What Is Diabetes?
Anyone who thinks that may be a candidate of diabetes or may already have the disease should start to understand and become familiar with this illness.
Medical experts report that diabetes is a chronic disease that will develop among people who have the inability to use the glucose in the food they eat to be used as energy. Therefore, diabetes will develop when the glucose stays in the bloodstream for a long period of time bringing potential harm to the person’s other organs such as the eyes, kidneys, heart, and even the nerve system.
Types of Diabetes
Once you have gathered a certain amount of information about diabetes and how this disease develops one should start to learn the kinds of diabetes that are known by medical experts.
Up to the present time research has found to be three major types of diabetes:
1. Type 1 diabetes,
2. Type 2 diabetes and
3. Gestational diabetes.
To know what they are and what the differences are from one type to another will help people who may be prone to diabetes to focus in trying to manage their condition.
1. Type 1 diabetes
This type of diabetes which is also known as “juvenile diabetes” or “insulin-dependent diabetes” is considered to be the least common type of diabetes there is.
Medical experts say that it is an *autoimmune disease to the immune system, the same system that makes the body’s defence and shields against infection. The reaction will be similar to an allergy putting the immune system out of working order, thus savaging the cells located in the pancreas which are responsible for producing the **insulin needed to control and/or breakdown the sugar in the foods we eat.
*Autoimmune – caused by the reaction of an antibody to substances that occur naturally in the body.
**Insulin – is the important agent that breaks down the sugar in the foods we eat.
Given that people with type 1 diabetes have the inability to make insulin and need it to continue living; a regular supply of insulin 24/7 is needed. Unfortunately, children and young adults are prone to this type of diabetes, but it can occur at any age or can be a result of an illness.
Type 1 diabetes sufferers show characteristics such as starting to be thirsty more regular, urinating more often and drastic weight loss.
2. Type 2 diabetes
This type of diabetes is also known as “non-insulin-dependent diabetes, mellitus” and “adult onset diabetes”. The main different from the type 1 diabetes to type 2 diabetes is the ability to make insulin. However, the amount produced in not enough for the body to use it efficiently.
Type 2 diabetes is considered as the more common type of diabetes, which usually develops among people who are more than 40 years of age, are overweight or obese and those that have an inactive lifestyle.
Its a progressive disease that can also give the sufferer the characteristics of thirstiness, repeat urination, and loss of weight. In the more advance cases if not treated properly can also lead to more severe complications similar to type 1 diabetes, like diseases of the heart, the kidneys, the eyes which will eventually cause blindness and the amputation or loss of limbs.
3. Gestational diabetes
This type mainly develops during pregnancy. Although most of the time this type of diabetes ends after giving birth, there are also those cases in some women that develop this type of diabetes as they get older.
Gestational diabetes, though it is mainly common among pregnant women it should be monitored because there’s a big chance of leading to type 2 diabetes.
Complications diabetes may bring
If the tests show that one has diabetes, extensive knowledge about this illness can help people cope and manage their lives. They can also help those who dont have it yet to be more careful and to avoid the illness by following a controlled diet and an exercise program.
However, apart from having extensive knowledge on the disease such as its causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, I believe it also pays to know if there would be related complications. This is to prepare the diabetes sufferer emotionally and physically about the possibilities of coping, not just with diabetes but other complications like love ones, other family members, friends and colleagues.
Researchers and medical experts have found that there are certain factors that contribute to a person acquiring diabetes like age, heredity and ethnicity. But despite the risk factors, the associated complications would still be the same.
The list below gives a more extended view of the complications diabetes sufferers must pay attention to:
1. Diabetic kidney disease
This is the most common complication among diabetes sufferers because the filtering components of the kidneys are being damaged.
Once the kidney filtering units have been damaged, important proteins in the blood are being allowed to pass along with urine into the bladder. Therefore, after prolonged periods of this condition the kidneys will eventually stop removing the waste products present in the blood and becoming unhealthy.
One good thing is that not all diabetics experience End-Stage Kidney Disease (ESRD) which can be life threatening. To avoid this complication, one must stop smoking cigarettes and always keep the blood pressure under control at all times.
2. Heart disease and stroke
Medical experts say that people who have diabetes have greater risks of having heart diseases and stroke because the fatty deposits brought by radical changes in the body can block the arteries. Due to the smaller amount of insulin in the body compared to normal people, diabetics have higher incidence of blood clotting and can also lead to high blood pressure or hypertension. In fact, these complications are the lead causes of death among diabetics all over the world.
3. Diabetic eye disease
This relates to several eye problems that diabetic people may end up having as a result of the chronic disease.
In the worst case these eye problems like diabetic retinopathy (damaged vessels of the eyes retina), cataract, cloudiness in the lens of the eyes, glaucoma and increased fluid pressure inside the eye that damages the optic nerve. When these problems are not caught in time and not monitored properly can lead to total loss of vision and/or blindness.
4. Diabetic neuropathy
This is a type of nerve damage that occurs when one has diabetes. High blood sugar can injure nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.
Depending on the affected nerves, symptoms of diabetic neuropathy can range from pain and numbness in your extremities to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels and heart. For some people, these symptoms are mild; for others, diabetic neuropathy can be painful, disabling and even fatal.
Diabetics who are still smoking, drinking heavily and those who have poor management with their glucose are more prone to developing neuropathy compared to those diabetics who are not into these bad habits.
This is a condition in which the muscles in the stomach don’t function normally.
Ordinarily, strong muscular contractions propel food through your digestive tract, but in gastroparesis, the muscles in the wall of your stomach work poorly or not at all. This prevents your stomach from emptying properly. Gastroparesis can interfere with digestion, cause nausea and vomiting, and cause problems with blood sugar levels and nutrition.
There is no cure for gastroparesis. Making changes to your diet may help you cope with gastroparesis signs and symptoms, but that’s not always enough. Medications may offer some relief, but some can cause serious side effects.
Researchers and medical experts have found that 20% to 30% type 1 diabetic sufferers are more prone to this complication because the vagus nerve is damaged due to the high sugar content in the blood.
Although it is also diagnosed among those who have “type 2 diabetes” the cases are comparatively lower.