Diabetes is a disease that is having a status of a likely epidemic in India. More than 62 million individuals are currently diagnosed with diabetes. In 2000, India (31.7 million) had maximum number of individuals in the world diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, followed by China (20.8 million) and then the United States (17.7 million). According to data prevalence of diabetes is expected to double globally from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030 with a maximum number of patients in India.
Diabetes occurs when the body does not produce any insulin or less insulin, or the body does not properly use the insulin that is produced, or it can be a combination of both. When any of these happens, the body is not able to get sugar from the blood into the cells. This leads to high levels of blood sugar.
Glucose, in our blood is a form of sugar which is one of our main energy sources. A decrease in levels of insulin or improper utilization of insulin causes glucose levels to increase in our blood. This can cause many health problems.
TYPES OF DIABETES
There are three types of diabetes:
1 Type 1 Diabetes
2 Type 2 Diabetes
3 Gestational DiabetesType 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. It means that our immune system itself attacks and destroys the beta cells present in the pancreas which produce insulin. This damage is permanent. What initiates the attacks is not clear. The reasons may be both genetic and environmental.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes starts due to resistance to insulin. It means our body is unable to use insulin efficiently. This stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin. Pancreas keeps on producing more and more insulin until it can no longer keep up with demand of the body. The Insulin levels decrease gradually, which is the cause of higher levels of blood sugar. The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is not known. But contributing factors may include:
b) Sedentary life style
d) Other health factors and environmental reasons.
This type of diabetes is caused due to hormones which block insulin. These insulin-blocking hormones are produced during pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes occurs only during pregnancy.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
1. Excessive thirst and hunger
2. Frequent urination
3. Drowsiness or fatigue
4. Dry, itchy skin
5. Blurry vision
6. Slow-healing wounds
Type 1 diabetes develops more quickly and cause symptoms like weight loss or a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when we have very high blood sugar levels and little or no insulin in our body.
Type 2 diabetes may cause dark patches in the folds of skin like armpits and neck. Type 2 diabetes takes longer to diagnose, we may feel symptoms at the time of diagnosis, like pain or numbness in the feet.
The symptoms of both the types of diabetes (Type and Type 2) can appear at any age, but generally type 1 diabetes occurs in children and young adults. Type 2 Diabetes occurs mostly in people over the age of 45. But now a days younger people are also increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes due to sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise and obesity.
Complications of Diabetes
Complications of diabetes develop over time. If the blood sugar levels are poorly controlled it may increase the risk of serious complications that can also become life-threatening.
Chronic complications of Diabetes include:
1. Vascular diseases which may lead to heart attack or stroke
2. eye problems(retinopathy)
3. infection of skin
4. nerve damage( neuropathy)
5. renal damage( nephropathy)
6. amputations which may be due to neuropathy or vascular disease
Type 2 diabetes also may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, if your blood sugar is not well controlled.
Complications during pregnancy
During pregnancy high blood sugar levels can harm both mother and child. It increases the risk of:
1. High blood pressure
3. Miscarriage or stillbirth
4. Birth defects
Prevention of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
The risk of type 2 diabetes can be lowered if you:
1. Control your body weight
2. manage your diet
3. exercise regularly
4. smoking should be avoided
If one had gestational diabetes, these factors can delay or prevent the start of type 2 diabetes.