a family cooks a healthy meal to prevent the onset of diabetes

Diabetes Causes

Diabetes, technically known as diabetes mellitus, is a set of related metabolic diseases characterized by the body's inability to regulate blood sugar, particularly glucose. Glucose is the the sugar substance in blood that fuels daily activity. There are three primary forms of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, which accounts for 10% of all cases in the United States, the body fails to produce sufficient insulin. In type 2 diabetes cells cannot properly use what insulin is secreted by the pancreas. To compensate the body produces even more insulin. Gestational diabetes occurs during in female pregnancy when woman have high levels of glucose. Although gestational diabetes usually recedes after the pregnancy is over, it often precedes the development of the type 2 form. Other forms of diabetes such as congenital diabetes are a variation of the three mentioned.

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the pancreas cells that create insulin. People (woman in particular) with a family history of the disease are have a greater chance of developing it. Diabetes causes also include environmental factors. Individuals with high blood pressure, a history of gestational diabetes and obesity are more prone to developing type 2 diabetes. There is also a correlation with old age. People 45 and older tend to be more at risk.

Diabetes Signs and Symptoms

There are many symptoms and complications associated with diabetes mellitus, but three that are significant. They are increased hunger (polyphagia), frequent urination (polyuria), and increased thirst (polydipsia). The increased hunger is caused by the increase in insulin production. Insulin is known to stimulate hunger and eating. Despite the uptick in calories, a person with diabetes will see little or no weight gain. Frequent urination is the body's way of flushing out the excessive sugar in the system which in turn leads to an increase in thirst as the body becomes dehydrated. Other diabetes symptoms include slow healing of wounds, blurry vision, infections, irritability and feeling extremely lethargic. Many of these symptoms can be subtle.

Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes treatment is highly customized as severity of symptoms among patients vary greatly. Doctors also have to account for what other disease of illness a patient might posses when prescribing treatment. The first thing a newly diagnosed diabetes patient should do is educate themselves on their particular type. There is an assortment of diabetes information available. Learning as much as possible from your doctor is essential.

Medical treatment of type 1 diabetes involves routine injection of insulin. This is done to compensate for the bodies inability to produce its own insulin. The delivery method must be done through injections because the digestive system would destroy insulin if taken orally. The patient is closely monitored for a period of time at the beginning of treatment until the frequency and dosage levels are certain to meet the patients needs. It is common for most patients to inject themselves. Type 2 diabetes is sometimes treatable without medication. Patients are advised to change their lifestyles and lose weight. If this method is unsuccessful after six months, a drug is prescribed to assist in controlling blood sugar levels.

Diabetic Lifestyle Changes

Aside from medication, there are several things a patient may do to improve their diabetes condition. The first is to consume healthy food. A healthy diet is integral in optimizing blood sugar levels. This is especially advisable for overweight patients. Food should be low in saturated fat and sugar yet high in fiber. Exercise is also essential. regular exercise, even something as little at a half hour walk every day, can go a long way in improving the effects of diabetes.

Last Updated: April 18, 2018