Diabetes is a chronic lifestyle disease. It occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce the required quantity of insulin or when the body is unable to use the insulin it produces effectively. Insulin is primarily a hormone, which helps the glucose to travel into the cells of your body to supply the energy it requires to function efficiently. This results in an increased glucose concentration in the blood known as hyperglycemia.

Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are the two chronic diabetes conditions that people suffer from.

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by the absence of insulin production. People with family members suffering from diabetes especially the father are more at risk of developing this condition.Though Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age but it mostly affects young adults, adolescents and children.

Type 2 diabetes refers to the ineffective use of insulin by the body. It is often a result of lack of physical activity and excess body weight. A person with family history of diabetes are more likely to affect by it. The average age of the onset of Type 2 diabetes is 45 years.

There is one more condition of diabetes which is fortunately reversible. It is gestational diabetes, which occurs when a woman is pregnant but often goes away after the birth of the child. Gestational diabetes should be taken seriously since it can cause a health risk to both the mother and the baby.

India is facing a lot of challenges with diabetes since about 8.7% of the population between the age bracket of 20 and 70 years are suffering from diabetes. A combination of various factors such as genetic factors, environmental factors, sedentary lifestyle (being overweight and inactive) and unhealthy diet are considered are the main reasons for the increasing case of diabetes and other non-communicable ailments.

Diabetes Symptoms

The common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling exhausted
  • Excessive hunger
  • Excessive thirst
  • Feeling parched
  • Frequent urination, mainly during the night
  • Loss of muscle bulk
  • Overall weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • The reduced healing process of wounds and cuts
  • Itching around the vagina and penis

Type 1 diabetes can develop as quickly as within a few weeks or even days. Many people suffering from type 2 diabetes have the disease for several years before it is clinically diagnosed since the early symptoms are quite general in nature.

Causes of Diabetes

Type 1

The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is still unknown. Here the immune system, which is known for fighting harmful viruses and bacteria, attacks and destroys the cells responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas. Thus, there is little or no insulin left to function accordingly. This leads to sugar build up in the bloodstream instead of being carried to the cells. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused due to environmental factors and genetic susceptibility. However, the exact factors are unclear. Being overweight does not cause type 1 diabetes though.

Type 2 and Pre-diabetes

In Type 2 diabetes, the cells become insulin resistant and the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to get over this resistance. The sugar tends to build up in the bloodstream instead of moving to the cells where it is needed.

The reason for this phenomenon is unknown. However, it is strongly believed that environmental and genetic factors play a role here as well. Although overweight people get type 2 diabetes but not all type 2 diabetes patients are overweight.

Gestational Diabetes

The placenta produces certain hormones to sustain the pregnancy, which makes the cells resistant to insulin. In such situations, the pancreas will try to produce more insulin to overwhelm this resistance but it cannot always keep up. This results in more blood staying in the blood than getting into the blood causing gestational diabetes.

Diagnosis

Following tests are done to diagnose diabetes:

  • Fasting blood sugar
  • HbA1c (Glycosylated Hemoglobin)
  • Post prandial blood sugar
  • Oral glucose tolerance test

Prevention

Unfortunately, there is no measure to prevent type 1 diabetes. However, in order to prevent type 2 diabetes one must follow the same lifestyle that is needed to be followed to treat the disease. These are:

  • Eat healthily- Choose fiber-rich foods. Avoid foods high in fats and calories. Consume more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Increase physical activity- Go for a brisk walk daily and do moderate physical activity for around 30 minutes regularly. If you do not have the time to go for elaborate exercise or workout routine, choose smaller sessions divided throughout the day.
  • Lose excess weight- For people who are overweight, losing 7% of their body weight can prevent the onset of diabetes. However, it is not advisable to lose weight during pregnancy without medical supervision.

Apart from taking the various preventive measures, every person ought to get their blood sugar levels checked annually to ensure that they have not developed type 2 diabetes.

If you suspect yourself or a family member to be suffering from diabetes, do not lose sleep over it. Relieve yourself from the worry by booking a lab test with Nightingales. We will collect the sample from your house at a time convenient to you.

With over 20 years in the field of medical care and over one lakh satisfied patients, we are satisfactorily delivering quality at-home healthcare services. Nightingales stands committed to offer excellent health care facilities for diabetes and all its related complications at the comfort of your home.

References – http://www.searo.who.int/india/topics/diabetes_mellitus/en/

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