Everything You Need to Know About Diabetes
June 12, 2020 • 📖 2 min(s)
June 12, 2020 • 📖 2 min(s)
Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin or can't effectively use the insulin it does make.
Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
There are a few different types of diabetes:
A rare condition called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It's a different condition in which your kidneys remove too much fluid from your body.
Each type of diabetes has unique symptoms, causes, and treatments. Learn more about how these types differ from one another.
Diabetes symptoms are caused by rising blood sugar.
The general symptoms of diabetes include:
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:
It may also result in mood changes.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:
It may also cause recurring infections. This is because elevated glucose levels make it harder for the body to heal.
Most women with gestational diabetes don't have any symptoms. The condition is often detected during a routine blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test that is usually performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.
In rare cases, a woman with gestational diabetes will also experience increased thirst or urination.
Diabetes symptoms can be so mild that they're hard to spot at first. Learn which signs should prompt a trip to the doctor.
Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes.
Doctors don't know exactly what causes type 1 diabetes. For some reason, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
Genes may play a role in some people. It's also possible that a virus sets off the immune system attack.
Type 2 diabetes stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese increases your risk too. Carrying extra weight, especially in your belly, makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin on your blood sugar.
This condition runs in families. Family members share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.
Gestational diabetes is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman's cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin. This can cause high blood sugar during pregnancy.
Both genes and environmental factors play a role in triggering diabetes. Get more information here on the causes of diabetes.
Certain factors increase your risk for diabetes.
You're more likely to get type 1 diabetes if you're a child or teenager, you have a parent or sibling with the condition, or you carry certain genes that are linked to the disease.
Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases if you:
Your risk for gestational diabetes increases if you:
Your family, environment, and preexisting medical conditions can all affect your odds of developing diabetes. Find out which risks you can control and which ones you can't.
High blood sugar damages organs and tissues throughout your body. The higher your blood sugar is and the longer you live with it, the greater your risk for complications.
Complications associated with diabetes include:
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to problems that affect both the mother and baby. Complications affecting the baby can include:
The mother's risk of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies also increases.
Diabetes can lead to serious medical complications, but you can manage the condition with medications and lifestyle changes. Avoid the most common diabetes complications with these helpful tips.
Healthy eating is a central part of managing diabetes. In some cases, changing your diet may be enough to control the disease.
Your blood sugar level rises or falls based on the types of foods you eat. Starchy or sugary foods make blood sugar levels rise rapidly. Protein and fat cause more gradual increases.
Work with a dietitian who can help you design a diabetes meal plan. Getting the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs can help you control your blood sugar. Check out this guide to starting a type 1 diabetes diet.
Eating the right types of foods can both control your blood sugar and help you lose any excess weight.
Carb counting is an important part of eating for type 2 diabetes. A dietitian can help you figure out how many grams of carbohydrates to eat at each meal.
In order to keep your blood sugar levels steady, try to eat small meals throughout the day. Emphasize healthy foods such as:
Certain other foods can undermine efforts to keep your blood sugar in control.Discover the foods you should avoid if you have diabetes.
Eating a well-balanced diet is important for both you and your baby during these nine months. Making the right food choices can also help you avoid diabetes medications.
Watch your portion sizes, and limit sugary or salty foods. Although you need some sugar to feed your growing baby, you should avoid eating too much.
Consider making an eating plan with the help of a dietitian or nutritionist. They'll ensure that your diet has the right mix of macronutrients. Go here for other do's and don'ts for healthy eating with gestational diabetes.
Doctors use these blood tests to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes:
The earlier you get diagnosed with diabetes, the sooner you can start treatment. Find out whether you should get tested, and get more information on tests your doctor might perform.
Type 1 diabetes isn't preventable because it's caused by a problem with the immune system. Some causes of type 2 diabetes, such as your genes or age, aren't under your control either.
Yet many other diabetes risk factors are controllable. Most diabetes prevention strategies involve making simple adjustments to your diet and fitness routine.
If you've been diagnosed with prediabetes, here are a few things you can do to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes:
These aren't the only ways to prevent diabetes. Discover more strategies that may help you avoid this chronic disease.
Women who've never had diabetes can suddenly develop gestational diabetes in pregnancy. Hormones produced by the placenta can make your body more resistant to the effects of insulin.
Some women who had diabetes before they conceived carry it with them into pregnancy. This is called pre-gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes should go away after you deliver, but it does significantly increase your risk for getting diabetes later.
About half of women with gestational diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years of delivery, according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Having diabetes during your pregnancy can also lead to complications for your newborn, such as jaundice or breathing problems.
If you're diagnosed with pre-gestational or gestational diabetes, you'll need special monitoring to prevent complications. Find out more about the effect of diabetes on pregnancy.
Children can get both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Controlling blood sugar is especially important in young people, because the disease can damage important organs such as the heart and kidneys.
The autoimmune form of diabetes often starts in childhood. One of the main symptoms is increased urination. Kids with type 1 diabetes may start wetting the bed after they've been toilet trained.
Extreme thirst, fatigue, and hunger are also signs of the condition. It's important that children with type 1 diabetes get treated right away. The disease can cause high blood sugar and dehydration, which can be medical emergencies.
Type 1 diabetes used to be called "juvenile diabetes" because type 2 was so rare in children. Now that more children are overweight or obese, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in this age group.
About 40 percent of children with type 2 diabetes don't have symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic. The disease is often diagnosed during a physical exam.
Untreated type 2 diabetes can cause lifelong complications, including heart disease, kidney disease, and blindness. Healthy eating and exercise can help your child manage their blood sugar and prevent these problems.
Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent than ever in young people. Learn how to spot the signs so you can report them to your child's doctor.
Some types of diabetes — like type 1 — are caused by factors that are out of your control. Others — like type 2 — can be prevented with better food choices, increased activity, and weight loss.
Discuss potential diabetes risks with your doctor. If you're at risk, have your blood sugar tested and follow your doctor's advice for managing your blood sugar.
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