Diabetes is a chronic disease in which your blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar, levels are higher than normal. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces very little or no longer able to make insulin, or when your body can't efficiently use the insulin it does make, this condition called insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy as well as to control the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can lead to serious health problems, such as kidney disease, heart disease and may damage eyes, nerves and other organs.
There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes, their bodies aren't able to produce their own insulin and can't regulate their blood sugar. This is because their immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-making cells in their pancreas (beta cells). They need daily insulin injection or use an insulin pump to ensure their bodies have the right amount of insulin and to control blood glucose levels. Of all the people with diabetes, only approximately 10% have type 1 diabetes and generally develops in children and young people who are under age 30, but it can occur at any age.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, also referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to make enough insulin and the body's cell become resistant to the action of insulin. Instead of moving into cells where it's needed for energy, sugar builds up in the bloodstream.
About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes and it occurs most often in middle-aged and older people who age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with healthy eating and regular exercise, but may also need medication such as tablets or injections help to keep the blood sugar levels within the normal range.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy and usually disappears once the baby is born. Gestational diabetes is sometimes related to the hormonal changes of pregnancy that make the body less able to use insulin. Gestational diabetes typically develops between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes, can increase the risk of high blood pressure while pregnancy. Also, the baby may be at increased risk of excessive birth weight, low blood glucose and difficulty breathing. Gestational diabetes can be controlled with regular exercise and healthy eating. However, some women with gestational diabetes require to inject insulin for better control.
In type 1 diabetes, the body stops producing insulin, meaning the symptoms are often develop very fast and noticeable. However, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are usually develop slowly and gradually as the body still produces insulin, but it may be insufficient, or the body might not respond to it properly.
The common symptoms of diabetes include:
Unexplained weight loss
Slow-healing wounds, sores or bruises.
Dry and itchy skin.
Fatigue or drowsiness.
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information purposes only. It does not replace consultations with qualified healthcare professionals to meet your individual medical needs.