Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes and Their Symptoms

Categories: HEALTH

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Diabetes is a chronic condition brought on by either insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or inefficient insulin use by the body. A hormone called insulin controls blood sugar levels. Uncontrolled diabetes frequently causes hyperglycemia, also known as high blood glucose or raised blood sugar, which over time can seriously harm many different bodily systems, including the neurons and blood vessels.

A collection of common endocrine illnesses known as diabetes, sometimes known as diabetes mellitus, are characterised by persistently elevated blood sugar levels. Diabetes results from either insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or improper insulin utilisation by the body's cells. Diabetes can cause a number of health issues if it is not treated. An estimated 1.5 million fatalities per year are caused by untreated or inadequately controlled diabetes.

The majority of diabetes cases have no generally recognised treatment. Injections of insulin are the most used form of treatment for type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or treated with lifestyle changes and anti-diabetic drugs like semaglutide and metformin. Normal resolution of gestational diabetes occurs soon after delivery.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that impairs the body's ability to handle glucose, resulting in elevated blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes are the three primary kinds of the disease.

Here is a description of each type.

1. Type 1 diabetes

This form of diabetes develops when the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, are attacked by the body's immune system and destroyed. Although it can happen at any age, type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in children and young people. Type 1 diabetes (T1D), also known as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that develops when the immune system attacks cells that generate insulin (beta cells). Insulin is a hormone that aids in controlling blood glucose levels and is necessary for the cells to use blood sugar for energy. This causes elevated blood sugar levels in the body prior to therapy.

Frequent urination, increased thirst, increased hunger, weight loss, and other dangerous problems are typical indications of this raised blood sugar. The presence of sluggish wound healing, fatigue, and blurred vision are possible additional symptoms. Symptoms often appear quickly, frequently within a few weeks.

Type 1 diabetes is thought to be brought on by a confluence of hereditary and environmental factors, however its exact aetiology is unknown. The fundamental mechanism entails an autoimmune attack on the pancreatic beta cells that make insulin. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C) and blood sugar levels are used to diagnose diabetes. By checking for the presence of autoantibodies, type 1 diabetes can be separated from type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

·        Frequent urination

·        Excessive thirst

·        Unintentional weight loss

·        Extreme hunger

·        Fatigue

·        Blurred vision

·        Irritability or mood changes

·        Bedwetting (in youngsters who had not before slept in wet sheets)

Cause: The only cells in the body that create insulin, -cells, are destroyed in type 1 diabetes, leading to a gradual insulin shortage. Without insulin, the body is unable to react to blood sugar spikes in an efficient manner. People with diabetes experience persistent hyperglycemia as a result. For unknown reasons, -cells are killed by a person's own immune system in 70–90% of cases. The -cell-targeted antibodies, which start to form months or years before symptoms appear, are the parts of this autoimmune response that have received the most research.

Genetics: The only cells in the body that create insulin, -cells, are destroyed in type 1 diabetes, leading to a gradual insulin shortage. Without insulin, the body is unable to react to blood sugar spikes in an efficient manner. People with diabetes experience persistent hyperglycemia as a result. For unknown reasons, -cells are killed by a person's own immune system in 70–90% of cases. The -cell-targeted antibodies, which start to form months or years before symptoms appear, are the parts of this autoimmune response that have received the most research.

Diagnosis: Blood tests that reveal unusually high blood sugar levels are frequently used to diagnose diabetes. Diabetes is characterised by blood sugar levels that are at or above 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL) after at least eight hours of fasting or at or above 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) two hours after an oral glucose tolerance test, according to the World Health Organisation. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association advises a diagnosis of diabetes for anyone who experiences hyperglycemia symptoms and has blood sugar levels that are always at or above 11.1 mmol/L or haemoglobin A1C levels that are at or above 48 mmol/mol.

Type 1 diabetes is recognised from other forms of diabetes once a diagnosis of diabetes has been made by a blood test for the presence of autoantibodies that target different parts of the beta cell. The majority of tests on the market look for antibodies to glutamic acid decarboxylase, the cytoplasm of beta cells, or insulin, all of which are the targets of antibodies in about 80% of type 1 diabetics. The beta cell proteins IA-2 and ZnT8, which are targeted by these antibodies in about 58% and 80% of type 1 diabetics, respectively, are also tested for by some healthcare professionals. C-peptide, a byproduct of insulin production, is also tested for by some. Type 1 diabetes may be indicated by extremely low C-peptide levels.

Management: The autoimmune condition known as type 1 diabetes (T1D) is characterised by a gradual loss of pancreatic beta cells, which leads to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. Therapy with exogenous insulin is necessary to stop hyperglycemia's potentially fatal side effects. According to the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and its long-term follow-up, the Epidemiology of Diabetes and its Complications study, intensive insulin therapy combined with strict glycemic control can halt or slow the progression of microvascular disease, lower the risk of developing macrovascular disease, and lower mortality from all causes. Furthermore, information gathered from the T1D Exchange, a database of T1D patients established in 2010, has grown to be a priceless resource for researchers everywhere, fostering collaboration and increasing comprehension of current diabetic practises. The cornerstone of the management of T1D is insulin therapy utilising both rapid- and long-acting insulin analogues.

Multiple daily injections of insulin or subcutaneous insulin infusion using insulin pumps are two ways to give insulin subcutaneously. Effective control also requires the use of self-monitoring of blood glucose utilising upgraded glucose metres, continuous glucose monitors (CGM), and more recent insulin pumps with sensor-enhanced systems built in. Effective disease management of T1D requires addressing the psychological elements of the condition. The management of T1D is rapidly changing. Newer insulins are being intensively researched, while supplementary non-insulin therapies such the use of incretin medicines, SGLT-2, and combo SGLT-1/2 inhibitors are also being studied. Artificial pancreas delivery systems have been made possible by the development of CGM technology and glucose prediction algorithms.

2. Type 2 diabetes:

When the body develops an insulin resistance or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels, type 2 diabetes develops. Although type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in adults, it is also on the rise in children and adolescents as a result of the growth in obesity.  One in ten Americans, or more than 37 million people, have diabetes, and 90–95% of them have type 2 diabetes. The majority of persons with type 2 diabetes are over the age of 45, but it is also more common in kids, teenagers, and young adults.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

·        Frequent urination

·        Excessive thirst

·        Fatigue

·        Blurred vision

·        Slow-healing sores or infections

·        Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet

·        Dark patches on the skin

·        Increased hunger

Causes: Your pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which functions as a key to allow blood sugar to enter your body's cells for use as fuel. Insulin resistance, which occurs when cells don't react to insulin as they should in people with type 2 diabetes. To try and elicit a response from cells, your pancreas produces more insulin. Your blood sugar eventually rises as a result of your pancreas' inability to keep up, which can lead to type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. High blood sugar harms the body and increases the risk of renal disease, heart disease, and other major health issues.

Testing: You can determine whether you have diabetes using a quick blood test. Follow up at a clinic or doctor's office if you had your blood sugar checked at a health fair or pharmacy to ensure the results are accurate.

Management: Contrary to many other medical diseases, diabetes is primarily managed by you, with assistance from your family, close friends, and members of your healthcare team (including your primary care physician, foot doctor, dentist, eye doctor, registered dietitian nutritionist, and chemist). Although managing diabetes might be difficult, anything you do to enhance your health is worthwhile.

Healthy food and regular exercise can help you manage your diabetes, but your doctor may also prescribe insulin, other injectable treatments, or oral diabetes medications to help you control your blood sugar and prevent problems. Even if you take insulin or other medications, you still need to eat well and exercise regularly. It's crucial to get the required screening tests and maintain your blood pressure and cholesterol levels close to the goals your doctor sets for you.

Although stress is a natural part of life, it can make managing diabetes more difficult, including controlling your blood sugar levels and attending to your everyday needs. Exercise, enough rest, and relaxation techniques can all be beneficial. You should discuss these and other stress management techniques with your doctor and diabetes educator. Make routine consultations with your medical team to ensure that you are following your treatment plan and, if necessary, to receive assistance with new concepts and tactics.

3. Gestational diabetes:

Pregnancy-related cases of this kind of diabetes typically disappear after birth. When the body has trouble successfully using insulin due to pregnancy-related hormones, gestational diabetes develops. When blood sugar levels are too high during pregnancy, gestational diabetes (GD) can form. GD often manifests between 24 and 28 weeks into pregnancy. Having GD does not imply that you had diabetes prior to becoming pregnant. The pregnancy causes the problem to manifest. When it comes to pregnancy, people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes each face unique obstacles.

Despite the fact that nutrition cannot directly cause diabetes, it can have a role in the development of gestational diabetes. When hormones from the placenta interfere with your body's production or usage of insulin, gestational diabetes results. Your body uses insulin to keep the appropriate level of glucose in your blood. When you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels become excessively high. Eating nutritious foods that won't raise your blood sugar to risky levels will help you manage gestational diabetes.

Symptoms of gestational diabetes may include:

·        Frequent urination

·        Excessive thirst

·        Fatigue

·        Blurred vision

·        Nausea and vomiting

·        Increased hunger

·        Unusual weight gain (especially in the first trimester)

Causes: Hormonal changes and the process through which our bodies turn food into energy are the causes of gestational diabetes. The glucose (sugar) from food is broken down by the hormone insulin and sent to our cells. Our blood glucose levels are maintained at a healthy level by insulin. But if insulin doesn't function properly or we don't have enough of it, blood sugar levels rise and diabetes develops.

Hormones during pregnancy may affect how insulin functions. There is a chance that it won't control your blood sugar levels as it should, which can result in gestational diabetes. Genes and being overweight (having a BMI over 25) could potentially be contributing factors. It's crucial to see a healthcare professional for an assessment and diagnosis if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. Diabetes problems can be avoided or delayed with early diagnosis and treatment.

Testing: Around weeks 24 to 28 of your pregnancy, your healthcare professional performs a gestational diabetes test on you. At this point, the placenta begins to create hormones. This uterine organ develops and provides nourishment and oxygen to the developing foetus. It produces hormones that can conflict with insulin.

Diagnosis: Your doctor could recommend that you see a dietitian who specialises in gestational diabetes if you are given the diagnosis of gestational diabetes. You will talk about your current diet and decide what changes to make during this appointment. You might receive leaflets to better understand how different foods affect your blood sugar. They will also discuss how to check your blood sugar levels and what they should be after meals.

Your obstetrician will then go over a management strategy for gestational diabetes. Prenatal sessions are often longer for diabetic women in order to monitor weight gain, evaluate foetal growth using ultrasound technology, and talk about how well their blood sugar is being controlled.

Management: If gestational diabetes is identified in your pregnancy, you might require more frequent checks. Your blood sugar levels will be monitored often by your healthcare provider. You might need to use a device called a glucose metre to check your blood sugar levels at home. In order to control gestational diabetes, some people need medication like insulin. However, the majority of people can control their blood sugar levels by changing their diet and engaging in regular exercise. It's crucial to take insulin exactly as directed if you must use it to manage your diabetes.

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