One of the serious medical conditions in which the insulin hormone either becomes too less in quantity to maintain the normal blood sugar levels or it entirely vanishes from the body is known as diabetes. In medical terms, it is called Diabetes Mellitus (DM). It happens because of the high blood sugar levels that create this abnormality in the smooth functioning of the blood. Hence, if left untreated, diabetes can damage nerves, eye-sight, kidneys, and other organs.
Some Facts about Diabetes:
According to IDF Diabetes Atlas, 9th Edition, 2019;
- 1 in every 5 elderly persons (above 65 years of age) have diabetes
- Almost 232 million people possibly have diabetes but are officially undiagnosed
- More than 1.1 million children and young adults are living with type 1 diabetes
- The proportion of type 2 diabetes is almost double than type 1
- Diabetes has caused 4.2 million deaths in the past 5 years
- 80% of adults with diabetes live in low-income countries with very few medical facilities
- 375 million people are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives
- 2 in 3 people die of diabetes in urban areas
Types of Diabetes:
There are a few different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood
- Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, due to high blood sugar. Hence, insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes
Symptoms of Diabetes:
Diabetes doesn’t have any sudden or striking symptoms; they are subtle yet persistent. Some of the noticeable symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Increased hunger (polyphagia)
- Increased thirst (polydipsia)
- Blurry vision – glucose absorption in the eye lens
- Frequent urination (polyuria)
- Very slow healing of wounds/sores
- Itchy skin/ rashes (diabetic dermadromes)
- Extreme fatigue
- Constant headache
Causes of Diabetes:
- Type 1
Type 1 diabetes is caused when the immune system weakens due to some reason. This weakened immune system makes the pancreas vulnerable and resultantly, the insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas get attacked. This is the reason that it is common in children and young adults with poor nutrition values that are responsible for a strong immune system.
In addition to this, the genetic transfer of a weak immune system is another cause that increases the risk of acquiring diabetes in children of diabetic patients.
- Type 2
Type 2 diabetes is usually associated with genetic reasons and an unstable/unhealthy diet. Mostly, obesity is one of the main reasons for acquiring diabetes, despite the absence of any genetic history among patients. Also, increased weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure can be the major reasons as well. Besides, people with sedentary lifestyles remain more prone to diabetes acquisition throughout their lives.
Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women as their placenta releases hormones that make the body less sensitive to insulin. Although this condition is normal and quite common during pregnancy, however, its occurrence depends more on genetic history. Usually, this is a temporary condition, but in severe cases, gestational diabetes can turn into type 2 diabetes which is permanent.
Prevention of Diabetes:
Though diabetes is related to one’s genetic history to a large extent, however, an active and healthy lifestyle can easily counter its acquisition. Here are a few things that prevent diabetes in adults:
- Weight management
Obesity and increases weight is one of the major causes of diabetes as it increases cholesterol levels and blood pressure as well. The fat stored around one’s belly can counter the effect of insulin hormone which increases the risk of diabetes.
- Balanced diet
A balanced diet with more vegetables and fruits than meat is the best way to stay away from diabetes. One needs to take a proper proportion of all necessary vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body. This is very important to manage insulin levels and production rates in the body.
- Active lifestyle
Adults with sedentary jobs and lifestyles are more prone to diabetes. A physically active lifestyle is necessary for staying away from diabetes. Regular exercises keep the blood flow smooth and balance cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Thus, the risk of diabetes can be reduced through regular physical exercise.
- Limited alcohol consumption
Alcohol makes it difficult for the body to fully absorb all nutrients in the blood and organs. It blocks the flow of the transfer of vitamins and minerals and reduces their effect. Hence, a limited amount of alcohol consumption is to be considered for avoiding long-term health concerns like diabetes.
- Regular physical checkups
Maintaining a regular physical examination is a must for knowing the risk factors and avoiding them. Since diabetes’ symptoms are subtle, one needs to be regularly aware of one’s body and the changes occurring in it. Hence, the normal range of vitamins and minerals in the body can be checked which are also responsible for avoiding diabetes.
To sum up, diabetes is a growing health concern among adults. It has become quite common in children too since the past years. Despite being genetic, diabetes is also related to an unhealthy and unchecked lifestyle that makes the body weak and prone to such diseases. Therefore, by maintaining healthy lifestyles and an active day-to-day routine, one can prevent diabetes.