Technically speaking, Diabetes is referred to an ailment where the levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood goes higher than a ‘normal limit’. Let’s begin at the beginning, shall we? Glucose – a chemical compound responsible for providing our bodies with energy – enters the body through the food we eat. This glucose must subsequently be converted into energy to sustain the body’s many activities. This crucial function of conversion is entrusted to a hormone called Insulin. Insulin is generated from a gland called the Pancreas. The problem arises when the Insulin produced by the Pancreas is not enough, or when the Pancreas fails to produce Insulin entirely. In such cases, the body’s quantities of glucose cannot be transformed into energy to the extent required, causing the glucose levels inside our body to rise, and leading to the medical condition the world calls Diabetes. An individual diagnosed with Diabetes is referred to as diabetic. There are various types of Diabetes, including Diabetes type 1 and Diabetes type 2. While type 1 Diabetes is more common with kids and younger people, Type 2 Diabetes – the more common type – usually affects those above the age of 40. Do bear in mind that you don’t need to actually have Diabetes to be wary of it: If your blood glucose levels are above normal but not high enough to be categorized as Diabetes, you may be suffering from what is called a ‘pre-Diabetes’ condition with a high probability of turning into a full-fledged diabetic if you don’t make necessary dietary and lifestyle changes fast. With over 50 million diabetic citizens, India is called the diabetic capital of the world, with experts predicting that by 2030, almost 98 million people in the country may have Type 2 Diabetes. There’s no remedy as such to a diabetic condition except following the doctor’s advice and recommended medication. However, there are steps one can adopt to stave off the probability of Diabetes or keeping it in check if one has been affected.
When the body has high blood glucose levels for extended period of time, it can damage the body’s organs. To top it all, Diabetes can potentially lead to critical – and even sometimes fatal – problems like stroke, heart attack and ailments of the kidneys, eyes, nerves, feet and even gums. In fact, illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pancreatic cancer and even Cushing’s syndrome have also been linked to Diabetes.
Pancreas is a gland that is situated behind and below the stomach, and it produces a hormone known as Insulin. The Pancreas discharges Insulin into the bloodstream, the Insulin circulates in the blood allowing sugar to reach the cells in the body. By converting sugar into energy, Insulin decreases (or balances) the amount of sugar in our bloodstream. With the level of the blood sugar decreasing, the discharge of Insulin from the Pancreas decreases too.
Diabetes can be of several types, such as:
Type 1 Diabetes – Most common in children, this happens when the Pancreas does not produce Insulin at all.
Type 2 Diabetes – Most common in adults, this happens when the Pancreas does not produce enough Insulin. This is the most common type of Diabetes.
Type 3 Diabetes – This is diagnosed when a person has Alzheimer’s disease resulting from type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The ability of the brain to break down sugar efficiently is significantly impaired.
Gestational Diabetes – This develops during pregnancy, typically disappearing after patient giving birth.
Diabetes LADA (latent autoimmune Diabetes in adults) – This condition happens when the Pancreas stops producing Insulin as a reaction that gradually harms the Insulin-producing cells in the Pancreas.
Diabetes MODY (maturity onset Diabetes of the young) – This is strongly hereditary, and is a rare form of Diabetes different from type 1 and type 2. Mutations in an autosomal gene is the main cause, resulting in disruption in Insulin production.
Double Diabetes – This condition develops when someone with type 1 Diabetes develops Insulin resistance, which is symbolic of Type 2 Diabetes.
Steroid-induced Diabetes – People who have Type 2 Diabetes as a result of long-term use of corticosteroids.
Brittle or labile Diabetes – This type of Diabetes is hard to control, as the blood glucose levels keep shifting between too low (hypoglycemia) and too high (hyperglycemia).
Secondary Diabetes – This is when a person has Diabetes as an effect of another medical condition.
Diabetes insipidus – This is a rare form of Diabetes, not related to Diabetes mellitus. This disorder is uncommon and causes imbalance of bodily fluid, and as a result makes one very thirsty even if one drinks plenty of fluids and also leads to frequent urination.
Juvenile Diabetes – Diabetes in the young.
Here are diabetes symptoms and warning signs that both women and men have in common, for example:
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