Diabetes is not only a chronic and complex disease but also a long-lasting health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy and requires ongoing medical care beyond glycemic management to mitigate the risk of acute and long-term complications.
Individuals who have diabetes, their body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it produces as efficiently as it should. When body cells stop responding to insulin, it means that there is too much sugar in your bloodstream, which inherently results in serious health problems such as kidney complications and heart disease as well as vision impairment.
Types of Diabetes
Up until now, diabetes has always been classified as either Type 1 or Type 2 however a new study suggests that there may actually be up to five different types of this metabolic disease, some of which may be riskier than others. Diabetes is the fastest-growing disease in the world, and unfortunately, many treatments have been unable to prevent the development of chronic complications in many sufferers. The most common diabetes warning signs and symptoms include;
Type I Diabetes
Also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, because it’s often detected in childhood. Nonetheless, it is an autoimmune disorder in which the body cannot produce insulin because the immune system attacks beta cells, which are insulin-producing cells from the pancreas.
Genetics, including exposure to some viruses and other environmental factors, have been shown to contribute to this chronic condition, which usually appears during childhood or teenage years and can also develop in adulthood. Over time, Type 1 diabetes complications can affect the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys; therefore, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels can mitigate such problems.
Type 2 Diabetes
Among the most common form of diabetes is Type 2. It is a condition where cells cannot use blood sugar for energy and mainly occurs when blood sugar levels get too high (hyperglycemia) over time, causing the cells to become insensitive or resistant to insulin.
Between 75% and 85% of people with diabetes are classified with Type 2 based mainly on the age of diagnosis (this includes younger people too) and on the presence or absence of blood protein that attack beta cells - hormones that produce insulin. With ongoing treatment and endorsed lifestyle changes, most individuals with Type II diabetes are able to prevent even delay its onset.
Conclusion - Despite significant research, there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes and treatment focuses on diet and lifestyle changes and managing blood sugar levels with insulin to avoid complications. Therefore, if you have recently received a diabetes diagnosis, work with your doctor to create the best treatment plan for you.
A Clinical Microbiologist by profession, Sundus is an avid reader, full time people person, always looking to make the most of life, the 'healthy' way.Dr. Sundus Shafat Ahmad MBBS (DU), MD (RGUHS)