Diabetes: Definition, Causes and Symptoms

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough — or any insulin, or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy. Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

What is Type 1 diabetes?

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

What causes diabetes?

Diabetes causes vary depending on your genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, health and environmental factors. There is no common diabetes cause that fits every type of diabetes. The reason there is no defined diabetes cause is because the causes of diabetes vary depending on the individual and the type. For instance; the causes of type 1 diabetes vary considerably from the causes of gestational diabetes. Similarly, the causes of type 2 diabetes are distinct from the causes of type 1 diabetes.

How does diabetes affect my body?

The excess blood sugar in diabetes can wreak havoc on blood vessels all over the body and cause complications. It can severely damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other body parts; cause sexual problems; and double the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some people with type 2 diabetes need insulin, but most don’t.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased tiredness
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

How can I find out if I have diabetes?

Maybe you’re losing weight. You may have type 2 diabetes. To find out what you have, you can make an appointment with your doctor and have your blood tested for the condition. Or you can go to the drug store, buy a blood glucose meter, and give yourself a diabetes test.

If I have signs of diabetes, what should I do?

Call your doctor and make an appointment today. Your doctor will guide you accordingly and give you the best advice. Ask your doctor about ways to bring down your blood sugar levels so you can delay the development of Type 2 diabetes.

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