In this informative article, you will read about Type-1, Type-II Diabetes, Treatment of Diabetes, Diabetes during pregnancy, and finally Conclusion.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs because the pancreas does not synthesize the amount of insulin that the human body needs, produces it of inferior quality, or is unable to use it effectively.
What is diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. Its main function is to maintain adequate blood glucose levels.
It ensures that glucose enters the body and is transported to the cells, where it is converted into energy to power muscles and tissues.
It also helps cells store glucose until it is needed.
In people with diabetes, there is an excess of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia), because the glucose is not distributed properly.
Noemi González, secretary of the Spanish Diabetes Society (SED) and specialist in endocrinology and nutrition at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, explains that high glucose levels can be harmful,
“To the whole organism, but especially to the heart, kidneys, and arteries, so that people who have diabetes and don’t know it or don’t treat it are at higher risk of kidney problems, heart attacks, loss of vision, and lower-limb amputations. “
According to the Diabetes Survey, the incidence of diabetes in Spain is 11.58 cases per 1,000 people per year. In other words, every day there are 1,057 new cases.
The current percentage of people with diabetes (prevalence) is 13.8 percent, according to this same study. “What’s more important is that 6 percent of them don’t know it (undiagnosed Diabetes),” González stresses.
Luis Ávila, a member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Diabetes Society (SED), points out that “the exact cause of Diabetes is not known, partly because there are many different types.”
The time of onset of the disease, the causes, and the symptoms that patients present depends on the type of Diabetes:
We will now discuss the types of diabetes.
(1) Type I Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the pancreas.
When enough of these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin and glucose begins to accumulate in the blood.
Unlike Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 diabetes can develop very quickly. Symptoms can appear suddenly and become very severe within a few weeks or months.
Scientists still don’t know exactly why some people develop type 1 diabetes, although they think genetics plays a role.
You are more likely to develop Type 1 diabetes if you have close relatives who also have the disease.
Children and young adults are also more likely to be diagnosed, although you can get Type 1 diabetes at any age. What is known is that type 1 diabetes does not seem to be caused by a person’s lifestyle.
(2) Type II diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
The most common form of diabetes is type 2. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas continues to produce insulin, but the body becomes resistant to it.
This means that the insulin gradually stops working and glucose begins to accumulate in the bloodstream over time.
With type 2 diabetes, symptoms develop slowly, often over years, so you may not start to notice a problem until the disease is advanced.
Although genetics can be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, age, diet, and lifestyle also play a role. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are overweight or not physically active.
You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life, although it can be diagnosed at any age.
(3) Gestational diabetes.
Diabetes during pregnancy
Up to 10% of pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes, a condition in which glucose levels rise during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through routine screening. In some cases, the condition can be treated with diet and exercise, while other women need to use insulin or other drugs.
There are a number of risk factors for gestational diabetes, including obesity, a family history of diabetes, pre-diabetes, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you have had gestational diabetes before, you are more likely to get it again.
Although gestational diabetes usually goes away on its own after delivery, it can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.
If your glucose levels are higher than normal, you may be diagnosed with pre-diabetes.
This means that your body becomes resistant to insulin and less and less efficient at extracting sugar from the blood and converting it into energy.
Genetics and lifestyle, including diet and exercise, are risk factors for prediabetes. If not treated, prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that prediabetes can be reduced through treatment and lifestyle changes. By eating healthily, exercising more, and taking prescribed medication, your body can begin to regulate blood sugar levels again.
(5) Other forms of diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus is the full name for diabetes, but it is usually referred to only as diabetes. Diabetic ketoacidosis (abbreviated DKA) is a very serious disease.
It occurs when there is no insulin to help the body use sugar for energy.
Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, and the body turns to fat for energy.
Another, lesser-known form of diabetes is that which occurs as a result of damage to the pancreas, either through surgical removal of inflammation.
This is called pancreatic deprivation diabetes. Other forms of diabetes arise from genetic causes or from the use of certain drugs.
- Possible symptoms of elevated glucose include the following:
- Feeling very thirsty (polydipsia).
- Feeling very hungry (polyphagia).
- Need to urinate constantly, even at night (polyuria).
- Weight loss, despite eating a lot.
- Blurred vision.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
- Recurrent fungal infections of the skin.
If glucose rises slowly and progressively (usually in type 2 diabetes), it can take years for symptoms to appear, and the disease can therefore go undetected.
“Just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean it won’t hurt, and hence the importance of early diagnosis to prevent the occurrence of complications,” González stresses.
Currently, it is not possible to prevent type 1 diabetes, despite the many attempts that have been made. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common, can be prevented.
Since obesity is the main cause, “all actions related to the prevention of obesity – avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, junk food, sugary drinks…- will have a positive result,” underlines González, who states that it is known “that a healthy lifestyle reduces the risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 80 percent.”
Once the disease has been diagnosed, the occurrence of micro-and macro-vascular complications must be prevented.
Following prescribed treatment and dietary and exercise recommendations are essential to prevent complications such as cardiovascular complications, renal complications, diabetic retinopathy, or diabetic foot complications.
It is also advisable to carry out periodic check-ups, among which the following stand out:
- Eye fundus.
- Analysis of kidney function.
- Assessment of the feet.
- Measurement of blood pressure.
People with diabetes should also watch out for hypoglycemia (low blood glucose).
A person is currently considered to have hypoglycemia when their blood sugar is below 70 mg/dl.
It is the most common acute complication of diabetes and can occur in many circumstances:
- Too high a dose of insulin.
- Insufficient carbohydrates in meals.
- Eating too late.
- Extra effort for the administered insulin dose.
- Some oral antidiabetics can also cause hypoglycemia.
- Delivery of insulin into the muscles instead of the subcutaneous tissue.
- Errors in insulin delivery (giving rapid instead of delayed insulin or dosing errors).
- Bathing or showering with very hot water shortly after taking your insulin.
Measures to prevent hypoglycemia include performing more blood glucose checks throughout the day. Especially if exercise has been undertaken, as well as planning the exercise to be carried out to adjust the insulin to be administered and the carbohydrates to be eaten.
In this sense, experts stress that insulin should never be administered without blood glucose control.
 How can measure the glucose level with a blood glucose meter?
A good blood glucose meter is vital for people with diabetes. Because by measuring, you can keep an eye on your values. Thus you can prevent or postpone complications.
Which test numbers tell me whether I have diabetes or pre-diabetes?
|Diagnosis||A1C (percent)||Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) a||Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) ab||Random plasma glucose test (RPG) a|
|Normal||below 5.7||99 or below||139 or below|
|Prediabetes||5.7 to 6.4||100 to 125||140 to 199|
|Diabetes||6.5 or above||126 or above||200 or above||200 or above|
There are different ways to measure glucose.
Implantable continuous glucose meters (CGM), which consist of a small sensor implanted in the forearm and a transmitter that sends the data to an application the patient installs on their mobile phone, can be particularly useful when exercising.
These devices provide results in real-time, which can also be downloaded to other mobile phones.
They also allow alarms to be programmed to be triggered when the patient has levels approaching hypoglycemia and provide the ability to track blood glucose levels and analyze how diet or exercise affects them.
A diagnosis of diabetes is made if a blood glucose test shows a reading of more than 126 mg/dl (fasted) or 200 mg/dl (two hours after consuming a glucose drink), or if any blood glucose test shows a reading of more than 200 and there are other symptoms which suggest a diagnosis of diabetes.
- Blood glucose tests must be repeated to confirm the results.
- There are only 4 ways to diagnose diabetes:
- Basal blood glucose (fasted) higher than 126 mg/dl
- Glycated hemoglobin level higher than 6.5
- Blood glucose curve with 75 g of glucose higher than 200 mg/dl
Random blood glucose (at any time of the day) higher than 200 mg/dl with typical symptoms
All these cases must be confirmed on a second occasion except the last, which is confirmed by the symptoms.
For the treatment of diabetes, it is important which type of diabetes you have. Moreover, everyone reacts differently to a treatment.
Therefore, the treatment also differs from person to person. The main components of diabetes treatment are healthy eating, sufficient exercise, not smoking, medication and insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you will usually receive dietary and exercise advice in addition to medication. Just taking a pill is not enough.
Healthy eating and exercise are often more important. By exercising, your body responds better to the hormone insulin. Stopping smoking is also important.
(a) Good nutrition is very important
Healthy eating also has a lot of influence, both on blood sugar levels and on, for example, the cholesterol in the blood. Fortunately, healthy food can also be very tasty.
See the recipes or read more about eating with diabetes
(b) Treatment with medicines
Diabetes can be treated with various medicines to lower blood sugar levels. In addition, the doctor often prescribes medication to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. This treatment significantly reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
More about medicines to lower blood sugar.
(3) Injecting insulin
Insulin is injected using an insulin pen. An insulin pen is similar to a thick fountain pen with an insulin filling and a fine needle. More about an insulin pen.
(4) Better for your health
There are factors, such as hereditary, that make lifestyle changes less obvious. For some people, this can be very discouraging! Yet it is better for your health in the long run. You may avoid having to take more medication or inject more insulin in the short term. Or you may ensure that certain complications do not occur.
Type 1 diabetes
Treatment of type 1 diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes need to monitor their glucose levels carefully and take insulin to control their blood sugar. It is also important to count carbohydrates, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.
Do you regularly suffer from high blood glucose levels? Then it may help to eat less carbohydrates or to use products with a low glycemic index. This will reduce the burden of high glucose peaks. You then need less insulin. This reduces the chance of low blood glucose values and makes your values more stable.
Type 2 diabetes treatment
In type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells are usually less sensitive to insulin, so that they absorb less glucose from the blood. The production of insulin by the pancreas also often decreases. A healthy(er) lifestyle with a low-carbohydrate diet and regular exercise will maintain your weight. This usually improves insulin sensitivity in the cells. You also get better cholesterol values and it lowers blood pressure. This reduces the risk of complications or allows you to postpone them.
Prediabetes can be delayed or even reversed through lifestyle changes, including losing excess weight, eating a healthy diet, increasing exercise and quitting smoking.
Treatment of gestational diabetes
Depending on what causes gestational diabetes, you may be able to control your blood sugar levels with diet and exercise, or you may need to use insulin.
(5) An insulin pump
There are also insulin pumps, which deliver a little insulin continuously via a needle in your stomach. You can give extra doses around meals. The insulin pump is a small device that fits in your pocket, often with a mini remote control.
If you use insulin, an insulin pump can be a godsend. A pump continuously releases small amounts of insulin. This often keeps your blood glucose level more stable than insulin injections. Whether it is something for you differs from person to person.
An insulin pump is a small device attached to your body by a tube. Through the tube and a thin plastic catheter under the skin of your abdomen, it constantly delivers a little (short-acting) insulin. Before a meal, you have the pump deliver extra insulin: a bolus. The pump remembers how much insulin was delivered so you can see it afterwards.
Wireless insulin pump
An insulin pump can also be wireless. It sits directly on the skin and does not require a separate infusion set with a tube. Because the pump is waterproof, you don’t need to disconnect it while showering or swimming. Very occasionally it happens that people cannot tolerate the pump because of skin problems.
Internal insulin pump
An internal insulin pump is suitable for people who are allergic to insulin or whose insulin is not absorbed properly. In the Netherlands, about 70 people use it. The internal insulin pump is inserted under the skin with surgery. It has to be refilled with special insulin every six weeks in the hospital. The pump continues to work like an ordinary insulin pump.
Although no specific diet as such has been established for Diabetes, diet is an essential part of treatment to improve glycaemic control, whose efficacy is comparable and even superior to that of many drugs.
“In addition, it is also effective in controlling lipids and blood pressure, and in preventing complications of Diabetes. Therefore, it is worth taking the time to explain to patients the benefits of diet and implement an adequate prescription of the same.
In the future, I will tell more about unknown facts in diabetes, causes, other symptoms, and advanced treatment.