Diabetes: An Introduction
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body metabolizes food into energy. Its chief symptom is a high blood sugar level. When we eat food, the food is broken down into glucose and released into the bloodstream. Diabetes occurs when either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or the body does not react or respond to the insulin being produced. This imbalance of insulin in the body prevents the glucose from leaving your bloodstream, which leads to the trademark symptom.
There are 2 types of diabetes:
Type 1: In such cases, the pancreas’ inability to produce adequate levels of insulin is due to a loss of beta cells in the organ. Beta cells are lost due to an autoimmune disorder, the cause of which is unknown as of now. Daily insulin injections are needed to deal with the condition. Type 1 diabetes roughly affects 5-10% of all diabetic patients. It is also called ‘Juvenile diabetes’ since it usually affects children, teens, and young adults.
Type 2: This is the most common type of diabetes worldwide and usually occurs when the body develops a resistance to insulin. It usually develops over time and is mostly diagnosed in adults, though more and more children and young adults are also being diagnosed with the same.
Type 2 diabetes could be hereditary but maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle can help to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes
Apart from these 2, there is another kind of diabetes that develops in pregnant women known as Gestational diabetes. This occurs in women who haven’t had a history of diabetes before, and it goes away post-delivery of the baby.
However, these women can run the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life and the baby could also be at risk of type 2 diabetes or obesity as a child or teenager.
Symptoms of diabetes
Diabetes occurs mostly over time and there are a lot of warning signs of the same. Consult your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Weight loss without even trying
- Blurry vision
- Numbness in hands and feet
- Dry skin and sores which take longer to heal
- Having more infections than normal
In addition, some people with Type 1 may also experience nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
Benefits of regular diabetes checkups
Earlier, diabetes was considered an issue usually reserved for older people, but now more and more young adults, teenagers, and children are developing it. Diabetes may be genetic in some cases, but in many more, it can be prevented and/or delayed by way of maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle.
Regular screenings and checkups for diabetes can work as a preemptive measure, especially if diabetes runs in the family. These screenings can inform the person of their present sugar levels if they’re prediabetic (at very high risk of developing diabetes) or not, insulin levels, and blood pressure levels. Through this information, the patient can make appropriate changes in their lifestyle with respect to their diet, exercise regimen, and other habits that need to be cultivated (such as portion control, switching to white meat) or stopped (smoking, alcohol use). It is important to note, however, that such changes must only be made with the help of a doctor or medical professional.