Diabetes is a disease that cannot be overlooked, particularly when it comes to global health. This disorder has eaten deep into the world’s population, affecting both young and old individuals of all races at large. In the United States, about 5.9 percent of the total population is diabetic. Globally, it has also been referred as the seventh leading cause of death. It is a chronic disease without a cure but with appropriate management and treatment, diabetics can live a normal and healthy life.
Diabetes is a disorder of the way an individual’s body utilizes digested food for energy. In other words, diabetes may simply be referred to as a disorder of metabolic activities in an individual. The human digestive system breaks down sugars and starches found in many foods into glucose (a type of sugar that enters the bloodstream) for the body to utilize. Cells in the body then absorb this glucose converting them to energy. This is achieved with the help of a hormone called insulin. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the insulin produced is not effectively utilized.
However, there are 3 types of diabetes. These are as follow:
Type I Diabetes:
This is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile onset diabetes. Insulin-dependent diabetes is caused when there is damage to the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ situated behind the stomach. The pancreas contains a large number of cluster cells referred to as islet. These islets are responsible for the production of beta cells (beta cells are responsible for the production of insulin). The deficiency of insulin is due to a decline in the number of beta cells the pancreas contains which may result in deficiency if lower. Patients with type I diabetes usually experience what is referred to as ‘honeymoon period’ shortly after they are diagnosed.
Type II Diabetes:
This is also referred to as Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes or Adult Onset Diabetes. This is the commonest type of diabetes, with about 90 percent of diabetics belonging into this category. Typically, this occurs when an individual’s body cannot utilize the insulin produced effectively (insulin resistance). Glucose builds up in the bloodstream as due to this and results in a diabetic condition in an individual.
This is another form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy and usually disappears after the baby is born. However, it increases the mother’s risk of developing type II diabetes at a later stage.
Some warning signs of Type I diabetes include:
- Unusual weight loss
- Increased urge to urinate
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Having difficulty with sight
Some warning signs of type II diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Bruises or cuts that heal slowly
- Tingling sensation or numbness in the hands and feet
Some risk factors that predispose an individual to this disorder are:
- People over the age of 45
- Excessive gain of weight
- Individual with low HDL cholesterol
- Hereditary (having a parent who is diabetic)
However, it would be a blunder to assume that diabetes will go away. It is imperative to know that predisposing factors will make this disorder to continue to linger in the population at large.
However, with provision of adequate care, medication, weight loss programs, physical activity and changes in eating result in management of the blood glucose. However, this means that diabetics, can be monitored, controlled and their risk of developing diabetes complications is much lower.