Diabetes: Types, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. This occurs when your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t efficiently utilize the insulin it produces. Insulin, a hormone, facilitates the movement of sugar from the blood into cells for storage or energy usage. When this process malfunctions, diabetes may develop. Untreated high blood sugar associated with diabetes can lead to nerve damage, vision problems, kidney issues, and damage to other organs. However, educating oneself about it and taking preventive or management measures can help safeguard one’s health. For more research you can also visit the World Health Organization.

What is Diabetes, Type-2 Diabetes and Prediabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that impacts how your body converts food into energy. After consuming food, your body breaks down most of it into sugar, known as glucose, and releases it into your bloodstream. As blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas is prompted to release insulin. So this is the most common type. It usually happens to adults but can affect people of any age, even kids. Because of type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, and your pancreas, which makes insulin can’t make enough of it to control your blood glucose. On the other hand, prediabetes is a significant health condition characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, which are higher than normal but not yet at the level to be diagnosed as type-2 diabetes. Approximately 98 million American adults, which is more than 1 in 3, have prediabetes. More than 80% of individuals with prediabetes are unaware of their condition.

What are the Types of Diabetes?

There are several types of it:

Type 1: An autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. The cause of this attack is not entirely clear.

Type 2: Occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, leading to a buildup of sugar in the blood. It is the most common type, affecting about 90% to 95% of people with diabetes.

Type 1.5: (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults – LADA): Similar to type 1 diabetes but develops gradually during adulthood. It is also an autoimmune disease but cannot be managed solely through diet or lifestyle changes.

Gestational: High blood sugar during pregnancy, caused by insulin blocking hormones produced by the placenta.

Diabetes Insipidus: A rare condition unrelated to diabetes mellitus, characterized by excessive fluid removal by the kidneys.

Other Types of Diabetes: In addition to type-1, type-2, and gestational diabetes, there are less common forms of the condition. Some examples include:

  • Monogenic diabetes
  • Type 3c diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes

Diabetes in Pregnancy:

People who have never had diabetes can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Hormones produced by the placenta can increase the body’s resistance to the effects of insulin.

Pre- Gestational Diabetes:

Some individuals may have diabetes before conception and continue to have it during pregnancy. This condition is known as pre-gestational diabetes.

Risk to Your Newborn:

Diabetes during pregnancy can result in complications for your newborn, including jaundice or respiratory issues. If you are diagnosed with pre-gestational or gestational diabetes, you will require specialized monitoring to prevent complications.

Diabetes in Children:

Children can develop both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. It’s crucial to manage blood sugar levels effectively in young individuals because diabetes can harm vital organs like the heart and kidneys.

Type-1 Diabetes:

The autoimmune form of diabetes typically begins in childhood. One of the primary symptoms is frequent urination. Children with type-1 diabetes may experience bedwetting even after being toilet trained. Other signs of the condition include excessive thirst, fatigue, and hunger. It’s crucial for children with type-1 diabetes to receive prompt treatment as the condition can lead to high blood sugar, dehydration, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which can be medical emergencies.

Type-2 Diabetes:

Type-1 diabetes was previously referred to as juvenile diabetes because type-2 diabetes was uncommon in children. However, with the rise in childhood obesity, type-2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent in this age group. Some children with type-2 diabetes may not have any symptoms, while others may experience:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision

It is typically diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and blood tests. Untreated type-2 diabetes can lead to lifelong complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vision impairment. Encouraging your child to adopt healthy eating habits and engage in regular exercise can assist in managing their blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of these complications. Given the increasing prevalence of type-2 diabetes among young individuals, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms and promptly inform your child’s doctor for proper evaluation and management.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?

Because type 2 diabetes often develops slowly. In fact you can be living with type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Increased thrust
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infection
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

Symptoms in Men:

In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may experience:

  • A decrease sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Poor muscle strength

Symptoms in Women:

Women with diabetes can have symptoms such as:

  • Vaginal dryness
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Yeast infections
  • Dry, itchy skin

What are the Causes of Diabetes?

Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes: Doctors do not have a precise understanding of what causes it. However, it is believed that the immune system erroneously targets and destroys insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Genetic factors may contribute to the development of the disease in some individuals. Additionally, it is theorized that certain viruses may trigger an immune system response leading to the destruction of pancreatic beta cells.

Type 2 Diabetes: It is influenced by a blend of genetic predisposition and lifestyle choices. Being overweight or obese also heightens your susceptibility. Excess weight, particularly around the abdomen, renders your cells less responsive to insulin’s impact on blood sugar regulation. Furthermore, it tends to run in families. Shared genetic traits among family members increase the likelihood of developing it and being overweight.

Type 1.5: It is also known as latent autoimmune it, in adults is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the body’s immune system attacking the pancreas, similar to it. While there may be a genetic component involved, further research is necessary to fully understand its causes.

Gestational: Gestational, arises due to hormonal shifts during pregnancy. Hormones produced by the placenta diminish the sensitivity of cells to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Being overweight prior to pregnancy or gaining excessive weight during pregnancy increases the risk of developing gestational.

What are the Risk Factors of Diabetes?

You are at a higher risk of developing the disease, if you are a child or teenager, have a parent or siblings with the condition, or carry specific genes associated with the disease. Factors that may increase the risk of it include:

  • Weight
  • Fat distribution
  • Inactivity
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Blood lipid levels
  • Age
  • Prediabetes
  • Pregnancy related risk
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

What is the Diagnosis of Diabetes?

Because it is usually diagnosed using the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) tests. So this blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. So results are interpreted as follows:

  • Below 5.7% is normal
  • 5.7%to 6.4% is diagnosed
  • 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates it

If the A1C test isn’t available and if you have certain conditions that interfere with A1C test, your health care provider may use the following test and diagnosed it:

  • Random blood sugar test
  • Fasting blood sugar test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
  • Screening

What is the Treatment of Diabetes?

Management and treatment of it includes:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Possibly, diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Healthy diet
  • Physical activity
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Resistance exercise
  • Limit inactivity

What are the Complications of Diabetes?

Because it affects many major organs including the heart, blood vessel, nerves, eye and kidney. Also, factors that increase the risk of it are the risk factors for the other serious diseases. And managing it and controlling blood sugar can lower the risk for these complications and other medical conditions, including:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Nerve damage in limbs
  • Nephropathy
  • Foot damage, such as infections and sores that don’t heal
  • Other nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye Damage
  • Skin conditions
  • Slow healing
  • Hearing impairment
  • Sleep apnea
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Premature birth
  • Higher than typical weight at birth
  • Increase risk for type-2 diabetes later in life
  • Low blood sugar
  • Jaundice
  • Stillbirth

What is the Prevention of Diabetes?

So healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent it. But if you’ve received a diagnosis of prediabetes, lifestyle changes may slow or stop the progression to it. But the healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy foods
  • Getting active
  • Weight loss
  • Avoiding long stretches of inactivity
  • Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercises such as walking or cycling
  • Reduce intake of saturated and trans fats, as well as refined carbohydrates, in your diet
  • Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Control portion sizes by eating smaller meals
  • If overweight or obese, strive to lose 5% to 7% of your body weight

What is the Role of Glucose and How Insulin Works?

Insulin is the hormone that comes from the pancreas, a gland located behind and below the stomach. And the insulin controls how the body uses sugar in the following ways:

  • Sugar in the bloodstream triggers the pancreas to release insulin.
  • Insulin circulates in the bloodstream, enabling sugar to enter the cells.
  • The amount of sugar in the bloodstream drops.
  • In response to this drop, the pancreas releases less insulin.

Because glucose – a sugar – is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. The use and regulation of glucose includes the following:

  • Glucose comes from two major sources: Food and the liver.
  • Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin.
  • The liver stores and makes glucose.

When glucose levels are low, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep the body’s glucose level within a healthy range. Because this process doesn’t work well. Instead of moving into the cells, sugar builds up in the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas releases more insulin. Eventually the cells in the pancreas that make insulin become damaged and can’t make enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.

What are the Medications of Diabetes?

  • Metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza, others)
  • Sulfonylureas
  • Glinides
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • DPP-4 inhibitors
  • GLP-1 receptors agonists
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors
  • Other medications

Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS):

This life threatening condition includes a blood sugar reading higher than 600 mg/dL(33.3 mmol/L). Symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme thirst
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dark urine
  • Seizures

Diabetic Ketoacidosis:

Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when a lack of insulin results in the body breaking down fat or fuel rather than sugar. Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fruity- smelling breath

Low Blood Sugar:

If your blood sugar level drops down below your target and range, it’s known as low blood sugar. Symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion


Is boiled egg good for diabetic patients?

A hard-boiled egg is a convenient and nutritious snack option for individuals with diabetes. Its high protein content helps to keep you feeling full while having minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Protein not only shows down the digestion process but also reduces the absorption of glucose, making it particularly beneficial for those managing it.

Can diabetics eat bananas?

A person with it should include a variety of fresh, whole foods in their diet, such as nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables. Bananas are a safe and nutritious fruit for people with it, to eat in moderation as part of a balanced, individualized eating plan.

Is diabetes type 2 genetic?

It has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1, and studies of twins have shown that genetics play a very strong role in the development of type 2. Race can also play a role. Yet it also depends on environmental factors.

Is HbA1c of 40 good?

Pre-diabetic is where your sugar test (HbA1c) shows you are at risk of developing it in the future. If the blood test is 41 or below, it is normal. If the results are 48 or above, it is likely diabetes. If your results are 42 to 47 it means you are in the gray area, between normal.

What is borderline diabetes?

Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed. Approximately 98 million American adults-more than 1 in 3-have prediabetes. Of those with pre-diabetics, more than 80% don’t know they have it.

Is 99 borderline diabetics?

The normal blood glucose level is between 70 mg/dL to 99 mg/dL. In patients with prediabetes, you can expect to see blood glucose levels elevated between 110 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL.

How to reduce HbA1c from 6 to 5?

Below are 7 different ways you can work on lowering your A1C over time.

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Medications for high A1C
  • Follow up with your healthcare provider
  • Manage stress and mental health
  • Find a community for diabetes self-management

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