Diabetes,Symptoms, Causes ,Treatments
Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
Facts on Diabetes
Here are some key points about diabetes.
Diabetes is a long-term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.
In 2013 it was estimated that over 382 million people throughout the world had diabetes (Williams textbook of endocrinology).
Type 1 Diabetes – the body does not produce insulin. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1.
Type 2 Diabetes – the body does not produce enough insulin for proper function. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type.
Gestational Diabetes – this type affects females during pregnancy.
The most common diabetes symptoms include frequent urination, intense thirst and hunger, weight gain, unusual weight loss, fatigue, cuts and bruises that do not heal, male sexual dysfunction, numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
If you have Type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life.
Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels.
As the risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for a diabetic, it is crucial that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are monitored regularly.
As smoking might have a serious effect on cardiovascular health, diabetics should stop smoking.
Hypoglycemia – low blood glucose – can have a bad effect on the patient. Hyperglycemia – when blood glucose is too high – can also have a bad effect on the patient.
This information hub offers detailed but easy-to-follow information about diabetes. Should you be interested in the latest scientific research on diabetes, please see our diabetes news section.
There are three types of diabetes:
For more information on how type 1 and type 2 diabetes compare, see our article: the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Patients with type 1 are treated with regular insulin injections, as well as a special diet and exercise.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes are usually treated with tablets, exercise and a special diet, but sometimes insulin injections are also required.
If diabetes is not adequately controlled the patient has a significantly higher risk of developing complications.
Complications linked to badly controlled diabetes:
Below is a list of possible complications that can be caused by badly controlled diabetes:
Eye complications – glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and some others.
Foot complications – neuropathy, ulcers, and sometimes gangrene which may require that the foot be amputated
Skin complications – people with diabetes are more susceptible to skin infections and skin disorders
Heart problems – such as ischemic heart disease, when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished
Hypertension – common in people with diabetes, which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke
Mental health – uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders
Hearing loss – diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing hearing problems
Gum disease – there is a much higher prevalence of gum disease among diabetes patients
Gastroparesis – the muscles of the stomach stop working properly
Ketoacidosis – a combination of ketosis and acidosis; accumulation of ketone bodies and acidity in the blood.
Neuropathy – diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which can lead to several different problems.
HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome) – blood glucose levels shoot up too high, and there are no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.
Nephropathy – uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney disease
PAD (peripheral arterial disease) – symptoms may include pain in the leg, tingling and sometimes problems walking properly
Stroke – if blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels are not controlled, the risk of stroke increases significantly
Erectile dysfunction – male impotence.
Infections – people with badly controlled diabetes are much more susceptible to infections
Healing of wounds – cuts and lesions take much longer to heal