Even with its increased occurrence as one of the most common noncommunicable diseases, quite a lot of persons do not know what exactly diabetes is. Diabetes is a medical condition that can result in less productivity and reduce one’s life expectancy, especially when complications occur from it. This article provides basic information on diabetes, what it is and what it is not.
Diabetes, which is alternatively known as Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that occur when the body’s metabolic activities do not function as expected. The metabolic activity which does not function properly in persons with diabetes is the metabolism of glucose. Diabetes occurs because the blood glucose (sugar) level of the body is higher than normal. The increased blood sugar is a result of certain physiological malfunctions with the different types of diabetes caused different physiological malfunctions. Diabetes can result in complications and could predispose persons to other conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. Diabetes is commonly associated with frequent urination and thirst as well as frequent hunger.
Although there are several types of diabetes, three types occur more commonly. The more common types of diabetes are diabetes type 1, diabetes type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs in persons that do not produce insulin. Insulin is an important enzyme for metabolizing glucose and converting it to fuel for the different cells. When insulin is lacking, the glucose produced from the breakdown of carbohydrate foods is left circulating in the bloodstream in a quantity that is more than normal. The occurrence of type 1 diabetes has generally been on the increase; however, it still constitutes about 10% of diabetes cases around the world. Persons with diabetes type 1 have to rely on external sources of insulin to metabolize glucose and maintain a diet that reduces their blood sugar significantly.
Type 2 diabetes makes up the most of diabetes cases. About 80% of diabetes cases are diabetes type 2. Diabetes type 2 occurs when the insulin produced by the body is not sufficient for the glucose level of the body. When a person is resistant to the insulin they produce, it can also result in diabetes type 2. Managing diabetes type 2 involves a combination of lifestyle and diet changes as well as supplementing the insulin. Of the three most common types of diabetes, type 2 could lead to the most complications.
As the name suggests, gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women. During pregnancy, the glucose level of some women may increase and gestational diabetes diagnosed. If gestational diabetes is not properly managed, the health of the mother and baby could be endangered.
Research has suggested that diet predisposes women to gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can also be managed with proper diet, exercise and, in some cases, medications.
Apart from the three symptoms highlighted above, there are other symptoms of diabetes across the different systems of the body. The symptoms of diabetes include lethargy, fatigue, weight loss, the smell of acetone in one’s breath and hyperventilation.
Generally, certain factors predispose a person to diabetes. Those factors include race, obesity and lifestyle. It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle to stay above diabetes.
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