Diabetes is simply a metabolic disorder that occurs when blood sugar (glucose) is too high (a condition is known as hyperglycemia). The main source of energy for the body remains glucose.
When an individual has diabetes, it implies that they have high blood sugar levels.
The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin which converts glucose from digested food into usable energy forms for the body. Diabetes occurs when the body is not producing sufficient hormone insulin or does not produce any at all or the body becomes resistant to insulin and glucose doesn’t reach the cells to be consumed as energy.
Types of Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes
This is formerly referred to as juvenile diabetes). Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body does not produce insulin/.
Type 2 diabetes
This is the most common type of diabetes. It is a condition by which the body does not secret sufficient insulin or does not use it well.
This occurs in some women during pregnancy and generally disappears after the baby is born.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Usually, symptoms of type 1 diabetes often spiral out of control fast within weeks whilst symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually over several years. Those who have type 2 diabetes may show no symptoms or only minor symptoms.
Increased thirst (polydipsia)
High blood sugar levels cause increased thirst.
People with diabetes usually feel very thirsty and experience a very dry mouth.
This experience can continues even if they consume a large number of fluids.
Increased urination (polyuria)
Frequent urination more often than usual at night
Frequent urination can be an early sign of diabetes. The average individual passes urine between 4 and 7 times per day. But individuals with diabetes usually pass much often because the body is making effort to remove extra glucose by producing more urine.
Increased hunger (polyphagia)
Because diabetes makes it supremely hard for the body to convert the glucose from foods into fuel (energy), individuals with high blood sugar levels are usually more hungry. The body converts food into glucose during digestion. The cells in the body use glucose as a source of energy. however when the body does not secret insulin as in type 1 diabetes or does not respond to insulin as in type 2 diabetes, hence this glucose cant be assimilated from the blood into the cells. Thus, individuals with untreated diabetes often experience hunger even though they are eating.
Having itchy skin
The same dehydration that leads to thirst and dry mouth can equally cause dry and itchy skin.
Feeling seriously tired can just be the result of working too much or insufficient sleep, but it could also be an indication of diabetes. Take note that if fatigue does not disappear even when observing rest, you should consult a doctor to rule out diabetes as a probable cause.
Experiencing blurred vision
Most times blurred vision is not a sign for new eyeglasses. Diabetes can also cause blurred vision because changing fluid levels can lead to swelling in the lenses of the eyes, which hinders them from focusing appropriately.
Feeling pain or numbness in feet or legs
Numbness in the feet and legs can be a sign of nerve damage, which occurs when diabetes causes blood sugar to stay high for a long time. This same nerve damage can also bring about pain or tingling in the feet.
Sores that do not heal
High blood sugar disrupts blood flow, which can affect the ability of the body to heal.
Sores and cuts that take an oddly long period to heal may be a sign that blood sugar has been high for some time. Anyone with this symptom should consult a doctor without further delay.
Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
Those with type 1 diabetes may suffer quick, major weight gains or weight loss without really trying to do so. This is an early sign of diabetes.
Experiencing yeast infections
This can affect both men and women respectively because candida (yeast) feeds on sugar.
People with diabetes have too much sugar present in their blood which a proper environment for yeast to flourish.
Causes of Diabetes?
The causes of diabetes vary depending on the type.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system erroneously attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The cause of type 1 diabetes is considered as a combination of genes and environmental factors that might induce the disease.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including:
Genetics & family history
Lifestyle and dietary factors such as being overweight/obese and physical inactivity
Gestational diabetes is assumed to be caused by hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy as well as genetic and lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed with the following tests:
Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
Random plasma glucose (RPG) test
Glucose challenge test
Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
What Is the Treatment for Diabetes?
Diabetes is treated with lifestyle modifications and medications when needed. Also, supplements are highly beneficial in this regard.
Lifestyle changes to manage diabetes include:
Manage A1C (average blood glucose level over the past 3 months)
Check blood glucose levels daily
Manage blood pressure
Keep cholesterol levels in control
Follow a diabetes meal plan as recommended by your doctor or nutritionist
Take prescribed diabetes medications
Medications used to treat diabetes include:
People with type 1 diabetes need insulin
People with type 2 diabetes may need insulin or other diabetes medications
Dangers of Undiagnosed Diabetes
Diabetes if not diagnosed may cause dangerous complications in several parts of the body.
Damage to the blood vessels (arteries, capillaries, and veins), eyes, kidneys, gums, heart, nerves, gastrointestinal tract, and teeth are some examples.
Diabetes, if left undiagnosed, may cause complications in various parts of the body. Damage to blood vessels, heart, eyes, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, gums, teeth, and nerves are some examples of potential damages that may occur.
When to See a Doctor
Doctors can test for diabetes by a simple blood test. If you are experiencing some of the above signs, and most especially if you are experiencing any of them in conjunction with one another, then you should see a doctor to know whether diabetes could be the reason. Early diagnosis and careful management can prevent many severe complications of diabetes.