The kidneys try to get rid of excess sugar in the blood through releasing water. More water leads to more urine.
- If you urinate a lot, you lose enough water and body becomes dehydrated. This makes you thirsty.
- Because you are dehydrated, weight loss can also happen. As you are releasing the entire sugar intake through urine instead of utilizing it, losing weight can be evident.
- Your hunger pangs also increased with more calories eliminating out of your body. Many of the calories leave your body through urine.
- Sometimes sugar is formed in the eye lens, it absorbs more water. This changes your lens shape and blurs your vision.
- You feel tired very often because you are consuming less calories and your body fail to generate more energy.
- Many patients also suffer dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, and numbness on the hands or feet. If blood sugar levels run down, neuropathy will be lasting problem.
- Diabetes patients go through immune-suppressed state wherein the risk of infections is higher and the most common is yeast infection. Women must watch out for vaginal infections.
Complications of diabetes increase gradually. The longer you have diabetes, the higher risk of complications. The major complications involve damage to blood vessels and it also doubles the risk of cardiovascular disease. Around 75% deaths in diabetes are due to artery disease. The primary complications include damage to the nerves, kidneys, eyes. Due to diabetic retinopathy, there is damage in the retina of the eye, which can result in vision loss and potential blindness. There is also diabetic nephropathy, which lead to tissue scarring, chronic kidney failure, and urine protein loss.
Preventive measure is unknown for type 1 diabetes. For type 2 diabetes, it is important to maintain normal body weight, follow healthy diet, and physical exercise. Dietary changes can be effective to prevent diabetes include whole grains, fibers, polyunsaturated fats found in fish, vegetable oils, and nuts in your diet. You also need to limit sugar intake and eat less red meat to prevent diabetes. Active smoking can also increase the danger of diabetes, so quitting smoking can be a good preventive measure.