What Is Diabetes?


Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by high levels of blood glucose. According to diabetes research the causes may be due to environmental, genetic and infectious factors. With a medical treatment, diabetics can control their condition in combination with an appropriate meal plan.

Diabetes is a disorder that causes an imbalance in the level of glucose in the blood. If not treated properly, it can generate hormonal, digestive and muscular disorders over extended periods.

Years ago, some diabetes research detected new cases of diabetes more frequently in autumn and winter than in spring and summer. This evidence gave the suspicion of possible influences of infectious virus as the problem source. There have also been experimentations with laboratory animals and the results point in the same direction. In general, epidemiological studies of families with some of its members affected indicate that the relatives of diabetics are exposed to a greater risk than others. Also disturbing is the frequency with which appears diagnosed in certain countries. Most polls conducted helped detect within its causes, genetic, environmental and infectious factors.

Diabetes can cause many complications. If the disease is not controlled properly, certain illnesses can occur such as: hypoclycemia or nonketotic hypersmolar coma. Some serious complications can be: long-term cardiovascular disease, suffering chronic renal system, blindness, micro-vascular damage that can cause impotence and slow recovery from injuries. The slow recovery of the injuries, mainly in the feet, can cause gangrene resulting in amputations.

An appropriate treatment for diabetes, as well as strict control blood pressure and control of their lifestyle (quit smoking, eat more healthily, etc..) may reduce the risk of experiencing the kinds of complications mentioned above. In developed countries, diabetes is a major factor for blindness in adults as well as the main cause of most amputations performed. So the care and control of diabetes is a case to take into account very seriously throughout the world.

Diabetes Type 1: Symptoms and Preventive Measures

Blood sugar or glucose level refers to the amount of sugar present in our blood. When food is taken in, the body breaks it down into the simplest form, glucose. Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. The cells extract glucose from the blood stream by using insulin. Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus occurs when the body loses its ability to produce insulin making the extraction of glucose from the blood stream impossible. As a result, the sugar content in the blood increases.
The symptoms for DM type 1, formerly known as juvenile-onset diabetes, may vary for each individual. The first major sign is really the abnormally high blood sugar content which is, usually, dispersed and seen in the urine. Sometimes, DM type 1 occurs without any signs or symptoms. The following are the more common signs and symptoms: Excessive thirst, polyuria or frequent urination, weight loss, blurry eyesight, nausea, increased fatigue, and mood swings or irritability.

Though there is still no cure for diabetes, it is important that the afflicted should seek treatment immediately in order to minimize other health risks. Blood sugar levels should be maintained in optimum levels. Delaying treatment and not controlling the disease will lead to more serious health problems such as heart disease, nerve damage, and others.

Here are some of the suggestions and tips in managing and controlling diabetes. Eat healthy! By watching your carbohydrate intake and following a strict diabetic diet plan, blood glucose levels can be managed. Consult your doctor or a dietitian about coming up with a plan that suits you and your lifestyle. Check your blood sugar levels regularly. A regular visit or check-up can be arranged with your medical professional after diagnosis. Get physical exercise and do it regularly. Exercise helps with maintaining a healthy weight and can be very significant in managing the disease as a whole. Lastly, never skip a medication when it is prescribed. Sometimes, medications are necessary. Insulin prescriptions, sometimes injections, are given to the patient especially to more serious cases.

To remain healthy, diabetics must make significant changes in their lifestyle and develop better habits in order to adapt to this lifelong disease. With the will and desire to be healthy paired with today’s advancements in the medical field, living a fulfilling life with the disease is certainly not impossible.

Diabetes Type 2 and its Different Causes

If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with diabetes, questions will always arise. One in particular is “What is Diabetes Type 2 and what causes it”?

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, formerly known as Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, is frequently diagnosed in people above 40. More commonly known as adult-onset diabetes, it occurs when the pancreas, similar to several other components of the body, does not function well due to old age or impairment. It does not produce enough insulin to deal with blood sugar in the blood.

DM type 2 can also be related to Cushing’s syndrome, sometimes called hypercortisolism. It is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure of the body’s tissues to high levels of the hormone, cortisol. Cushing’s syndrome is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults aged 20 to 50. People who are obese and have type 2 diabetes, along with poorly controlled blood glucose and high blood pressure, have an increased risk of developing the disorder.

DM type 2 could, in fact, be genetic. If a member of the family is diabetic, the chances of developing the condition for another member are high.

Though, this could also be connected to habits and lifestyle of the person.

The recent dramatic increase indicates that lifestyle factors, obesity and sedentary lifestyle, may be particularly important in triggering the genetic elements that cause this type of diabetes.

One of the ideal strategies in treating diabetes is developing better eating habits. Food is transformed into glucose in the body. Excessive eating can affect the body because the pancreas may find it difficult to produce sufficient insulin needed. A dietitian can recommend a diet plan which can meet your requirements and suit your lifestyle. For the most part, this diet can range from eight hundred to fifteen hundred calories each day, depending on your height and weight. This may include a program for lesser carbohydrates intake at certain intervals within a day. Fatty foods, sweets and alcohol are discouraged. However, whole-wheat or whole grain bread and greens are recommended.

Following your diet is a necessity. This is included in your treatment which aims also to minimize, if not eliminate, the risk of developing more serious problems to your health such as heart and kidney disease, nerve damage – neuropathy, eye disease and other complications.

Many individuals have had their legs, toes or feet amputated because of erratic diabetic control.
Unlike Diabetes mellitus Type 1, DM type 2 can be controlled and is more manageable. By following the recommended regimen, one can be able to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy body, in general. Strictly following the diabetic diet may be difficult at first; but with support from your family and the will to live a healthy fulfilling life, being diagnosed with diabetes may not seem as frustrating as it seems.

Gestational Diabetes: A Cause for Concern in Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes mellitus or GDM is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Approximately four percent of all pregnant women are affected by gestational diabetes. The condition, similar to type 2 diabetes mellitus, occurs when the body is unable to properly process insulin causing high levels of blood sugar. It usually occurs during the second trimester but, usually, subsides after giving birth. If left untreated though, gestational diabetes can cause harm to mother and the baby.
What triggers gestational diabetes? Gestational diabetes starts when a woman’s body is incapable of producing or using insulin in the body due to hormonal changes caused by pregnancy. The placenta produces a variety of hormones vital to the preservation of the pregnancy. Ironically, several of these hormones such as estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen (HPL) have a blocking effect on insulin, a contra-insulin effect. Thus, there is insulin resistance. In most women, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. When the pancreas makes all the insulin it can and there still isn’t enough to overcome the effect of the placenta’s hormones, gestational diabetes results.
Who is at risk for gestational diabetes? A woman who is over 25 years of age, has a family history of type 2 diabetes, experienced gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy, is overweight, had a previous pregnancy resulting in unexplained stillbirth or an infant with a birth weight over nine pounds; or is of African descent, Hispanic, or Native American.

Expectant mothers who have GDM may experience increased thirst, fatigue, excessive urination or polyuria, and other symptoms which are commonly associated to diabetes mellitus. Unfortunately, those same symptoms are normal for any pregnancy. Before diagnosis, sometimes gestational diabetes often has no symptoms at all. If a woman is considered at risk, regular testing during prenatal examinations are highly recommended.

High levels of blood glucose circulating to the fetus can cause unusually large, fat babies or macrosomia. Extra blood glucose goes through the placenta, giving the baby high blood sugar levels. The baby’s pancreas in turn must make extra insulin to get rid of the extra glucose in the blood. Since the baby is getting excess glucose or extra energy than it needs to grow and develop, this is stored as fat. Macrosomic babies face health problems of their own, including shoulder damage at birth, or shoulder dystocia, because they are too large to fit through the birth canal. There is also at higher risk for breathing problems, jaundice and hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels, an effect by the presence of more insulin the body. Also increased risk for obesity and acquiring type 2 diabetes in their adulthood. GMD, though, has not generally been associated with birth defects.

How does gestational diabetes affect the mother? Upon delivery, women may need a cesarean section if the baby is macrosomic. Expectant mothers are also at increased risk for pre-eclampsia, a serious condition characterized by significant increases in blood pressure. Women with gestational diabetes are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure later in life.
An accurate diagnosis requires testing. Pregnant women at risk for developing gestational diabetes should be tested between their 24th and 28th week or earlier, if there are risk factors present; especially if the condition was present during a previous pregnancy.

When diagnosed, treatment includes special meal plans and scheduled physical activity or regular exercise, which helps lower blood sugars. It may also include daily blood glucose testing and, if necessary, insulin injections.

Work with your doctor, medical professional and other members of your health care team so that your gestational diabetes treatment can be adjusted according to your needs. Following the prescribed treatment for gestational diabetes will help ensure a healthy pregnancy and birth.

It is important to remember that you have a higher risk of gestational diabetes with your next pregnancy and a greater chance of becoming diabetic later in life. One or two months after the pregnancy, get a blood glucose test to ensure that your gestational diabetes is in fact gone. Regular exercise and maintain a healthy diet in order to minimize weight gain can help ensure good health throughout your life.

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