Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar (glucose) level to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. In type 1, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, while in type 2 the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells don’t respond properly to the insulin that is produced. In both cases, the body is unable to use glucose properly which leads to high levels in the bloodstream. High blood sugar levels can cause a number of problems, including heart disease, stroke, vision loss, nerve damage, and even kidney failure. This is why it’s important to receive a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for diabetes usually involves taking insulin as well as making lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Types of Diabetes
• Type 1 Diabetes
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Gestational Diabetes
• Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA)
• Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD)
• MODY – Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic health condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin on its own, requiring the body to rely on injections of insulin in order to process sugar, starches, and other food into energy. It is one of the most common chronic diseases in children and adolescents.
What is type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or does not properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin helps the body to convert sugar and other kinds of food into energy. People with type 2 diabetes either have to take medication or make dietary and lifestyle changes to help manage their condition.
Causes of diabetes
1. Genetics: If you have a family history of diabetes, you may be at a higher risk for developing the condition.
2. Obesity and Inactivity: Being overweight or inactive can lead to diabetes by causing your body to become resistant to insulin or by not producing enough insulin to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
3. High blood pressure: Having a diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure) increases your risk of developing diabetes.
4. Unhealthy Diet: Eating an unhealthy diet consisting of highly refined carbs, saturated fat, and trans fat can weaken your body’s ability to properly process glucose, leading to diabetes.
5. Sleep Disruption: Not getting enough quality sleep can increase your risk for diabetes by disrupting your body’s metabolism and glucose production.
6. Certain Medications: Some medications, such as steroids or high-dose antipsychotics, can increase your chance of developing diabetes.
Diabetes is caused by the body either not producing enough insulin or not using insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and is used to convert glucose (sugar) in the blood into energy that the body can use. If insulin cannot process the glucose properly, it builds up in the bloodstream, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels, which is what causes diabetes. Genetics and lifestyle factors, such as being overweight or having an unhealthy diet, can also increase the risk of diabetes.
The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes are:
1. Increased thirst and frequent urination
2. Extreme hunger
3. Unusual weight loss
5. Blurry vision
6. Slow-healing sores
7. Frequent/recurring infections
8. Dark, velvety patches of skin
How to prevent diabetes?
1. Eat Healthily: Eating a balanced diet can help manage weight, blood glucose levels, and cholesterol. Focus on making healthier food choices such as eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
2. Stay Active: Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day that includes aerobic and strength training. Exercise helps to regulate blood sugar, lose excess weight, and reduce insulin resistance.
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Weight management is key for preventing diabetes, as excess weight can increase insulin resistance. Reduce your calories if you need to lose weight and focus on healthy eating habits.
4. Get Enough Sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is essential for overall health and can help regulate blood sugar. Aim for 7 or 8 hours of sleep each night.
5. Limit Alcohol Intake: It’s important to limit alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking can affect blood glucose levels. Avoid drinking more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.
6. Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of diabetes as well as many other chronic health conditions. If you’re a smoker, try to quit as soon as possible.
7. Learn to Manage Stress: Stress can cause our bodies to release the stress hormone “cortisol”, which can disrupt the balance of glucose in the body and increase the risk of diabetes. Consider trying stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, or journaling.