Types of Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
Posted on : January 10, 2021 by Clinic One on blog
Diabetes is a type of disease that affects the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin(Insulin helps in regulating blood sugar level) or the body does not effectively make use of the insulin so produced. It causes the sugar level in the blood to rise higher than the normal level which if left untreated, can cause long-term damage to the body, especially to blood vessels and nerves.
According to WHO, in 2014, 8.5% of the people having age 18 and/or higher had diabetes and in 2016, it was the cause of 1.6 million deaths. In Nepal, data showed that an estimated 9.1% of Nepali were living with diabetes(10.5% men and 7.9% women) in 2016.
So, it is very essential for us to understand, what causes it? What are its symptoms? How to Prevent It? And other information related to it.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type-I Diabetes
- Type-II Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
1. Type-I Diabetes
It is a type of diabetes, which is caused due to no or low production of insulin by the pancreas in the body. In this type, insulin is given through other mediums.
What are the causes of Type-I Diabetes?
The cause of Type-I diabetes is still unknown, but it is clear that the body’s immune system that fights bacteria and harmful germs, attacks insulin creating cells in the pancreas, which leads to low production of insulin.
It is also believed that genetics and environmental factors play a significant role in causing this disease.
What are the symptoms of Type-I Diabetes?
The symptoms of Type I Diabetes are included but not limited to the following list:
- Frequent/Extreme hunger
- Increase in thirst
- Frequency of urination is increased
- Bedwetting by children, who previously did not wet bed
- Weight loss due to the unknown factors
- Irritability, even in small matters and frequent mood change
- Blurry vision
- Finding Kerotones (it is a by-product of the breakdown of body muscle and fat in absence of insulin), and so on.
Who is at most risk of Type-I Diabetes?
Although type-I diabetes can affect people of any age, it is common mostly in, children and young adults (who are at most risk of getting this disease).
Family history of diabetes also plays a significant role in increasing the risk of the disease.
If you feel any or all of the above symptoms, you should go see a doctor.
How to prevent Type-I Diabetes?
Currently, there is no known way of preventing type-1 diabetes, but by following a healthy lifestyle, frequent checkups, maintaining a sugar level as recommended by a doctor, we can manage it.
Treatment of Type-I Diabetes
Doctors use the following methods for treatment of Type I Diabetes:
- Insulin Therapy i.e. by injecting insulin into the body
- Insulin Pump(it works by allowing a small amount of insulin into the body continuously or at an interval)
- Keeping blood glucose at a normal level
- Eating carbohydrates rich foods and insulin dose adjustment
- By transplanting artificial pancreases, and so on.
2. Type-II Diabetes
It is a type of diabetes that is related to how the body uses insulin. Unlike type-I diabetes, the body produces insulin but, is not able to use it efficiently as it used to.
What are the causes of Type-II Diabetes?
The cause of type-II diabetes is, Prediabetes (It refers to those people having high blood sugar levels but, not as high as to constitute diabetes. If this is not treated, it can lead to type-II diabetes.).
Why it happens is still unknown, but genetics and environmental factors are believed to be involved.
What are the symptoms of Type-II Diabetes?
The symptoms of Type-II diabetes are given below:
- Frequent thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Feeling of fatigue
- Blur in vision
- Darkened skin, usually in armpits and neck
- High frequency of infections, etc.
If you feel any or all of the symptoms listed above, please go see a doctor.
Who is at most risk of Type-II Diabetes?
Any people at any age can get type-II diabetes but the following persons are most at risk of type-II diabetes:
- People who are obese or overweight
- People who are of age 45 or above
- People having a family history of diabetes
- For people who have high blood pressure level
- People who are not physically active
- People who have or had heart disease or strokes
- People suffering from depression, etc.
How to prevent Type-II Diabetes?
Following a healthy lifestyle(such as eating healthy foods, getting active, maintaining weight at a normal level, avoiding sitting still for a long period, etc.) can help in preventing this diabetes. Sometimes, medication with a healthy lifestyle can also help prevent it.
Treatment of Type-I Diabetes
The following methods are used for the treatment of Type-II diabetes,
- Physical activity and regular exercise
- Following a diet and healthy eating
- Dietary medication and insulin treatment, only if necessary
- Monitoring and maintaining blood sugar level at a normal level.
3. Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is like any other diabetes except it mainly affects pregnant women and her baby.
Normally this type of diabetes returns to normal after delivery but, there is a high chance of getting Type-II diabetes.
What are the symptoms of Gestational Diabetes?
Normally it shows no noticeable symptoms but, increased thirst and frequent urination is a sign of this diabetes. So, if you feel those symptoms, please visit a doctor for a checkup.
Who is at most risk of Gestational Diabetes?
The people who are at high risk of getting this diabetes include:
- Above age 25 group
- Has high blood pressure
- Has a family history of diabetes
- Overweight before and during the pregnancy
- Previously given birth to an overweight child
- Previously had diabetes
- Had unexplained miscarriage, etc.
What are the causes and prevention methods for Gestational diabetes?
The exact reason for getting gestational diabetes is unknown but, it is believed that excess weight is considered a variable.
Normally when pregnant, the hormones level starts to change, which leads to gestational diabetes.
There is no guarantee for the prevention of this diabetes but the risk can be minimized by eating healthy foods, being active, and weight maintenance.
Treatment of Gestational Diabetes
The treatment for Gestational Diabetes depends upon the glucose level in your blood.
Doctors may recommend you to eat foods as per your sugar level, and sometimes insulin injection is given if necessary.
Exercising also plays an important role in the treatment of gestational diabetes, but please consult your doctor for a proper exercising routine.
Relationship between Type-I and Type-II Diabetes
According to WHO, type-II is more common than type-I diabetes. Both of them are diseases that are caused due to deficiency of insulin in the body, although the WHY THIS OCCURS/HAPPENS? is different in each case, which is:
- In Type-I, the pancreas produces no or low amount of insulin than the body requires(i.e immune systems attacks insulin-producing cells),
- In type-II, the pancreas produces the required amount of insulin but, the body is not able to use it properly.
There is no cure(i.e 100% cure) for both types but, type-II can be prevented(described in the above section). They have similar symptoms(such as fatigue, weight loss, dehydration, and frequent urination) and different symptoms. The risk profile of each of them is different(i.e type-I mostly occurs in children and young adults whereas, type-II mostly occurs in older people). So, these are the relationship between type-I and type-II diabetes.
Food and Healthy lifestyle to manage Diabetes
As already discussed in earlier sections healthy lifestyle has an effect on the prevention and on the treatment of diabetes. Not only that, what we eat also matters. Following a healthy diet and eating the right foods is essential if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
If you have diabetes, eating foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, protein, dairy, etc., and not eating foods, such as fried foods with high amounts of fat, foods with high amounts of salts, high amounts of sweets, a beverage with added sugar, etc., can help in improving your condition.
Drinking plenty of water is also essential to treat dehydration caused by diabetes.
This article has given you the needed information for understanding diabetes. If you or any member of your family are experiencing symptoms(any or all) described in the above sections, please go see a doctor.
Reference: Diabetes, WHO Diabetes, Herds International Diabetes, MayoClinic Foods And Nutrition for diabetes, NIDDK