The seventh-largest leading cause of death— Diabetes. Did you know? Most of the diabetic patients are from low-and middle-income countries. There are a lot of other facts that you are not aware of.
So, we try to discuss the quick facts about diabetes along with its types, causes, risk factors, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, complications, treatment, diet plan, and prevention. Moreover, we also discuss a special case of pregnancy and diabetes.
Before jumping directly into the causes and prevention, let’s first discuss what actually is diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the blood sugar level is higher than the normal due to the dysfunction of metabolic disorders. Medically, this condition is called Diabetes Mellitus (DM).
So, when the normal metabolic of a hormone— insulin abruptly, it causes increases in blood sugar level. However, there is no common cause of diabetic disease. This is because it differs from type to type of diabetes.
Moreover, insulin helps the body to use sugar from food. So, when insulin level drops in the body, the body is unable to use sugar. Hence, there is a condition — hyperglycemia, too high blood sugar level.
And as time passes, these over-saturated high levels of sugar can cause too many health problems. But the saddest thing for a diabetic patient is that there is not a cure for it. Hence, you have to manage it.
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Types of Diabetes
There are, in general, three types of diabetic diseases which are as follows:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
It is the common form of diabetes which is also known as juvenile diabetes. The word ‘juvenile’ is used because type 1 diabetes is common in young and children. The cause of this diabetic condition is when the body fails to produce insulin.
In addition, the cause of dysfunction of insulin production is due to some sort of pancreatic injury. In general, people eventually take shorts of artificial insulin for the normal function of their bodies.
What are the Causes of Type 1 Diabetes?
Generally, they are caused either by an autoimmune response or by some injuries in the pancreatic region of the body.
In the first scenario, the immune system starts destroying the pancreatic cells that are responsible to produce insulin. And these cells are called beta cells. On the other hand, another cause of this condition is the pancreatic injury that can cause infection in the pancreas.
Although there are no specific causes that are responsible for all sorts of diabetic 1 type conditions. But some are the causes that trigger autoimmune responses are:
- Infection— can be viral, fungal or bacterial
- Due to chemical toxins within food
- Unidentified components can also trigger the autoimmune reaction
- Genetic causes— in most cases
Sign and Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetic Condition
While talking about the signs and symptoms, they usually have complex signs that may also correlate to other diseases. And the symptoms might be mild and severe based on various factors.
However, these are the following common signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes.
- Dry mouth and feeling thirsty
- Facilitate obesity— due to increased hunger
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- In some case, unexplained weight loss
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Frequent infections of your skin and urinary tract
- Mood changes
- In children, bedwetting is common.
- Shaking, tremors and confusion
- Rapid breathing
- Fruity smell to your breath
- Abdomen and belly pain
- In rare cases, loss of consciousness
Treatment For Type 1 Diabetic Condition
In general, type 1 diabetes treatment usually means the daily shorts of insulin.
Therefore, insulin is the main treatment— majorly the only treatment—for type 1 diabetic patients. So, with the use of these artificial insulin hormones, your sugar level goes down.
In addition, in the market, there are four types of insulin which are differing by their effective time period and how fast they start working.
1. Rapid-acting Insulin: Starts within 15 minutes and lasts for 3 to 4 hours.
2. Short-acting Insulin: Starts within 30 minutes and lasts for 6 to 8 hours.
3. Intermediate-acting Insulin: Starts within 1 to 2 hours and lasts 12 to 18 hours.
4. Long-acting Insulin: Starts within 2-3 hours but lasts for 24 hours or more.
Diet Plan For Type 1 Diabetic Patient
While taking dietary supplements, one should limit themselves to any food that changes the sugar level to a high sugar level. There are certain foods and diet plans that help type 1 diabetic patients.
- Avoid starchy or sugary foods because they rapidly increase blood sugar levels.
- Also, avoid too much protein and fat-rich food.
- Limit yourself with the recommended carbohydrate intake.
Other foods to avoid
- Processed/refined sugars such as white bread, pastries, chips, etc.
- Trans-fat— usually labeled with hydrogenated food.
- High-fat animal products.
Type 2 Diabetes
In Type 2 diabetic condition, the body resists the response to the insulin— a case of insulin resistance. This eventually builds up an uncountable sugar level. As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it is the most common type of diabetes.
In addition, NIDDK also states that there is a strong relationship between this type and obesity. Therefore, about 90% of cases type 2 diabetic patients are obese.
In general, the majority of patients with type 2 diabetes are in their 40s or more, that’s why the term— adult-onset diabetes. However, kids, teenagers, and young people can also have type 2 diabetic conditions.
What are the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes?
In type 2 diabetic condition, in general, there are more than one causes. That’s why they usually are multifactorial – more than one diabetes cause. Yet, in most cases, the cause of type 2 diabetes is genetic.
However, there are some causes that might increase the chance of getting type 2 diabetes. The following are the conditions that facilitate this type:
- Inactive lifestyle— lack of general exercising
- Increasing age
- Unappropriate diet plan
- In some cases, pregnancy can also be the risk factor
Sign and Symptoms
Unlike type 1 diabetes, when you have type 2 diabetes, in the majority of cases, patients have mild symptoms that are equivalent to common diseases. Hence, it remains concealed.
However, there are some signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetic condition:
- Often Urination
- Blurry vision
- Mood Disorder
- Being hungry and very thirsty
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Wounds heal slowly
- Regular yeast infections
- Getting more infections— usually dark rashes around the neck or armpits region— most common type 2 diabetic condition.
Treatment For Type 2 Diabetes
For instance, type 2 diabetes could be managed solely by diet but medications also help in decreasing the blood sugar level, these are:
1. Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors: Slows down the breakdown process of sugar, carb, and starchy food. Common medications: Acarboseand Miglitol.
2. Biguanides: It reduces glucose production by the liver. Common medication: Metformin (Glucophage).
3. Glucagon-Like Peptides: It changes the mechanism of producing insulin. Common medications: Dulaglutide, Exenatide, and Victoza.
4. Meglitinides: It stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin. Common medications: Nateglinide and Prandin.
5. SGLT2 Inhibitors: It helps to filter more sugar into the urine. Common medications: Canagliflozin and Farxiga.
6. Sulfonylureas: It also stimulates the pancreas to release more insulin. Common medications are Glyburide, Glipizide, and Glimepiride.
7. Thiazolidinediones: It facilitates the effective working of insulin. Common medications: Pioglitazone and Avandia.
In general cases, the doctor usually prescribes more than one type of drug. And in some cases, people also have to take insulin shots.
Diet Plan For Type 2 Diabetic Patients
When you eat food as per the normal range of carbs value, it would control the blood sugar level. Additionally, when you coupled a low-carb diet with a low-fat diet with half an hour of exercise, then you are more prone to lose excess weight.
So, you should consult a dietitian to help you to manage your crab’s count and in planning your dietary plans.
However, you can also try to eat small frequent meals i.e. 4 times a day. These are the same foods that you should include in your diet when you have type 2 diabetes.
- Fruits such as apple, blueberry, cherry, grapes, orange, etc.
- Green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, etc.
- Lean protein such as poultry and fish.
- Whole grains
- Healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts.
Prevention From Type 2 Diabetes
As there is no prevention for type 1 diabetes because the autoimmune response is an unsolved story. However, there are some prevention measures that lower the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
1. Lose weight: As stated earlier, there is a clear link between obesity and diabetes. So, losing weight to 10% can lower the chances of getting type 2 diabetes by 50%.
2. Cut Sugar and Refined Carbs: Both are responsible for the rapid rise of blood sugar levels. And refined or processed carbohydrates also add a large number of trans saturated fats to your system. Hence, more devastating.
3. Use water as the primary beverage: You should avoid any carbonated drinks and soda as they are not good for your pancreatic glands. While drinking water helps to flushes out the raised sugar levels.
4. Exercising Daily: Everybody should exercise at least 30 minutes a day. And exercising 30 minutes, even small running and speedy walking, can cut the risk by 30%.
5. Quit Smoking: It is necessary because smoking not only slowly kills your lungs but also makes you obese which finally increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it’s better to quit smoking.
Gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes have some similar symptoms. But the major factor that differs both of them is the pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is seen in women who are pregnant. Moreover, about 2 to 10% of pregnant women can develop this diabetic condition.
In general, there are two classes of gestational diabetic conditions. These are
- Class A1: Can be managed by a strict diet plan and exercising.
- Class A2: Requires insulin or other medications to manage their high sugar levels.
In addition, in the majority of cases, women after pregnancy can get their normal sugar level back. However, elevated blood sugar levels can increase the risk of getting type 2 diabetes in babies.
Unlike both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is fully treatable. However, a proper diet and regular sugar monitoring should be taken throughout the pregnancy.
What are the Causes of Gestational Diabetes?
While talking about its causes, the exact cause is not known but many researchers believe that it is due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. The responsible hormone that causes this diabetic condition is the placenta. The placenta hormones reduce the cell’s sensitivity to the action of insulin.
That’s the reason why there is a high blood sugar level during pregnancy. Additionally, obese women or who gain too much weight during pregnancy are more likely to get this diabetic condition.
However, there are other factors that can cause gestational diabetic conditions in pregnant women. These are the following causes:
- Family history
- Some symptoms like polycystic ovary syndrome
- Larger baby weight over 9lb
- Some ethnic groups
Sign and Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
The symptoms are not that viable or might be covered up by the pregnancy. And in the majority of cases, diabetes is brought by the medical examination or routine screenings.
However, a pregnant woman may feel:
- Hungrier and eat more than usual.
- Often Urination
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
The patient should go through regular routine check-ups for the blood sugar level. In the case of high glucose levels in the blood, dietary changes and exercise may be recommended as per the doctor’s advice.
And sometimes artificial insulin, if necessary, is also administered to protect the baby from the complications of high sugar levels.
Prevention and Diet Plan for Gestational Diabetes
During pregnancy, one thing is most important, eating a well-balanced diet. And when you have a baby along with diabetes then you should stick to the balanced diet. You can also take advice from a pediatrician to manage a perfect diet for yourself and also for your baby.
At any cost, you should limit your sugar and salt intake. And don’t even try to touch any type of fast food. And you control your sugar then your future child has less chance of building type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, for a nine-month period, you should eat as healthily as possible. And also have regular sugar checkups. And adding a little exercise is also good for the mother and baby. But you should not try any intense workout at that period.
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Common Diagnosis Test for Diabetes
These are the following test that is generally used to diagnosis of diabetes:
Glycated Hemoglobin A1C Test
To determine the average blood sugar level, A1C is a common test. For A1C, you don’t have to fast and it indicates the blood sugar level for the past two-three months. The test is based on the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin.
The normal level for A1C Test is 5.7% and below. And 6.5% or more is an indication of diabetes. While, if the values are between 5.7 and 6.4%, it indicates prediabetes.
Random Blood Sugar Test
At Random time (anytime) blood samples are taken for the analysis of blood sugar level. The samples are total random i.e. whether you are on fast or just ate your heavy dinner.
The normal level in random blood sugar is less than 200 mg/dL, and higher values suggest the case of diabetes.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
The person has to fast, usually has to skip breakfast. The normal fasting blood sugar level is 100 mg/dL or less. If the value is between 100 and 125mg/dL, then the person has prediabetes. While all the values above 126mg/dL state the person has diabetes.
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
This is a periodical test that measures the blood sugar level before and after a meal. For instance, the patient has to take overnight fasting, and before the breakfast blood sample is taken and after eating some sugar meal, about after 2 hours, blood sugar levels are again taken.
The normal sugar level is 140 mg/dL while higher reading indicates prediabetes (140 to 199 mg/dL). However, if value surpasses 200mg/dL then the person has diabetes.
What is the main cause of type 1 diabetes?
Ans. The main cause is the abnormal immune response that starts killing the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
Can Type 1 diabetes kill you?
Ans. It depends upon the severity. If you exercise daily and have a balanced diet then there is no way this disease can kill you. But avoiding exercise and limited carbs intake can worsen your diabetes which generates other medical conditions like heart disease, kidney failure, etc.
What is prediabetes?
Ans. It is a special case where blood sugar is high which is close to type 2 diabetes.
Can diabetes go away?
Ans. Some diabetic conditions like gestational diabetes can go away as the pregnancy is over. However, for type 1 and type 2 diabetes there is no back button. In addition, until now, diabetes has no cure.
Is banana good for diabetics?
Ans. Yes, you can eat bananas without any thought. And majorly, all types of fresh fruit are good for getting fibers which improve the diabetic conditions.
Should diabetics eat oranges?
Ans. All types of citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, etc. are rich in fibers, vitamin C, folate, and potassium which is good for diabetic patients.