Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus (Type 1 and Type 2), is a chronic disease which happens when the body is no longer able to sustain necessary levels of insulin or utilize the insulin in the body (the difference being due to Type 1 or Type 2), or when the pancreas is no longer able to produce insulin. Not being able to use or make insulin effectively leads to high blood sugar (glucose) levels (which is known as hyperglycemia). Over the long term, raised glucose levels can cause damage/harm to the nerve systems by stopping important messages from getting to, and from the brain. The nerve damage is known as neuropathy.
Diabetes is actually the fastest growing long term disease and it affects millions of people all over the world. This condition can lead to serious health issues, including kidney failure, stroke, heart attack, blindness, foot ulcers, amputations, and even complications during pregnancy. With that said, let’s take a look at the types of diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
There are 3 main types of diabetes. They include;
-Type 1 diabetes; Type 1 diabetes (which used to be known as juvenile diabetes), is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks and then destroys cells in the pancreas which make insulin. Type 1 diabetes mostly develops in young people, however, it can also develop in adults. With this type of diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin because the immune system has attacked and/or destroyed the insulin producing cells. About 5% of people who have diabetes got type 1 diabetes. People who have type 1 diabetes have to take insulin on a daily basis in order to stay alive.
-Type 2 diabetes; Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body doesn’t produce adequate insulin, or when the liver, fat and muscle cells don’t react to insulin. It’s usually associated with obesity, and it’s more common in middle aged and older people. This is the most common type of diabetes and about 95% of the adults with diabetes got type 2 diabetes. People who have type 2 diabetes can try to manage the condition through proper diet and appropriate exercises, however, over time most of them will need oral drugs and/or insulin.
-Gestational diabetes; Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes which occurs during pregnancy to women who’ve never had diabetes before, but experience high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It’s caused by hormones of pregnancy or lack of adequate insulin in the body. Gestational diabetes can lead to health issues for both the mother and the baby, if it’s not controlled. This type of diabetes affects about 4% of pregnant women and usually goes away after the baby is born. However, having gestational diabetes raises the risk for developing type 2 diabetes later on.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Many people with this condition tend to experience one of more symptoms. Some of the main symptoms of diabetes include, but not limited to; extreme hunger, increased thirst, fatigue, and a frequent need to urinate. In addition to this, some patients complain of weight loss, and loss of muscle bulk. Other signs include; itchy skin, blurry eyesight, sores which heal slowly, a tingling in the feet, and loss of feeling in the feet. With that said, it’s important to note that there are some people with diabetes who have no symptoms at all.