What is Diabetes? Symptoms, Types, Causes and Related Complications

What is Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting millions globally, isn’t just a medical term – it’s a complex web of surprising statistics. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), over 382 million people worldwide are suffering from this disease, a number expected to rise to 478 million by 2030. 

In other words, roughly 1 in 11 adults is living with the condition. These eye-opening numbers shed light on the prevalence, impact, and potential of this disease. 

What is Diabetes?

Imagine a body as an engine, and that is fueled by sugar. In a healthy situation, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, acts as a key, enabling cells to absorb this sugar for energy. However, it can lead to malfunctions. 

Either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin (type 1) or can’t utilize it effectively (type 2), leading to a sugar build-up in the bloodstream – hyperglycemia. This excess sugar, over time, can affect the body’s systems.

Common Diabetes Symptoms

1 in 5 Diabetic people are undiagnosed, putting them at increased risk of complications. Thus, diagnosis and treatment are very important. If you are experiencing the below-mentioned symptoms, you must consult a doctor as soon as possible. 

  1. Increased thirst and urination: The kidneys try to flush out excess sugar, leading to frequent urination and thirst.
  2. Excessive hunger and unexplained weight loss: The body, starved for usable sugar, craves more food but struggles to utilize it, leading to weight loss.
  3. Fatigue and blurred vision: High blood sugar levels can drain your energy and affect your vision.
  4. Slow-healing wounds and frequent infections: Poor blood circulation due to high blood sugar levels can hamper wound healing and increase susceptibility to infections.
  5. Hands and feet tingling or numbness: Nerve damage, a potential 

Complications can cause these sensations.

What are the Types of Diabetes?

High Blood Sugar levels can be categorized into many types. Doctors decide the treatment according to the type.

  • Diabetes Type 1: Diabetes Type 1 is mostly diagnosed in childhood; the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells, leading to absolute insulin deficiency. Around 5-10% of Diabetic people are suffering from Type 1.
  • Diabetes Type 2: Type 2 diabetes is the most common one, with over 90-95% of cases. Here, the body either produces insufficient insulin or becomes resistant to its effects. It is often linked to lifestyle factors like obesity and inactivity.
  • Diabetes Type 3: This type is caused due to insulin resistance or insulin-like growth factor dysfunction in the brain that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Develops during pregnancy in some women, usually resolving after childbirth. However, it can increase the risk of developing type 2 later in life. Gestational diabetes affects 25% of pregnancies globally. Thus, it is important to get a diabetes test during pregnancy.
  • Prediabetes: It is a condition when the blood sugar levels of a person are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be classified as type 2.

What are the Causes of Diabetes?

The exact cause of type 1 remains unknown, but genetic and environmental factors may be a reason. The causes of Type 2 can be family history, unhealthy weight, physical inactivity, and dietary choices high in sugar and processed foods. Type 3 diabetes disease is a result of chronic pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, exocrine pancreatic cancer, or previous pancreatic surgery.

Diabetes-Related Disease and Complications: 

High Blood Sugar level is the 7th leading cause of mortality globally, claiming 1.5 million lives annually. Unmanaged and ignored high sugar levels can lead to serious complications and health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke: High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, increasing the risk of strokes to 1.5 times higher risk and 2-4 times higher risk of heart attack. 
  • Kidney disease: It can gradually damage the kidneys, leading to potential kidney failure. Diabetic people are at 20 times higher risk Of kidney-related complications.
  • Nerve damage: This can cause pain, numbness, and even foot ulcers that might require amputation. 
  • Vision loss: Diabetic retinopathy can damage the retina, leading to vision impairment and even blindness. Diabetic people are at ten times higher risk of vision loss. 

How to Prevent and Manage Diabetes?

It is a lifelong condition, but it’s manageable. Taking medications as prescribed, adopting a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet plan, exercising regularly, and monitoring Blood Sugar levels are crucial steps. However, early diagnosis and proper management can prevent or delay complications and lead to a fulfilling life.

To Sum Up: 

Advances in research offer promising possibilities for diabetes prevention, treatment, and even cure. Statistics in this blog paint a sobering picture, but they also highlight the urgency and importance of awareness, prevention, and effective management of this health condition. Above all, by understanding the scope of this disease and its impact, we can manage and take control of our health.

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