Everyone who has heard of diabetes either has diabetes or knows someone who does. However, most people do not understand what diabetes is, what causes it, and what symptoms are associated with it.
The purpose of this blog is to take the mystery out of a disease that is so prevalent today.
Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases distinguished by hyperglycemia (increased plasma glucose in the blood). This group of metabolic diseases includes type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes, also known as type 3 diabetes, and pre-diabetes, also known as borderline diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT).
How are each type of diabetes different from the others?
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a deficiency of insulin production in the pancreas. Those who have type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent; therefore, self-monitoring of glucose levels throughout the day is essential. In addition, eating a balanced diet and exercising are important for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body’s insulin receptors becoming insensitive or resistant to insulin. Individuals who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will not immediately become insulin dependent; however, as the disease progresses insulin may be required. Most individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will be treated with diet and exercise alone or with a diabetic medication such as Metformin. Losing weight and self-monitoring of glucose levels according to the individual’s physician’s recommendations are also important for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that may develop in pregnant women. Treatment for gestational diabetes includes eating a healthy diet, exercising, keeping a healthy weight during pregnancy, monitoring glucose levels, and injecting insulin daily, if necessary.
Pre-diabetes is the condition prior to developing type 2 diabetes. This condition is characterized by higher than normal glucose levels; however, they are not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At this stage, type 2 diabetes can still be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and keeping your weight down.
Type 1 Diabetes
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
- Fruity smell of the breath
- Fatigue or weakness
Type 2 Diabetes
- One or more symptoms of type 1 diabetes
- Poor wound healing or frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Skin irritation or infection
- Frequent gum or bladder infections
May not cause any symptoms, however, the woman may experience
- Excessive weight gain
- Excessive hunger or thirst
- Excessive urination
- Frequent vaginal yeast infections
Many times there are no signs or symptoms for pre-diabetes; however, darkening of the skin in areas such as the neck, armpits, elbows, knees, and knuckles may occur.
I hope this information on diabetes and the differences between each type helps you to understand the disease we all know as diabetes. Next time I will be discussing the risk factors of diabetes.
American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/pre-diabetes/
Schlenker, E. D., & Long, S. (2007). Williams essentials of nutrition and diet therapy (9th ed.). : Mosby, Elsevier.
Thompson, J., & Manore, M. (2009). Nutrition an applied approach. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education Inc..
Type 2 diabetes is usually found in individuals who are 40 years of age and older; however, younger individuals may also develop it. Indications of type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for many years before diagnosis.
Diagnosis of diabetes is usually made from the occurrence of complications known to be associated with the disease or through abnormal results from a sampling of glucose in the individual’s blood or urine.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, type 2 diabetes is usually associated with obesity; however, several other factors are also known in the development of type 2 diabetes. They include:
- Diet and lack of physical activity
- Increasing age
- Insulin resistance
- Family history of diabetes
- Less than optimum intrauterine environment
People who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are not insulin dependent nor are they prone to an overproduction of ketosis (the overproduction of ketone antibodies) . However, some type 2 diabetics may require insulin to regulate hyperglycemia (high levels of blood sugar) if controlling high blood surgars with diet and/or using oral diabetic medications such as Metformin is not enough.
The number in people with type 2 diabetes has risen through the years due to factors such as:
- Social and cultural changes
- Dietary changes
- Other unhealthy lifestyle and behavior patterns
I hope this information on type 2 diabetes has been helpful to your understanding the disease. Next time, I will discuss the complications of type 2 diabetes.
International Diabetes Federation. (n.d.). What is diabetes?. Retrieved May 2, 2010 from http://www.diabetesatlas.org/content/what-is-diabetes