Diabetes is a health condition in which there are high levels of blood glucose present in the body. The condition is usually life-long where preventing diabetes from worsening may involve following a healthy eating plan, regular exercise as well as insulin administration where other treatments do not work.
Diabetes is triggered when insulin levels begin to fluctuate in the body. Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body to regulate blood glucose levels. When the blood glucose or sugar levels in the blood rise or fall to extreme levels a person may be diagnosed as a diabetic.
When food is broken down for energy in the body, a sugar known as glucose is released in the bloodstream. This is a fuel source which is transported to the muscles and liver cells with the help of insulin. However in people with diabetes, the glucose remains in the bloodstream because their body either does not produce adequate insulin or the cells are incapacitated to respond properly to insulin production. In either case blood glucose levels fall outside the normal range and the condition becomes a chronic disease.
Diabetes can be classified into 2 types both of which have varying causes and risk factors.
Type 1 diabetes: This condition is mostly diagnosed in younger individuals where typically the body does not produce sufficient insulin and a daily dose in the form of injections is administered. Patients also need to monitor their blood glucose levels regularly and also adhere to a strict healthy eating plan.
Type 2 diabetes: This type is more common and mostly affects adults. Common causes include lack of exercise, absence of healthy eating habits, a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. While lifestyle changes may regulate symptoms, type 2 diabetes is generally progressive and patients may need to resort to insulin administration later on.
Gestational diabetes: This condition can develop at any stage of the pregnancy, affecting women who otherwise are not diabetics. Like patients of type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes patients can also use practices of healthy eating and mild, regular exercise to control the condition.
Elevated blood glucose levels can lead to various discomforting symptoms like feeling unusually thirsty, unexplained hunger, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, and the urge to urinate frequently. Feeling fatigued and tired is also another common symptom. For many patients of type 2 diabetes, symptoms may not be experienced immediately as the disease progresses gradually. Type 1 diabetics however, may notice apparent symptoms.
Timely treatments can regulate symptoms which otherwise could lead to other health problems like vision complications, susceptibility to infections, nerve damage, gum disease, kidney failure and serious digestive disorders to name a few.
With early detection, type 2 diabetes can be reversed with the right lifestyle modifications. This includes lowering blood glucose levels through healthy eating practices, weight loss maintenance, regular exercise and sometimes medication. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand is not curable and lasts for life.