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Home > Symptom > Diabetes Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Diabetes Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Diabetes Symptoms - Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment & Prevention

Overview of Diabetes

When your blood glucose, commonly known as blood sugar, is too high, you develop diabetes. Blood glucose, which is obtained from the food you eat, serves as your body's main energy source. The pancreas makes the hormone insulin, which makes it easier for your cells to absorb glucose from food and use it as fuel. Your body occasionally produces insufficient or no insulin, or it uses insulin poorly. Following that, glucose does not enter your cells and instead stays in your bloodstream.

Over time, health issues might result from having too much glucose in the blood. Although there is no cure for diabetes, you can control it and keep yourself healthy.

What is Diabetes?

A group of metabolic diseases known as diabetes, sometimes known as diabetes mellitus, are characterised by chronically increased blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). Common symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased appetite. If untreated, diabetes can cause a variety of health problems. Acute consequences include hyperosmolar hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and even death. Serious long-term effects include cardiovascular illness, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, eye damage, nerve damage, and cognitive impairment.

Either insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or incorrect insulin uptake by the body's cells cause diabetes. The task of promoting the entry of glucose from food into cells for cellular energy utilisation falls under the purview of the hormone insulin.

Types of Diabetes

Below are the different types of Diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes: 

An autoimmune disease of this kind causes the body to attack itself. In this situation, your pancreas' insulin-producing cells are killed. Type 1 diabetes affects up to 10% of patients with the disease. Typically, children and young adults receive the diagnosis (but can develop at any age). Diabetes used to be more often known as "juvenile" diabetes. Those who have Type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily. It is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes for this reason.

  • Type 2 diabetes: 

With this type, either your body doesn't produce enough insulin or your cells don't react to the insulin as it should. The most typical form of diabetes is this one. Up to 95% of those who have diabetes are Type 2 patients. People in their middle years and older tend to develop it. Insulin-resistant diabetes and adult-onset diabetes are two more names for Type 2 disease. "Having a bit of sugar" is what your parents or grandparents could have described it as.

  • Prediabetes: 

The stage of diabetes before Type 2 is this type. Your blood sugar levels are higher than typical but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

  • Gestational diabetes

 Some women experience this type of development while pregnant. After pregnancy, gestational diabetes typically disappears. However, if you have gestational diabetes, you have a higher chance of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.

Diabetes can occur in less prevalent forms like:

  • Monogenic diabetes syndromes:  Up to 4% of all instances of diabetes are caused by these uncommon hereditary types. Neonatal diabetes and young-onset diabetes with maturity are two examples.
  • Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes: This particular type of diabetes only affects those who have it.
  • Drug or chemical-induced diabetes:  Examples of this type occur after organ transplantation, after HIV/AIDS treatment, or are connected to the use of glucocorticoids.

Causes of Diabetes

Different causes are associated with each type of diabetes.

  • Type 1 Diabetes

According to medical professionals, the precise cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. The immune system wrongly targets and kills insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas for some unknown cause.

Some people may be affected by their genes. Additionally, a virus may trigger an immune system attack.

  • Type 2 Diabetes

The cause of type 2 diabetes is a result of both hereditary and environmental factors. Your risk is further increased if you are overweight or obese. The effects of insulin on your blood sugar are resisted by your cells more when you are overweight, especially in the abdomen.

Families are prone to this condition. Family members are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and obesity due to hereditary factors.

  • Gestational diabetes

Hormonal changes during pregnancy are the cause of gestational diabetes. The placenta secretes hormones that reduce the sensitivity of a pregnant person's cells to the effects of insulin. Pregnancy-related elevated blood sugar can result from this.

Gestational diabetes is more likely to develop in people who are overweight before becoming pregnant or who put on too much weight while pregnant.

Diabetes risk factors

Certain factors increase your risk for diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetes

Children and teenagers, persons with a parent or sibling who has the condition, and those who have specific genes linked to the ailment are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes.

  • Type 2 diabetes

Your risk for type 2 diabetes increases if you:

  • Overweight
  • Age 45 or older
  • have a parent or sibling with the condition
  • Lack of physical activity
  • have had gestational diabetes
  • have prediabetes
  • have high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, or high triglycerides

Gestational diabetes

Your risk for gestational diabetes increases if you:

  • Overweight
  • are over age of 25
  • had gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy
  • have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Symptoms of diabetes

Below are the symptoms of diabetes

The general symptoms of diabetes include:

  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • weight loss
  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • extreme fatigue
  • sores that don’t heal

Diabetes Symptoms in men

In addition to the general symptoms of diabetes, men with diabetes may have:

  • a decreased sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • poor muscle strength

Diabetes Symptoms in women

Women with diabetes can have symptoms such as:

  • vaginal dryness
  • urinary tract infections
  • yeast infections
  • dry, itchy skin

 

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes can include:

  • extreme hunger
  • increased thirst
  • unintentional weight loss
  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • tiredness

It may also result in mood changes.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:

  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • blurry vision
  • tiredness
  • sores that are slow to heal

Moreover, it might lead to recurrent infections. This is due to the fact that when glucose levels are high, the body has a harder time mending.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Women who develop gestational diabetes typically have no symptoms. Medical practitioners typically discover the problem when doing a routine oral glucose tolerance test or blood sugar test, which is frequently done between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

In exceedingly rare situations, a person with gestational diabetes may also experience increased thirst or urination.

Diabetes Complications

High blood sugar damages the tissues and organs in your body. Your risk of complications increases as your blood sugar level rises and as you live with it for a longer period of time.

Complications associated with diabetes include:

  • heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • neuropathy
  • nephropathy
  • retinopathy and vision loss
  • hearing loss
  • foot damage, such as infections and sores that don’t heal
  • skin conditions, such as bacterial and fungal infections
  • depression
  • dementia

Gestational diabetes

If gestational diabetes is not managed, both the mother and the unborn child may experience problems. Baby-related complications can take the following forms:

  • premature birth
  • higher-than-typical weight at birth
  • increased risk for type 2 diabetes later in life
  • low blood sugar
  • jaundice
  • stillbirth

A woman who has gestational diabetes during pregnancy runs the risk of getting type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure (preeclampsia). You can also need a C-section, often known as a caesarean delivery.

Future pregnancies also have a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.

How is Diabetes Diagnosed?

To identify and manage diabetes, your blood glucose level is measured. Three tests: an A1c test, a random blood sugar test, and a fasting blood sugar test can all be used to evaluate your blood glucose level for a Diabetes test.

  • Fasting Blood Sugar Test: Ideally, you should take this test in the morning after an eight-hour fast (nothing to eat or drink except sips of water).
  • Random Blood Sugar Test: There is no requirement to fast before taking this test.
  • HbA1C Test: Your average blood glucose level over the previous two to three months is provided by this test, also known as the HbA1C or glycated haemoglobin test. This test measures how much of your red blood cells' oxygen-carrying protein, haemoglobin, has been bound to glucose. Before this test, you don't need to fast.
  • Glucose Tolerance Test: After an overnight fast, blood glucose is initially assessed in this test. You then sip a sweet beverage. Then, your blood glucose level is assessed after one, two, and three hours.
  • Gestational Diabetes Tests: If you are pregnant, there are two blood glucose tests. In a glucose challenge test, you consume a sweet beverage, after which your blood sugar level is measured an hour later. Before this test, you don't need to fast. An oral glucose tolerance test will come next if this test reveals a higher than usual amount of glucose (above 140 ml/dL) (as described above).
  • Type 1 diabetes: Blood and urine samples will be taken, and examined, if your doctor suspects Type 1 diabetes. Blood samples are examined for autoantibodies (an autoimmune sign that your body is attacking itself). Ketone levels in the urine are investigated (a sign your body is burning fat as its energy supply). These symptoms are a marker of Type 1 diabetes.

Who should be Tested for Diabetes?

You should get checked if you have diabetes or any of its risk factors. Diabetes can be managed and complications can be mitigated or avoided the sooner they are discovered. If a blood test reveals you have prediabetes, you can work with your healthcare provider to adopt lifestyle changes (such as losing weight, exercising, and eating a nutritious diet) to stop or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Additional testing recommendations based on risk factors:

  • Testing for Type 1 Diabetes: Children and young adults with a family history of diabetes should be tested. Less frequently, Type 1 diabetes can also strike elderly persons. Therefore, it's crucial to examine people who visit the hospital and are discovered to be suffering from diabetes-related ketoacidosis. A potentially fatal consequence of Type 1 diabetes is ketoacidosis.
  • Testing for Type 2 Diabetes: Test adults aged 45 years and older, people between the ages of 19 and 44 who are overweight or obese and have one or more risk factors, pregnant women, and kids aged 10 to 18 who are overweight or obese and have at least two risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes: All pregnant women with diabetes should be tested. Between weeks 24 and 28, administer a pregnancy test to all pregnant women. Your obstetrician may test you early if you have other gestational diabetes risk factors.

How is Diabetes Managed?

Your entire body is affected by diabetes. To manage diabetes as successfully as possible, you must take steps to keep your risk factors in check and within the normal range, such as:

  • By adhering to a nutrition regimen, taking prescribed medicine, and upping your activity level, you can keep your blood glucose levels as close to normal as feasible.
  • Maintain your triglyceride and blood cholesterol (HDL and LDL levels) as close to the normal ranges as you can.
  • Maintain blood pressure control. Your blood pressure should not exceed 140/90 mmHg.

You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:

  • Following a healthy diet plan and planning your meals ahead of time. Adopt a Dash diet or a Mediterranean diet (which emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and healthy fats). These diets are low in calories and fats and high in fibre and nutrients. Consult a licenced dietitian for help with nutrition and meal planning.
  • Doing regular exercise. On most days of the week, try to get in at least 30 minutes of exercise. Walk, swim, or do something else you want to do.
  • Achieving an appropriate weight. Create a weight-loss plan with the assistance of your medical team.
  • taking prescription medication and insulin as directed and according to the timing guidelines.
  • keeping track of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels at home.
  • Keeping your doctor's appointments and completing the laboratory tests he or she orders are important.
  • giving up smoking (if you smoke).

Treatment of Diabetes

Diabetes treatments vary depending on the type of diabetes you have, how well your blood glucose levels are under control, and any other underlying medical disorders you may have.

  • Type 1 diabetes: This type requires that you take insulin every day. Insulin production by your pancreas has ceased.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Medications (both for diabetes and for illnesses that are risk factors for diabetes) and insulin, as well as dietary and lifestyle changes like decreasing weight, choosing nutritious foods, and increasing your physical activity level, may be used to treat this form of diabetes.
  • Prediabetes: The objective is to prevent you from developing diabetes if you already have prediabetes. The focus of treatments is on risk factors that can be managed, like decreasing weight with a healthy diet (like the Mediterranean diet) and exercise (at least five days a week for 30 minutes). Many of the techniques recommended for treating diabetes are also employed to ward off the disease.
  • Gestational diabetes: If you have this type and your glucose level is not too high, changing your diet and engaging in regular exercise may be your first line of treatment. Your healthcare team may begin administering medicine or insulin if the target goal is still not accomplished or if your blood glucose level is too high.

Diet for Diabetes Patient

An essential component of treating diabetes is healthy diet. In some circumstances, altering your diet may be sufficient to control the condition.

Type 1 diabetes

The types of meals you eat determine whether your blood sugar level rises or lowers. Foods that are starchy or sugary cause a sharp spike in blood sugar levels. Increases from protein and fat happen more gradually.

Your medical team might advise you to restrict the number of carbohydrates you consume each day. Additionally, you must balance your insulin dosages with your carbohydrate intake.

Type 2 diabetes

The proper meal choices can control your blood sugar levels and aid in weight loss.

Carbohydrate counting is an essential part of eating for type 2 diabetes. You can calculate how many grammes of carbohydrates to consume at each meal with the aid of a dietician.

To keep your blood sugar levels consistent, try to space out your meals throughout the day. Give priority to nutritious foods like:

fruits

  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • lean protein such as poultry and fish
  • healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts

Certain other foods can hurt efforts to manage your blood sugar.

Gestational diabetes

During these nine months, it's critical for you and your kid to eat a diet that is well-balanced. You can prevent the need for diabetes medications by making the appropriate meal choices.

Watch your portion sizes and avoid foods that are heavy in salt or sugar. Even though you need some sugar to feed your growing infant, you should try to limit your intake. Seek out additional healthy dietary advice for women with gestational diabetes.

Exercise for Diabetes Patient

Exercise is crucial for managing diabetes, along with food and therapy. All forms of diabetes are consistent with this.

Maintaining an active lifestyle improves the way your cells respond to insulin and lowers blood sugar levels. You can also benefit from frequent exercise by:

  • reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce your risk of diabetes-related health complications
  • boost mood
  • get better sleep
  • improve memory

The overall recommendation is to aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week if you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Currently, there are no specific exercises that are advised for people with gestational diabetes. But to prevent overdoing it when pregnant, start out carefully and gradually increase your activity level over time.

Diabetes-friendly exercises include:

  • walking
  • swimming
  • dancing
  • cycling

Discuss safe ways to include exercise in your diabetes care strategy with your doctor. You might need to take extra measures, such as monitoring your blood sugar levels before and after working out and keeping hydrated.

Think about hiring a personal trainer or exercise physiologist who has knowledge in working with diabetics. They can assist you in creating a unique fitness schedule catered to your requirements.

Diabetes Prevention

Because type 1 diabetes is an immune system disorder, it cannot be prevented. You also have no influence over some type 2 diabetes causes, such as your genes or age.

However, many more diabetes risk factors are controllable. The majority of diabetes prevention techniques include making small changes to your diet and exercise regimen.

Here are some steps you may take to put off developing type 2 diabetes if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes:

  • Get 150 minutes or more of cardiovascular activity each week by cycling or walking.
  • Eliminate refined carbs, saturated and trans fats from your diet.
  • Consume more whole grains, fruits, and veggies.
  • Consume smaller amounts.
  • If you are overweight or obese, try to shed 5% to 7% of your body weight.

Diabetes in Pregnancy

It is possible for people who have never had diabetes to develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Your body may become more resistant to the effects of insulin as a result of the placenta's hormone production.

  • Pre-gestational diabetes

Some persons who had diabetes prior to conception continue to have it during pregnancy. This condition is categorised as pre-gestational diabetes.

  • Risks to your newborn

Your baby may experience consequences from diabetes during pregnancy, such as jaundice or breathing issues.

You will require specific monitoring if pre- or gestational diabetes is discovered in order to avoid problems.

  • Does gestational diabetes disappear on its own?

Gestational diabetes should disappear after delivering birth, but it greatly increases your risk of later getting diabetes. About half of pregnant women with gestational diabetes later develop type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes in Children

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can strike children. Diabetes can harm vital organs like the heart and kidneys, thus managing blood sugar is crucial in young people.

  • Type 1 diabetes

Autoimmune-related diabetes usually develops in childhood. An important symptom is more frequent urination. After being potty trained, children with type 1 diabetes may begin wetting the bed.

Hunger and extreme thirst are other symptoms of the illness. It's critical that kids with type 1 diabetes receive treatment as soon as possible. Dehydration and high blood sugar are two potential side effects that could be life-threatening.

  • Type 2 diabetes

Due to the rarity of type 2 in children, type 1 diabetes was once known as juvenile diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasing in prevalence in children this age group as more of them are becoming overweight or obese.

Some kids who have type 2 diabetes don't have any symptoms. Others might go through:

  • increased thirst
  • frequent urination
  • extreme fatigue
  • blurry vision

Bloodwork, a physical examination, and medical history are frequently used to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes left untreated can result in blindness, renal damage, heart disease, and other lifelong problems. With the help of a nutritious diet and frequent exercise, your child can control their blood sugar levels and stay away from these problems.

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