Diabetes: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Last Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012 - 17:07

Diabetes has become a common disease these days just like any other whacky flu or cough and cold. According to a study conducted by The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the number of Indians suffering from this malicious disease is expected to cross the 100 million mark by 2030. So, let us fight against this disease by adopting healthy ways of living and a proper lifestyle. Read on to know more about diabetes and how one can be cautious to prevent it.

Definition

Diabetes also called as diabetes mellitus is a metabolism disorder. The food that we eat is broken down into glucose which is the main supplier of fuel to our body.

After the food is digested the glucose enters our bloodstream. Our cells then use the glucose for energy and growth.

But, insulin is a major requirement for glucose to enter our cells. So, after eating, the pancreas starts releasing an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells. It also lowers the blood sugar level.

Causes of Diabetes

In this condition, the quantity of the glucose in the blood increases, a condition known as hyperglycemia. This is because either the body does not produce enough insulin, produces no insulin or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much building up of glucose in the blood. Now, this excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine.

Types of Diabetes

Lets now have a detailed look on the types of diabetes and there treatment.

Type 1 Diabetes: It is a condition when the pancreas is unable to make the hormone insulin. In type 1 diabetes, a person’s cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed.

There is no exact reason as to why this happens, but scientists think genes might be a reason. Other reasons might be a person getting exposed to something else - like a virus - to get type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms:

Frequent urination: A person with diabetes needs to urinate more frequently and in larger volumes as the kidneys don’t respond to high levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

Too much of Thirst: A person becomes too much thirsty as he/she is losing so much fluid from peeing to help avoid becoming dehydrated.

Weight loss: If he/she fails to gain weight as he or she grows, in spite of a good appetite, then it is also alarming.

One often feels tired because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly.

Treatment:

1) A person with type 1 diabetes depends on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to control their blood glucose levels.

2) Checking blood sugar levels a few times a day by testing a small blood sample.

3) Regular exercise to help control blood sugar levels.

Type 2 Diabetes: It is a condition when the body is unable to respond to insulin normally. Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, most people with type 2 diabetes can still produce insulin, but not enough to meet their body’s needs.

A major distinction is that most people with type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of diagnosis. However, this is not the ideal condition and the disease can also develop in lean people, especially if elderly.

Genetic aspect is also taken into account in case of type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight (especially around the waist) significantly increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms:

• increased production of urine
• unusual thirst
• tiredness (because the glucose goes to waste and not being converted into energy)
• loss of weight
• increased appetite
• feeling sick
• blurred vision
• infections such as thrush or irritation of the genitals
• Some people simply feel a bit unwell or assume they are just ageing.

Treatment:

Patients with Type 2 are usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.

Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes which affects pregnant women. It is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy reduce a woman’s receptivity to insulin, leading to high blood sugar levels.

Symptoms:

Its symptoms are similar as Type 2 diabetes. It includes increased thirst, increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, bladder and yeast infection, and blurred vision.

Treatment:

1) Women with gestational diabetes must keep a tab on their blood sugar level, physical activity and whatever she eats and drinks.

2) Some may also need to take insulin, to help manage their diabetes if blood sugar is shooting up.

Long term health problems due to Diabetes

If diabetes is not adequately controlled on time, then a patient might develop complications like hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, and nonketotic hypersosmolar coma.

Diseases like cardiovascular disease, retinal damage, chronic kidney failure and erectile dysfunction are some other long term complications.

Compiled by: Shruti Saxena



First Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 13:28

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