Understanding Diabetes: Types and Causes

Whether you know someone with diabetes or you don’t know anyone that’s got it, it’s worth understanding what the different types are and how they can affect you, being able to identify the symptoms and causes is a valuable skill to have and could even save yours or a loved one’s life. So let’s take a look and gain a brief understanding of what it’s all about. 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

What is Diabetes? 

First of all, let’s look at what it actually is. Diabetes is a disease that affects your blood sugar levels, also known as your blood glucose level, and occurs when levels are too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and we get it from the food we eat. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas and helps control the glucose from food and it assists with getting into your body cells so it can use it as energy. 

 

Type 1 Diabetes 

 

Type 1 is where the levels of glucose, or blood sugar, in your body become too high. This happens when your pancreas isn’t able to produce enough of the hormone insulin. This means that if you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to inject your body every day with insulin so it’s able to keep your blood glucose levels under control. Being able to manage this can take some getting used to but it won’t affect you being able to do many things in your life, you will still be able to live a normal life. 

Type 1 diabetes isn’t linked with age or being overweight and will often be with a person from birth, it also can develop over a few weeks or even days. They can develop very quickly amongst children. 

Knowing the symptoms is important and if you should see your doctor if you have them: 

  • Feeling very thirsty 
  • Urinating more frequently, especially during the night 
  • Feeling tired or lethargic 
  • Losing weight 
  • Having recurring thrush 
  • Having blurred vision 
  • Cuts not healing quickly 

If you go to the doctor due to concerns over having these symptoms, then they will most probably ask you for a urine sample and perform a blood glucose test, if they believe you might have diabetes then they will ask you to go to a hospital as soon as you can for an assessment. If you’re diagnosed then don’t worry, you aren’t alone. You’ll be shown everything you need to do and have everything explained in detail before you’re left to do anything alone. 

 

Type 2 Diabetes 

 

Much like type 1 diabetes, type 2 is a disease that affects the pancreas’s ability to make insulin, therefore, being unable to control the body’s blood glucose levels. The main difference between the two is that type 2 diabetes is most commonly down to diet and exercise and it’s unlike type 1 that can go into remission. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a serious disease and should be taken very seriously. 

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are largely the same as type 1 with some of them being more common than others, feeling tired tends to be a symptom that many people with type 2 encounter. Bearing this in mind, there are many cases where people have no symptoms whatsoever, but fortunately, we live in an age where you can easily check for type 2 diabetes with a blood glucose meter. It’s worth researching and getting a meter that you know is going to be accurate as you don’t want to believe you have diabetes when you don’t, this could lead you to medicate a condition you don’t have!

You can treat type 2 diabetes by eating healthier and partaking in regular exercise, having said this there are still some cases that require medication to keep it under control. 

 

Pre Diabetes 

 

Many people have high blood sugar levels and this is often referred to as ‘pre-diabetes’. This is where you have above normal levels of glucose in your blood. If you find yourself in this situation then it isn’t too late to change your habits and drastically reduce your chance of getting type 2 diabetes. If you feel that you might have it then it’s worth getting tested as soon as you possibly can because if it’s left untreated then it will progressively get worse the longer it’s left. 

What causes diabetes? 

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that you are either born with or develop due to your pancreas being unable to produce insulin. There are no lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent you from having this. 

Type 2 diabetes is predominantly caused by maintaining an unhealthy diet and not exercising, being obese is another cause that’s helped on by the previous. Other causes include genetics, medication, and stress. 

If you think you might have any of the symptoms, then it’s worth going to see your doctor for some clarity, there are 29 million diagnosed people in the USA alone with an estimated 8 million undiagnosed. Getting treatment early will stop the progression of the disease and enable you to continue living your life, so don’t want until it’s too late.  

 

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