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What is Diabetes & The Different Types of Diabetes

Contributed by; Nancy Dixit

Introduction

Nowadays, diabetes, is a term that we’re pretty familiar with. Diabetes is an extremely common disease, affecting a diverse age range of people across the world. 

Even in family gatherings, people used to talk about what to eat and what not to eat etc. which seems an endless conversation.

If you have diabetes, your body isn’t able to adequately process and use glucose from the food you eat.

Did you know as per the survey in 2019, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths and 48% of all deaths due to diabetes occurred before the age of 70 years?

But before we delve deep, let’s cover the basics.

How diabetes occurs:

When the pancreas produces less insulinWhen the pancreas does not produce insulin

Through this article, we bring to you some unique insights into diabetes and types of diabetes. 

What is diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that happens when your body isn’t able to take up sugar (glucose) into its cells and use it for energy. This results in a build-up of extra sugar in your bloodstream. 

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that acts like a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the bloodstream into the cells in the body to produce energy.

All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells.

Diabetes occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

Those diagnosed with diabetes experience significant health concerns because the disease has proven to be the catalyst for other health problems.

Note: Your family history, environment, and pre-existing medical conditions can all affect your odds of developing diabetes.

In such a situation, Genetic testing or DNA testing is the best option to find out which risks you can control and which ones you can’t.

Diabetes is basically of two types:

Diabetes mellitus (when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control the amount of glucose, or sugar, in your blood)Diabetes insipidus (is a rare disorder that causes the body to make too much urine but your blood glucose levels are normal)

Diabetes mellitus Vs Diabetes insipidus – at a glance:

Sr. No.Diabetes MellitusDiabetes Insipidus1.It is a metabolic disorder characterized by an excessive level of glucose in the bloodIt is characterised by excessive thirst and increased urine output.2.It occurs due to insulin deficiencyIt occurs due to anti-diuretic hormone deficiency3.It causes excessive eatingIt causes dehydration4.Sugar is excreted in urineSugar is not excreted in the urine5.Blood glucose level risesBlood glucose level remains the same

What is diabetes mellitus?

It is a metabolic condition characterised by excessive blood sugar levels in the body (known as hyperglycaemia).

It occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces.

It is further sub-classified as:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (previously known as insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset) is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin. It can develop at any age but occurs most frequently in children and adolescents.

It’s an autoimmune condition. In the pancreas, where insulin is produced, the immune system attacks and destroys those cells (responsible for producing insulin).

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes may include increased urination, excessive thirst, constant hunger, fatigue, vision changes, irritability, numbness in limbs etc.

Treatment:

It requires taking insulin, frequent blood sugar monitoring, following a diabetes diet plan, and exercising regularly.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (formerly called non-insulin-dependent, or adult-onset) is the most common type of diabetes that results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. 

Your body develops insulin resistance, and sugar builds up in your blood, resulting in Type 2 diabetes.

It more often occurs in middle-aged and older people.

This type of diabetes mostly occurs due to less physical activity and obesity or excessive weight.

Did you know more than 95% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes? 

Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus have few same symptoms. But the diseases are not at all related to each other. 

As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, after complications have already arisen.

These diseases give rise to different problems in the human body and have very different treatments.

But apart from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, there are a few more types of diabetes. The two other kinds which are commonly seen are:

Prediabetes Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.Gestational diabetes (GDM) —  It develops in some women during their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy.

What is diabetes insipidus?

The only similarity between these two is the first word of their name. It has nothing to do with the pancreas or blood sugar like diabetes mellitus. 

Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition that takes place in the kidneys and has nothing to do with the pancreas or blood sugar. But it has some of the same signs and symptoms.

In diabetes insipidus, your kidneys can’t properly concentrate urine and you tend to pee a lot and often feel thirsty.

Diabetes insipidus is caused by a deficiency of the anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin (AVP).

AVP plays a key role in regulating the amount of fluid in the body. It helps in retaining water in the body by reducing the amount of water lost through the kidneys, making the kidney produce more concentrated urine.

But in diabetes insipidus, due to lack of AVP, the kidney cannot make enough concentrated urine and too much water is passed from the body.

Did you know diabetes insipidus affects about 1 in 25,000 people in the general population?

Final thoughts

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, you may be suffering from both high blood sugar levels or even low blood sugar levels. So make sure you get yourself checked from time to time.

If you experience any kind of unusual symptoms mentioned above in the article immediately speak to your healthcare provider.

Your doctor may also need to review your diabetic treatment based on your specific health history and imbalance in blood sugar experiences. 

In fact, your diabetic medication may be changed in terms of dosage, kind or time. 

Hence, it is always advised to consult your doctor or nurse before starting or changing your medications. 

Additionally, diabetes tends to run in families. If you’re 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes or are overweight, you’re more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes. 

Furthermore, you should also frequently opt for diabetes screening. This health check can provide you with a comprehensive insight into the state of your condition and overall health, allowing you to take necessary precautions to stay at the top of your health.

Get Tested For Diabetes Today

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