What is Diabetes and How do People Get Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition and is associated with high levels of blood glucose in the body over a prolonged period. Insulin is a hormone, produced by pancreas, which is responsible for lowering of blood glucose. In the absence of insulin, the body fails to regulate blood sugar levels which ultimately leads to diabetes. Let us go into some of the details of diabetes: types of diabetes, how do people get diabetes, complications of diabetes and some treatment approaches.
Types of Diabetes
There are three major types of diabetes.
1- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 diabetes mellitus occurs due to the body’s failure to produce enough amounts of insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. It is also known as “Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus “( IDDM )or juvenile onset diabetes.
2- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
It is major type of diabetes which results from insulin resistance, a threatening condition in which body cells fail to respond insulin properly. As this type progresses, a lack of insulin production can also occur. It is also known as “Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes “(NIDD) or adult onset diabetes.
3- Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes, is the third main type of diabetes and it occurs when a pregnant woman develops diabetes without any previous known history of diabetes.
Some Common Symptoms of Diabetes
- Elevated levels of blood glucose
- Loss of glucose in the urine
- Increased thrust
- Increased appetite
Some Serious Complications of Diabetes
- Kidney failure
- Foot ulcer
- Heart Diseases
- Blurred Vision
How do people get diabetes?
Diabetes occurs mainly due to insufficient production of insulin or failure of the body cells to respond insulin properly. Let us have a look on some of the major causes of diabetes.
B cells of islets of langerhans in the pancreas produce insulin hormone. Loss of B cells in the pancreas impair insulin production and leads to diabetes type 1. This loss of B cells causes insulin deficiency. We can also name it idiopathic or immune mediated cause of diabetes.
Insulin resistance is the main cause of type 2 diabetes. It develops in adults having more than 35 years of age. Initially, the pancreas produce sufficient amounts of insulin, but body cells do not respond to that insulin. As this condition progresses, lack of insulin production can also develop. The primary cause of this insulin resistance is excessive weight gain, sessile life style having no exercise, but the real defects are still unknown.
Gestational diabetes occurs due to impaired or decreased production of insulin and decreased responsiveness of body cells to insulin. It occurs in 2-10 % of pregnant women and usually disappears after delivery. It occurs due to hormonal imbalance of females during pregnancy.
Other causes of Diabetes
- Genetic defects of B cells of pancreas
- Defects in insulin actions
- Exocrine pancreatic disorders
- Insulin gene mutations
- Insulin receptor mutations
As we all know diabetes is a lifelong condition, so people having diabetes manage to live with diabetes throughout their lives. Diabetes if managed well, is not a life threatening condition and can be managed easily with some lifestyle modifications and some medications. Lifestyle medications include: eating low carbohydrate diet and eating less, but frequently, regular exercise to loss extra weight, avoiding alcohol consumption and smoking and maintaining healthy weight and BMI. Oral hypoglycemic agents, insulin patches and injectable are the common medications used to manage diabetes.