What is Diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a chronic metabolic disease that affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar for energy. It is a medical condition affecting people of all ages that can lead to serious health problems if it is not managed correctly. It is imperative to know the signs and risks of diabetes so you or anyone susceptible can stay healthy or get the needed information and help to reverse this.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide have investigated about 1.5 million adult patients and reported that many people are unknowingly living with diabetes or are at significant risk of developing life-threatening symptoms.
What is the Role of Insulin in Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. People with diabetes either do not make enough insulin or their bodies cannot utilise it properly. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used for energy.
High blood sugar can damage nerves and blood vessels which can ultimately progress to heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness.
Types of Diabetes
The different types of diabetes all have one problem in common, the body is not capable of producing enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly resulting in high levels of sugar or glucose in the blood.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)
Also known as Type 1 diabetes, IDDM is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. This results in a complete loss of insulin production and requires daily injections of insulin for survival. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence but can occur in adults.
As shared by SA Health, the 1995 Australian National Health Survey showed a 19% prevalence of Type 1 diabetes out of the 430,700 self-reported diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a widely-known and prevalent type around the world. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Occurs during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA)
LADA is a slowly progressive form of autoimmune diabetes that is typically diagnosed in adulthood. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which typically develops in childhood, LADA progresses more slowly and may not require insulin therapy for years. Though eventually, most people with LADA will need insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
What is prediabetes
Prediabetes refers to higher than normal blood sugar levels, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. The body is having trouble processing sugar properly and if left unchecked, prediabetes can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Signs and Symptoms
Here are a few signs and symptoms of diabetes that you can look out for especially if you have a family history of diabetes or have comorbidities.
One of the 3 Ps of diabetes, polyuria is caused by the increased level of sugar in the blood, which forces the kidneys to work overtime to filter it out. This can lead to dehydration and an urge to urinate more often than usual.
Increased thirst and Extreme hunger
Another symptom is polydipsia. When the body is trying to get rid of the excess sugar, it leads to increased thirst. On the other hand, an increase in appetite due to diabetes is called polyphagia. Hunger doesn’t go away even after eating a full meal.
This is caused by the body’s inability to use glucose for energy. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the body cannot convert it to energy, leading to fatigue.
When the sugar level in the blood is too high, it can cause the lens of the eye to swell, resulting in blurred vision. In severe cases, blindness.
Diabetes can cause poor circulation, which can lead to slower healing of wounds. Patients with diabetes are advised not to undergo surgical procedures readily.
Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
When there is too much sugar in the blood, it can damage the nerves, leading to numbness or tingling in the extremities.
This is caused by the body’s inability to use glucose for energy. When the body cannot convert glucose to energy, it will start to break down muscle and fat for energy, leading to weight loss.
Women with diabetes are more prone to yeast infections. This is because high levels of sugar in the blood can promote the growth of yeast.
Diabetes can cause a variety of skin problems, such as darkening of the skin, itching, and rashes.
This is a symptom of diabetes that can be caused by nerve damage or damage to the blood vessels. High levels of sugar in the blood can damage the blood vessels, leading to impotence.
In order to carefully manage the symptoms and assist a diabetic patient, a certificate in first aid Adelaide is an asset to employers, family, and the community.
What are the Dangers of Diabetes?
People with diabetes need to be very careful in managing their conditions and stay healthy as complications associated with diabetes include:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nephropathy – kidney disease
- Neuropathy – nerve damage
- Retinopathy – eye damage
- Foot problems due to gangrene – the death of tissue due to a lack of blood flow. Diabetes is also a leading cause of amputations.
How Likely I Would Get Diabetes?
There are several groups of people who are at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes. These are as follows:
- Are overweight or obese
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, or Asian American
- Have high blood pressure
- Have abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels-Are physically inactive
- Have a history of gestational diabetes or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
If you have any of these risk factors, it’s important to talk to your doctor about ways to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes.
What Lifestyle Factors Affect Diabetes Risk?
If a person’s daily routine involves having a sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food, smoking, or drinking too much alcohol for many years, then most likely chances of developing diabetes is inevitable.
Can you get diabetes overnight?
No, you cannot get diabetes overnight. Diabetes is a chronic condition that develops over time. However, you may be at risk for developing the disease if you have certain risk factors previously mentioned.
How Can You Reduce the Risk of Diabetes?
Maintain healthy body weight. Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.
Eat a healthy diet. A diet that is high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of diabetes.
Get regular exercise. Exercise can help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels and improve your insulin sensitivity.
Quit smoking. Smoking is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including Type 2 diabetes. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.
Reduce your stress levels. Stress can increase your blood sugar levels and contribute to weight gain. Finding ways to manage your stress can help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Is There a Test That Could Indicate My Risk of Getting Diabetes?
There are a few tests that could be indicative of your risk for diabetes such as the fasting plasma glucose test or the oral glucose tolerance test. However, your best bet is to talk to your doctor about your specific risks. They can help you determine if you should be tested and how often.
What Does Diabetes Education Consist of?
Diabetes education is an important part of diabetes management. It can help people better understand the condition and how to effectively manage it. This can be provided by a variety of healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses, dietitians, and diabetes educators.
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