Millions of people around the world have diabetes. Diabetes is a lifelong disease that must be treated. It happens when the body is not able to produce enough insulin or use insulin properly. Insulin maintains the level of sugar in your blood. Without enough insulin, too much sugar builds in your bloodstream. High blood sugar can cause many problems. This article explains the causes of diabetes and its symptoms. It also explains how to prevent it and how to treat it if you get it.
Types of Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It is caused by your immune system attacking and destroying the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. This type of diabetes is usually discovered in children or young adults. People with Type 1 diabetes require insulin therapy to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to use insulin properly. This leads to insulin resistance. This type of diabetes is more common in adults. It is often the result of obesity, poor diet, and not enough physical activity. Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed by changing your lifestyle. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medication.
Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The body does not produce enough insulin to meet the increased demands of pregnancy. This type of diabetes usually goes away after childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes may develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Causes of Diabetes
The exact causes of diabetes are not yet fully understood. Several things may contribute to the development of the condition, including:
Genetic Factors: People with a family history of the disease are at increased risk of getting it.
Lifestyle Factors: Obesity, poor diet, and lack of physical activity may cause Type 2 diabetes.
Autoimmune Factors: In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Pregnancy: During pregnancy, your hormone levels change. This can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to gestational diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The symptoms of diabetes vary depending on the type of diabetes and how serious it is.
Some common symptoms of diabetes are:
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow healing of cuts and bruises
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Weight loss (in Type 1 diabetes)
Prevention of Diabetes
You may not be able to avoid getting diabetes due to your age or your family history. However, you can help prevent it by doing the following:
- Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese is a major reason people get Type 2 diabetes. Keep your weight under control with regular exercise and a healthy diet. This may keep you from getting diabetes.
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. This could be fast walking or riding a bike.
- Maintain a healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy diet that is low in fat. Stay away from processed foods. Eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Add some lean protein and healthy fat like olive oil and avocados.
- Quit smoking
Smoking can help cause diabetes and other health problems. If you quit smoking, you may avoid getting diabetes and be healthier in general.
- Get regular check-ups
See your doctor regularly as they can detect diabetes and other health problems before they become serious. If you do have a family history of diabetes, ask your doctor about tests that can tell if you have it.
If you do have diabetes, you must get treatment. If you don’t, you may develop serious health problems. Be sure to keep your weight down, exercise, and eat healthy foods. Do not smoke and see your doctor on a regular basis. All these things can help prevent diabetes. They will also improve your overall health.
Do you have questions about your healthcare plan? Do you want to learn more about how to stay healthy? Our case managers are ready to talk to you and help you. Just call them at 713.295.2222.