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[Diabetes and Prevention]

What is diabetes and how do I prevent it?

By Virtue Medical Group | Created on: April 1, 2022

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes, a chronic health condition occurs when our blood glucose level (also known as blood sugar level) becomes very high. This condition arises when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or are unable to utilize the insulin it produces. According to a study in the United States in 2002, more than 16 million men, women, and children in the United States have diabetes mellitus. Among them, approximately 10 million have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, while another 5 million with type 2 diabetes are unaware of their disease. Besides, around 1 million individuals have Type 1 diabetes. When the amount of insulin in our body is low, cells don’t respond to insulin. This condition results in extremely high sugar levels in our bodies. This condition can lead to serious health issues like heart diseases, vision loss, and kidney disorders. There is no known cure for this chronic health condition. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, getting awareness about the signs and symptoms at an early stage, recognizing its risk factors and complications, and at the same time adopting measures to prevent this unhealthy condition can help in lowering the chance of future infections.

After this article, you will be completely aware of even the slightest details of this disease.

Types of Diabetes

Generally, three main types of diabetes have been seen: Diabetes Type 1, Diabetes Type 2, gestational diabetes (which occurs during pregnancy) and another type known as pre-diabetes.

Diabetes Type 1:

Diabetes Type 1 is also known as an autoimmune disease. This condition occurs due to the destruction of cells in the pancreas by the action of the immune system. This type of diabetes is observed primarily in children and young adults. General symptoms of this type develop very quickly. Only 5-10% of patients have this type of diabetes. If you have Type 1 diabetes you need to intake insulin every day.

Diabetes Type 2:

During diabetes Type 2 conditions, the body is unable to utilize insulin properly. Due to this, it can’t maintain blood sugar at normal levels. Type 2 diabetes affects 90-95% of diabetes patients. This type of diabetes takes many years to develop and is often seen in adults (but more common in children, teens, and young adults). Moreover, if at risk, then you need to get your sugar levels checked regularly. You might not see visible symptoms of this type. Type 2 diabetes can be avoided or prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes losing weight, eating healthy foods, and staying active.

Gestational Diabetes:

Some women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Mostly, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, sometimes this type of diabetes further converts into diabetes type 2.

Prediabetes: 

Prediabetes is a type of diabetes when your blood sugar level is higher than normal. However, it is not that high to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

How common is diabetes? 

According to the recent statistics of 2021, the infectivity rate with this disease is growing enormously, including in the United States. The number of people diagnosed with the disease has surpassed 25 million in recent years. The state in the US with the highest rate of infectivity is Mississippi. Diabetes is the Eighth leading cause of death in the US. 

What are the risks of each diabetes type?

Certain risk factors are very critical for this disease. 

Type 1: If you have a family history of diabetes type 1 you are at risk. Injury to the pancreas or the presence of autoantibodies is also a risk factor for diabetes. Any type of physical illness or exposure to infection caused by viruses can also be dangerous. 

Type 2: Family history of prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes can increase the chances of infection. Being obese, having high blood pressure, and physical inactiveness can also increase the chances. Furthermore, having 45 years of age or older than this, and smoking can increase the risks. 

 Prediabetes: Being overweight before pregnancy or having a family history of type 2 diabetes. Being 25 years of age or older than this. 

Symptoms:

General symptoms of this disease include: 

  • Increased feeling of thirst 
  • Tired, feeling weak 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Tingling or apathy in hand or feet 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Slow healing of sores and wounds 
  • Dry mouth Increased hunger 

Other Gender-specific symptoms include: 

In women, frequent yeast infections or other urinary tract infections are also seen. Along with this, dry and itchy skin is experienced. 
In men, decreased muscle strength, decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction has been more common.

Complications:

Very high sugar levels harm tissues and organs of the body. The longer you live with high blood sugar, the greater is the risk of getting complications in later life. The following points would give you an idea about the complications related to diabetes. 

  • Certain Cardiovascular disorders include high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, risks of stroke, coronary artery infections and atherosclerosis. 
  • Neuropathy is a certain nervous disorder that causes tingling and numbness starting from toes and fingers and spreads in the whole body. 
  • Many types of kidney damage lead to dialysis and transplant. 
  • Retinopathy is a disorder causing vision loss. Sometimes cataracts or glaucoma. 
  • Skin and foot infections lead to slow healing of wounds and sores. 
  • Depression, dental problems and Dementia. 

 

Preventions:

Completely preventing diabetes is not under our control. Among the main types, Type 1 diabetes is not curable and preventable as it is caused by the action of the immune system. Additionally, the effect of certain factors on diabetes type 2 like age and genes can’t be controlled. However, making a few changes in your diet and daily eating habits can help in preventing some types of diabetes type 2.  Controlling Pre-diabetes so, that it won’t enter type 2 diabetes is a critical practice. 

Some other tips that you can adopt to avoid diabetes type 2 are: 
Taking an aerobic exercise for at least 25 minutes i-e walking or cycling can be very beneficial. Eating more and more fruits and vegetables and consuming whole grains to make your diet healthier. Another tip is to eat food in smaller portions. Also, manage to lose 7% of your total body weight if you are obese or overweight. 

We highly recommend you schedule a visit with your family doctor and schedule an annual visit.

Takeaways:

No doubt, diabetes is a chronic infection and can become very dangerous if not given proper attention. Some types like Type 1 are not under our control as they are under the influence of the immune system. However, some other types such as type 2 diabetes can prevented by the management of our diet and lifestyle should be controlled. 

Article category: Category: Diabetes, Diabetes Type 2, Type 1, blood sugar

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