Medically reviewed by Dr. Muhammad Ashraf Shera.
Everyone has heard of diabetes. It is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide, and its prevalence is continually increasing. Yet the majority of people are unaware of the reasons or their impact on daily life. Many believe that the illness is not significant due to its prevalent nature. Diabetes, on the other hand, if left untreated, can result in heart disease, vision loss, and even amputation of a limb.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to absorb glucose and utilize it for energy. This results in an accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream. Diabetes that is not well controlled can have catastrophic effects, wreaking havoc on a variety of your body’s organs and tissues, including the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
Digestion entails the breakdown of the food that ingest into a variety of distinct nutrient sources. When people consume carbohydrates, the body converts them to glucose. When glucose enters the bloodstream, it requires assistance – a “key” – to reach its intended destination, which is inside the body’s cells. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, behaves like a “key.” It is released into the bloodstream by the pancreas and functions as the “key” that unlocks the “door” in the cell wall that permits glucose to enter the body’s cells. Glucose supplies the “fuel” or energy that tissues and organs require to function effectively.
What happens if one has diabetes?
When a person develops diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin or the pancreas produces insulin but the body’s cells do not respond to it properly. If glucose cannot enter the body’s cells, it remains in the bloodstream, where it raises the blood glucose level.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most prevalent types. Both indicate that one has an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood, but the distinction is in how this occurs.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This indicates that the body has attacked and killed the cells responsible for producing the hormone insulin. As a result, the body can no longer produce insulin. We all require insulin because it aids in the transport of glucose from the bloodstream to the cells of our bodies. This glucose is subsequently converted to energy. Without insulin, the blood glucose level rises too high.
Type 2 diabetes is distinct from type 1 diabetes. If one has type 2, the body either does not produce enough insulin or the insulin does not function properly. This condition is referred to as insulin resistance. As with type 1, this indicates that the blood glucose level is abnormally high. The cells grow resistant to insulin’s action in type 2 diabetes, and the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Rather than flowing into the cells to be used for energy, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream.
Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age but is most frequently diagnosed during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, which is more prevalent, can occur at any age, however, it is more prevalent in those over the age of 40.
What are the symptoms?
Some of the common signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
What causes diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes
Although the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, factors that may signal an increased risk include:
- Family history
- Environmental factors
- The presence of damaging immune system cells
- Risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes
- Family history
- Race or ethnicity
- Increasing age
- High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Although the exact mechanism by which this occurs is unknown, it is believed that genetic and environmental factors also contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Although being overweight is closely associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, not everyone who has the disease is obese. Some common risk factors include:
- Being overweight
- Aging; 40 or older, however, in some cases, younger people develop it too owing to their lifestyles or genetics
- Family history of diabetes
- High blood pressure
- History of gestational diabetes
- Physically inactive
- History of heart disease or stroke
Can diabetes be prevented?
Diabetes type 1 is irreversible. Doctors are unable to determine who may contract it. Although no one knows for certain what causes type 1 diabetes, scientists assume genes. However, possessing diabetes genes alone is not always sufficient. Type 1 diabetes is frequently caused by another factor, such as a virus. Type 1 diabetes is not contagious, which means that children and adolescents cannot contract it from friends or relatives. Obesity or higher sugar intake has little to no impact on the possibility of developing type 1 diabetes. Since children are most affected by this, it is recommended to closely monitor symptoms in them and get them tested to avoid any further damage to the body.
Diabetes type 2, however, can be prevented. Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle both contribute to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and moving onto a healthier, more active lifestyle can prevent diabetes.
By: Sanya Zahid
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