Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases that disrupts the human body’s use of sugar. Our body uses sugar, or glucose, as the primary source of energy for the brain as well as the muscle cells and tissues.
Although different types of diabetes are caused by different causes, too much blood in sugar can lead to any type of the disease. If you have an abnormally high level of sugar in the blood, it may lead to many serious health conditions. There are two types of chronic diabetes, namely type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
There are some diabetes-related conditions that can be reversible. For example, diabetes that is caused by pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. This diabetes may go away on its own after the baby is born.
Prediabetes is a condition when your sugar level is abnormally high but still lower than the range of diabetes. If prediabetes is left untreated, it can progress into diabetes.
The symptoms of a diabetes patient depends on their blood sugar level and the disease’s type. While prediabetes and type 2 diabetes tend to be asymptomatic, most patients with type 1 diabetes suffer from severe symptoms that appear quickly.
Diabetes may cause various symptoms such as the following:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss
- Ketones found in urine
- Loss of energy
- Mood swings
- Vision problems
- Slow healing wounds
- Frequent infections
People can develop type 1 or type 2 diabetes at any time in their lives, although type 1 diabetes tends to start in childhood or teenagers. Type 2 diabetes is more common in those aged over 40 years.
If you have any of these signs and symptoms, please consult a doctor.
There are no known causes and factors of most types of diabetes. However, genetics and environment can play a role in causing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Any type of diabetes causes the sugar level in the blood to be too high due to the lack of insulin made by the pancreas.
Understanding how glucose is regulated in the body will help to understand diabetes better. The pancreas is a gland located behind and under the stomach, responsible for secreting a hormone called insulin which enters into bloodstream. Insulin circulation reduces the blood sugar level by letting sugar enter the cells. The pancreas will gradually secrete less insulin if there is a lower amount of sugar in the blood.
The role of glucose
Cells in muscles and other tissues receive energy mainly from glucose which is received from food and the liver. After glucose goes into the bloodstream, insulin helps cells absorb the glucose. Glucose is made and stored in the liver. A low glucose level will trigger the liver to start breaking down stored glycogen into glucose to stabilize the glucose level in the body.
Different types of diabetes have different risk factors such as the following:
- Family History: common for type 1 diabetes.
- Hereditary: Autoantibodies which are diabetes immune system cells raise the risk of type 1 diabetes. These cells can be inherited and therefore you should get tested for type 1 diabetes if any of your family members has autoantibodies.
- Ethnicity: Black, Hispanic, Indian and Asian people are more prone to diabetes type 2.
- Weight: Being overweight increases the risk of diabetes type 2, as well as developing prediabetes and gestational diabetes during pregnancy.