There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. This articles discussed both of these diabetes types.
What causes diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use sugar for energy. Without insulin, the body cannot use sugar for energy, and sugar builds up in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of factors, including genetics, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin and the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal.
In addition to these types, there are other forms of diabetes that occur during pregnancy (Gestational diabetes) or due to certain medical conditions or medications.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include: being overweight or obese, having a family history of diabetes, having high blood pressure, having high cholesterol, being physically inactive, being older, having a history of gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.
Preventing type 2 diabetes can be achieved by maintaining a healthy lifestyle which includes regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking.
Diabetes Type 1 Symptoms
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can develop rapidly and may include: frequent urination; extreme thirst; hunger, even after eating; fatigue; irritability; blurred vision; weight loss, despite increased appetite; slow-healing cuts and infections; and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet. In severe cases, symptoms such as confusion, unconsciousness or coma may occur.
Diabetes Type 2 Symptoms
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not be as obvious as those of type 1 diabetes and may develop gradually over time. Some common symptoms include:; increased thirst and hunger; fatigue; blurred vision; slow-healing cuts and infections; tingling or numbness in the hands or feet; dry and/or itchy skin; nausea; weight loss or gain; darkened skin patches, particularly around the neck or armpits
However, many people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all, and the condition may be found during a routine medical check-up or test. It is important to get tested for diabetes, particularly if you have any risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as being overweight or having a family history of the condition.
Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is more common in certain groups of people. The following individuals are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes:
- Age: The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after age 45.
- Obesity: People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Family history: People with a family history of type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of developing the disease.
- Ethnicity: Some ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
- Sedentary lifestyle: People who have a sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure: People with high blood pressure (hypertension) have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- High cholesterol: People with high cholesterol levels have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes: Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
What health problems can people with diabetes develop?
People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing a number of health problems due to the damage caused by high blood sugar levels on the body’s organs and systems. Some of the most common health problems that people with diabetes can develop include:
- Cardiovascular disease: People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
- Kidney disease: High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys, leading to kidney disease and kidney failure.
- Eye problems: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the eyes, increasing the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.
- Nerve damage: Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves, leading to a condition called diabetic neuropathy, which can cause pain, tingling, and numbness in the feet, legs, and hands.
- Foot problems: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the feet, leading to a higher risk of foot injuries and infections, which can lead to amputation. Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage) and peripheral arterial disease (reduced blood flow) are the main factors that contribute to the development of ingrown toenails in people with diabetes.
- Skin problems: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing skin problems such as fungal infections, bacterial infections, and poor wound healing.
- Dental problems: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing dental problems such as gum disease and tooth loss.
Do bad eating habits cause diabetes?
Bad eating habits can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Consuming a diet high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, and added sugars, and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can contribute to the development of obesity and insulin resistance, which are major risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and sugary foods, can also lead to a spike in blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to the pancreas and make it more difficult for the body to produce insulin.
Additionally, skipping meals or eating too few calories can also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This can cause the body to release stress hormones which can increase blood sugar levels and make it more difficult for the body to use insulin effectively.
A healthy diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats, in combination with regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight, can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.
Is the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes increasing?
Yes, the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the number of people living with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to over 422 million in 2014. The increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes is due to a combination of factors, including an aging population, urbanization and increasing rates of obesity and physical inactivity.
- According to the The National Diabetes Statistics Report: In 2019, about 1.4 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed.
In addition, there is a growing number of individuals who are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at a younger age, which is a concerning trend as it may lead to more severe complications at an earlier age. Type 2 diabetes is also affecting lower- and middle-income countries more than ever before.
The increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes is likely to continue in the coming years, due to population growth and aging, urbanization and unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
What To Do After Diagnosed With Diabetes?
After being diagnosed with diabetes, it is important to work closely with a healthcare team, which may include a primary care physician, endocrinologist, diabetes educator, and registered dietitian, to create a treatment plan.
The plan will likely include monitoring blood sugar levels (for example, using Continuous Glucose Monitors or other technology), taking medication as prescribed, making dietary changes, and engaging in regular physical activity.
- Monitoring one’s blood sugar levels is an important part of managing diabetes. Checking your blood sugar levels at home with a glucometer will help you recognize any patterns or changes in your health that may need to be addressed. This allows you to track how well your diet and exercise routine is working for controlling your glucose levels. Monitoring your blood sugar can also alert you to any potential complications that might need medical attention. By regularly checking your blood sugar levels and keeping them within a healthy range, you can help prevent long-term health problems associated with diabetes.
The important steps include regular medical check-ups, monitoring for potential complications, and making any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan. It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage stress levels, which can impact blood sugar control.