Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus) is a medical condition in which the body cannot carry out activities or processes effectively on carbohydrates due to the high content of sugar or glucose present in the blood over a very long period of time. Carbohydrates are essential nutrients that provide energy to the body for developing muscles and carrying out its functions as well as a source of fuel for the human brain. When carbohydrate is consumed by the body, it is broken down into sugars also referred to as glucose, and is sent into the bloodstream. The pancreas is given a signal to release insulin when the sugar content in your blood is high. Insulin is a hormone used to transfer these sugars to your cells to be converted to energy. As the sugar in the blood is reduced, equally the amount of insulin is reduced.
In the case of diabetes, the body cannot produce a sufficient amount of insulin or cannot put the insulin produced by the pancreas to carry out its functions.
There are quite a number of things that can cause diabetes, but they vary according to the types of diabetes as well as their solutions. The types of diabetes include;
- Chronic diabetes; which is further divided into; type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes
Symptoms (all types)
These symptoms depend on how elevated the sugar content in the blood is. People with pre-diabetes are most likely not going to experience these symptoms at all or as severely as people suffering from chronic diabetes. These include;
- Urinating frequently
- Stomach upsets
- Unhealthy weight loss
- Increased thirst
- Recurring skin or pubic infections
- Increased hunger
- Unclear vision
- Type 1 diabetes is basically diagnosed at any age, usually during childhood. It is a condition in which the body stops producing insulin. A daily intake of insulin is needed to survive this type of diabetes.
CAUSES OF TYPE 1 DIABETES
- Other causes of type 1diabetes are yet to be confirmed. The only cause known is that the body system attacks its own cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot efficiently utilize the insulin produced and eventually results in an elevated level of blood sugar. A larger percentage of diabetic patients have type 2 diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in adults but still more in children and youth. Living a healthy lifestyle including maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy diet, and exercising, contributes to preventing or delaying this type of diabetes.
CAUSES OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
- Environmental factors
- Obesity (occasionally)
This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in pregnant women that have no trace of an earlier diabetes condition.
This is usually diagnosed as a stage that will progress into an actual diabetic condition if appropriate preventive measures are not taken. Pre-diabetes occurs when the sugar content in your blood is high but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. It can be reversed if discovered on time. At this stage, the symptoms might not be noticeable, so it is necessary to get your blood sugar tested. It has the same causes as Type 2 diabetes.
What are the effects of diabetes on your health (health complications)?
Long-term diabetes can have life-threatening effects on your health. These include;
- Loss of vision; Diabetes can lead to cataracts, glaucoma, or worst-case scenario, blindness, the longer it remains untreated in the body by damaging the blood vessels in the eye.
- Heart diseases; A diabetic patient is prone to various types of heart-related problems.
- Skin conditions; Diabetes can lead to skin infections and make you prone to other skin-related problems.
- Depression; Diabetes can also lead to psychological problems like depression and it is common among people with chronic diabetes.
- Nephropathy; is also referred to as kidney damage. Diabetes can damage the kidney system and cause conditions like kidney failure or other kidney-related diseases.
- Hearing problems; long term diabetes can affect your hearing.
- Neuropathy; is also referred to as nerve damage and is common amongst people with diabetes. Excess sugar harms the walls of your blood vessels called the capillaries; they are responsible for nerve nourishment. Diabetes if left untreated can cause a person to lose all sense of feeling especially in the legs.