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April 27, 2020

What to know about diabetes

Types, causes, symptoms and treatment

Illness Diabetes

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Diabetes blood sugar check Ta Nu/

Are you always tired? Do you have excessive thirst and unexplainable weight loss? If so, you should discuss your symptoms with a doctor. They may be a sign of diabetes.

Our body needs insulin to transform glucose into energy. When your pancreas isn’t making enough or your body is unable to use it properly, blood glucose levels can spike, leading to hyperglycemia and damage to organs and tissues.

There is no cure for diabetes. However, with proper treatment and a few healthy changes to your lifestyle, diabetes doesn’t have to control your life.

Types of diabetes

There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational.

Type 1 diabetes occurs mostly in children and teenagers. With this chronic condition, the pancreas produces very little insulin, so daily injections of insulin are required to keep blood glucose levels under control.

The onset of type 2 diabetes is typically later in adulthood. With this type, your body isn’t able to use insulin efficiently. Treatment involves a healthy diet, regular exercise routine, oral drugs, and insulin.

Gestational diabetes refers to a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, including women with no previous history of diabetes. High blood glucose levels at this time can affect both the expectant mom and her baby. Gestational diabetes increases the risk of giving birth to a very large baby, which also raises the risk of Cesarean section.

Women with gestational diabetes are also at higher risk for preeclampsia (high blood pressure) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). The risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life also increases for women with gestational diabetes.

Causes of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is not connected to lifestyle and diet. Studies have found that genetics may predispose a child to it. Certain viruses can also be a trigger.

With type 2 diabetes, a diet heavy in sweetened and processed foods and beverages, high blood pressure, obesity, and having a family member with the disease can all increase your risk.

People of African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American or Pacific Islander descent are at particular risk for prediabetes, which is a precursor to both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Warning signs and symptoms

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can appear suddenly. If you observe the following symptoms in your child, consult the pediatrician right away:

• increased thirst
frequent urination
extreme hunger
unintended weight loss
mood changes
• fatigue and weakness
blurred vision

Type 2 diabetes makes itself known in similar ways. You may also find that you are easily bruised and cuts take longer to heal. Tingling or numbness in hands or feet are also common. Some people living with type 2 diabetes only experience mild symptoms. That is why early detection and treatment is crucial to reduce complications.

Treatment for diabetes

Early detection and treatment are the best ways to reduce your risk. This includes glucose testing and patient education on nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

The goal of treatment for diabetes is to keep your blood sugar at as close to normal levels as possible. This means monitoring your blood sugar and keeping track of your daily intake of carbohydrates, fat, and protein. For some patients, it also means taking daily insulin or oral medication. Having a strong health care team focused on your care can really make a difference in the prevention and early treatment of diabetes.

Want to better understand your risk for diabetes? Learn more from the American Diabetes Association.

Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication. If you have, or suspect that you have, a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

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