Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes and More

Diabetes mellitus or just diabetes is a metabolic condition that leads to hyperglycemia (glucose). The hormone insulin carries blood sugar into your cells to store or produce energy. In the case of diabetes, your body does not produce the needed insulin or cannot efficiently use the insulin produced.

Diabetes can affect your nerves, eyes, kidneys and other organs if not treated.

Types of Diabetes

Type of diabetes can include:

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmunity disorder. The immune system attacks and breaks down the cells in the pancreas that make up insulin. It is unclear why this attack took place. About 10 percent of persons with diabetes have this type.
  • Type 2 diabetes starts when your body becomes insulin-resistant and your blood sugar levels rise.
  • Pre-diabetes occurs when your blood glucose levels are above normal, but it is not very high for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes is an elevated glucose level during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that block insulin and are responsible for gestational diabetes.

A rare disease called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It’s a different condition where your kidneys excrete too much fluid out of your body.

There are different symptoms, causes and treatments for every type of diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes result from high blood sugar levels.

General symptoms

Common symptoms associated with diabetes include:

  • weight loss
  • Numbness
  • blurry vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • increased hunger (polyphagia)
  • increased thirst (polydipsia)
  • frequent urination (polyurea)
  • Wounds that aren’t easy to heal.

Symptoms in men

With the common symptoms of diabetes, Diabetic men may experience a decrease sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and reduced muscular strength.

Symptoms in women

Women with diabetes may also suffer from symptoms like urinary tract infections(UTIs), yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes symptoms may include the following:

  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • unexpected weight loss.
  • Fatigue or tiredness

You may also experience mood swings.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes symptoms may include the following:

  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • tiredness
  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • The wounds are slowly healing.

It may also cause recurrent infections due to high levels of glucose, making it difficult for the body to cure.

Gestational diabetes

Most women suffering from gestational diabetes have no symptoms. The condition is often identified by a regular glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test which usually takes place between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

Rarely, a woman with gestational diabetes will also frequently experience thirst or urination.

Causes of diabetes

Various causes are associated with every type of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Physicians do not understand the exact reason for type 1 diabetes. For one reason or another, the immune system incorrectly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.

Genes can have an effect on some people. There is also the possibility of a virus triggering an attack on the immune system.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the result of a combination of genetic and life-style factors. Excess weight may also or obese increases your risk. Excess fat, especially in your stomach, makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on blood sugar levels.

It is a hereditary condition. Family members have certain genes in common which make them more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and be obese.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is caused by hormone changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that decrease women’s sensitivity to insulin. It causes elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Women who are overweight when they become pregnant or gain excess weight during pregnancy are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.

Diabetes risk factors

Some factors increase the risk for diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

There is a higher chance of developing type 1 diabetes if you are a child or youth, and you have a relative or brother or sister with the disease, or you have some genes that are related to the disease.

Type 2 diabetes

You have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are obese
  • Age 45 and over.
  • have a parent or brother or sister with this condition.
  • are not physically engaged.
  • were diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
  • have prediabetes
  • have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides
  • have African-American, Hispanic, Latin American, Alaskan, Pacific Islander, Amerindian, or Asian ancestry.

Gestational diabetes

Your risk of developing gestational diabetes is increased by:

  • To have too much weight.
  • over the age of 25 years.
  • was diagnosed with gestational diabetes during the previous pregnancy.
  • gave birth to an infant weighing more than nine pounds.
  • have a family background of type 2 diabetes.
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Diabetes complications

High blood glucose levels can harm your body’s tissues and organs. The higher your blood sugar, the longer you have it, the greater the risk of complications.

Complications associated with diabetes include:

  • heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • neuropathy
  • nephropathy
  • retinopathy and vision loss
  • hearing loss
  • foot damage like infections and injuries that do not heal.
  • skin diseases such as bacteria and fungal infections.
  • depression
  • dementia (unable to think, remember or behave normally)

Gestational diabetes

Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to problems for both mother and baby. Issues related to the baby can include:

  • premature birth
  • weight higher than usual at birth.
  • increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • low blood sugar
  • jaundice
  • stillbirth (death of the infant during parturition)

The mother may develop complications like high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia) or type 2 diabetes. She may also need a cesarean section, commonly referred to as a cesarean section.

The risk for gestational diabetes in the mother during future pregnancies also increases.

Treatment of diabetes

Physicians treat diabetes with different medicines. Some are administered orally and some are given intravenously.

Type 1 diabetes

Insulin is a major treatment of type 1 diabetes. It is a replacement for the hormone that your body cannot produce.

There are 4 different kinds of insulin that are most commonly used. They differ by the speed at which they begin their work and the duration of their effects:

  • Fast-acting insulin begins to work within 15 minutes and lasts for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Short-acting insulin begins to work in 30 minutes and takes 6 to 8 hours.
  • Insulin with intermediate action begins to function in 1 – 2 hours and lasts 12 -18 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin begins to work a few hours after the injection and lasts a minimum of 24 hours.

Type 2 diabetes

Diet and exercise may assist some people in controlling type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes prevention

Type 1 diabetes is not preventable because it is caused by an immune system problem. Certain causes of type 2 diabetes, such as your genes or your age, are beyond your control.

There are many other risk factors for diabetes that can be prevented. Most strategies for preventing diabetes include making simple, healthy changes to your diet and fitness program.

If you have a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, here are some steps you can take to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes:

  • Get at least 150 minutes a week of aerobics exercises, like walking or cycling.
  • Take saturated and trans fats, as well as refined carbohydrates, out of your diet.
  • Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Don’t eat in bulk.
  • Try to control their weight in case of obesity.

Other methods of preventing diabetes are available.

Diabetes in pregnancy

Women with no previous diabetes can immediately develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. The hormones produced by the placenta can increase your body’s resistance to the effects of insulin.

Certain women who had diabetes prior to pregnancy wear it during pregnancy. We call that pre-gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes should disappear after childbirth, but it dramatically increases your risk of developing it in the future.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), about half of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years of becoming pregnant.

Gestational diabetes may also cause complications in your infant, such as jaundice or respiratory problems.

If you receive a diagnosis of pre-gestational or gestational diabetes, You will need special care and follow-up from the physician and family member to control any complications.

Diabetes in children

Children may develop type one and type two diabetes. Low blood sugar is especially necessary in young people because the disease can damage important organs like the heart and kidneys.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood. A primary symptom is increased urination (polyurea). Children with type 1 diabetes can start wetting their bed (peeing on the bed) after receiving toilet training.

Extreme thirst, fatigue and hunger also indicate illness. It is important for children suffering from type 1 diabetes to receive immediate treatment. The disease may cause elevated blood sugar levels and dehydration, which may be medical emergencies.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes was called “juvenile diabetes” because type 2 diabetes was very uncommon among children. Today, more children are overweight or obese, type 2 diabetes is increasingly common in this age group also.

Type 2 diabetes can cause life-long complications without timely treatment. These include diseases of the heart, kidney disease and blindness. Eating well and exercising regularly can help your child control blood sugar levels and prevent these complications.

Young people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than ever before.

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