Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use its insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood glucose. Hyperglycaemia, also called raised blood glucose or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and, over time, leads to severe damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
Glucose, the sugar in the blood, is one of your primary energy sources. A lack of insulin or a resistance to insulin causes sugar to build up in your blood. This can lead to health complications.
TYPES OF DIABETES
The three main types of diabetes are:
- type 1 diabetes
- type 2 diabetes,
- gestational diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune condition. This means your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the pancreas cells producing insulin. The damage is permanent.
What prompts the attacks is not clear. There may be genetic and environmental reasons. However, lifestyle factors don’t play a role in this diabetes.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes starts as insulin resistance. This means the body cannot use insulin efficiently, which causes the pancreas to produce more insulin until it cannot keep up with demand. Insulin production then decreases, which causes high blood sugar.
The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown. Contributing factors may include:
- sedentary lifestyle
- higher weight or obesity
There may also be other health factors and environmental reasons.
Gestational diabetes is caused by insulin-blocking hormones that are produced during pregnancy.
This type of diabetes only happens during pregnancy. It is often seen in people with preexisting prediabetes and a family history of diabetes. A high number of people diagnosed with gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes. Although, in most cases, the condition reverses after childbirth.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS
General symptoms of unmanaged diabetes include:
- excessive thirst and hunger
- frequent urination
- drowsiness or fatigue
- dry, itchy skin
- blurry vision
- slow-healing wounds
Type 2 diabetes can cause discoloured patches in the folds of skin in the armpits and neck. Since type 2 diabetes usually takes longer to diagnose, it is possible to feel symptoms like pain or numbness in the feet.
Type 1 diabetes often develops more quickly and can cause symptoms like weight loss or diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur when there is very high blood sugar but little or no insulin in the body.
Symptoms of both types of diabetes can appear at any age, but type 1 usually appears in children and young adults, while type 2 typically appears in people over 45. However, younger people are increasingly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes because of sedentary lifestyles and excess weight.
Prediabetes occurs when the blood glucose is higher than it should be but not high enough to be called diabetes.
Complications of diabetes develop. Having poorly managed blood sugar levels increases the risk of serious complications that can become life-threatening. These include:
- vessel disease, which can lead to heart attack or stroke
- eye problems (retinopathy)
- infection or skin conditions
- nerve damage (neuropathy)
- kidney damage (nephropathy)
- amputations because of neuropathy or vessel disease
- Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s, especially if blood sugar is not well managed.
Complications in pregnancy
High blood sugar levels during pregnancy can increase the risk of:
- high blood pressure
- miscarriage or stillbirth
- birth defects
How are different diabetes treated?
The main goal is to keep blood glucose levels within the target range. Targets vary with the type of diabetes, age, and presence of complications.
If you have gestational diabetes, your blood sugar targets will be lower than people with other types of diabetes.
Physical activity is an important part of diabetes management. Diet is also very important. There is a need to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol as well.
TREATING TYPE 1
People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin to live since damage to the pancreas is permanent. Different types of insulin are available with different onset, peak, and duration times.
TREATING TYPE 2
Type 2 diabetes can be managed and sometimes even reversed with diet and exercise. It can also be treated with various medications to help manage blood sugar.
Although There’s no known prevention for type 1 diabetes, it is possible to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. This can be appropriately done by:
- Managing weight
- Focus on a nutrient-dense diet; this involves eating healthy meals and taking high doses of vitamin-rich foods.
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking
- High triglycerides and lower high-density cholesterol intake
**With gestational diabetes or prediabetes, these habits can delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
There’s no cure for type 1 diabetes. It requires lifelong disease management. But with consistent monitoring and adherence to treatment, you may avoid more severe complications of the disease. Some of these management tips include:
- Eating more vegetables
- Taking natural fruits and fruit smoothies
If you work closely with your doctor and make healthy lifestyle choices, type 2 diabetes can often be successfully managed or even reversed.
If you have gestational diabetes, it will probably resolve after the baby is born! However, there is a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Foods To Avoid in diabetic Conditions
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.
- Saturated fats. Avoid high-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as butter, beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon. Also, limit coconut and palm kernel oils.
- Trans fats. Avoid trans fats in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarine.
- Cholesterol. Cholesterol sources include high-fat dairy products, animal proteins, egg yolks, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
- Sodium. This is contained mostly in salts and other processed meals. It is vital to reduce or stop the intake of salt when diabetic.