Glucose is an essential component of the energy system of the human body. Most of our food is broken down into sugar, which our body then releases into our bloodstream. When the blood glucose level increases, insulin is released by the pancreas. This insulin helps direct the flow of blood sugar into the cells, where it is metabolized and used as energy.
Diabetes is a chronic (slowly progressing) condition that affects our body’s ability to properly process blood glucose. It is a medical condition characterized by a deficiency of insulin in the body or an inability of the body to effectively utilize insulin. When there is insufficient insulin production or cells cease to respond to insulin, an excessive amount of blood sugar remains in the bloodstream. Over time, it can lead to serious health complications, such as heart problems, vision loss, and kidney disease.
The main symptoms and causes of diabetes vary by type. Types of diabetes that are chronic include type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as potentially reversible diabetes conditions such as prediabetes or gestational diabetes. Let’s start by learning the types of diabetes.
What are the Different Types of Diabetes?
Type-1 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce enough or any amount of insulin. This is due to the immune system’s ability to attack and destroy the cells within the pancreas responsible for producing insulin. Generally, type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in children and adolescents, although it can occur at any age. Individuals with type-1 diabetes must take insulin daily in order to survive.
Type-2 diabetes is a condition in which the body’s cells do not utilize insulin effectively. While the pancreas is responsible for producing insulin, it may not be producing enough of it to maintain the blood glucose in a healthy range. This is the most prevalent form of diabetes. People with type-2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing it if they are overweight or obese or if they have a familial history of the condition. This condition can develop at any stage of life, including childhood.
This diabetes is a type of diabetes that is typically diagnosed during pregnancy. The majority of gestational diabetes resolves after the birth of the baby. However, gestational diabetes increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes is a medical condition in which the level of glucose in the blood is higher than normal and not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. People with this type of diabetes are more likely to develop type-2 diabetes later in life.
Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes
Diabetes symptoms are determined by blood sugar levels. Certain people, particularly those with pre-existing conditions, such as gestational diabetes, and those with type 2 diabetes, may not experience any symptoms at all. On the other hand, those with type 1 diabetes experience more pronounced and immediate diabetes symptoms.
General signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus include:
- Feeling tired and weak
- Increased thirst and dryness of the mouth.
- Frequent urination.
- Having a blurred vision.
- Losing weight without trying.
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
- Sores or cuts that heal slowly.
- Frequent skin and/or vaginal yeast infections.
Additional details about sugar symptoms per type of diabetes include:
Type 1 Diabetes – T1 diabetes symptoms can develop over a short period of time, such as a few weeks to a few months. You may also experience other sugar symptoms that are a sign of a serious complication known as Diabetes-related Ketoacidosis (DKA). Symptoms of DKA include:
- Stomach pain
- Fruity-scented breath
- Breathing problems
Type 2 Diabetes and Pre-diabetes – Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 may not be there in the person, or they may not be aware of them because they come on gradually. Regular blood tests may indicate a high blood glucose level before any symptoms get noticed. Another indication of pre-diabetes is discoloration of the skin on certain areas of the body.
Gestational Diabetes – Gestational diabetes is generally undetectable during pregnancy. A gestational diabetes test will typically be administered to the patient between the 24th and 28th week of gestation.
Some of the symptoms can be classified for the different genders, which we have discussed below.
Symptoms in Men
Men with diabetes may experience more than the typical signs of the condition, such as:
- A lack of sex drive.
- Not having enough strength in your muscles.
- Erectile dysfunction
Symptoms in Women
Symptoms of diabetes in women include:
- Vaginal dryness
- Yeast infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Dry, itchy skin
What Causes Diabetes?
Diabetes is usually caused by excessive levels of glucose in the blood. However, the causes of diabetes mellitus vary by type:
Type-1 Diabetes – The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown to medical professionals. It is thought to be caused by an immune system malfunction that mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells that are responsible for producing insulin in the body’s pancreas. It is possible that certain genes may be involved in the development of type 1 diabetes or that a virus may trigger an immune system response.
Type-2 Diabetes – Diabetes mellitus, also known as type-2 diabetes, is a condition that is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. The risk of type-2 diabetes is increased by being overweight or obese. The extra weight, particularly in the abdomen, makes the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin’s effects on blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes runs in families. People with certain genes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and are also more likely to be overweight. Certain medications like corticosteroids (including those used to treat HIV/AIDS) may cause Type 2 diabetes over a long period of time.
Gestational Diabetes – This type of diabetes can be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the placenta releases hormones that make the cells in the pregnant woman’s body less sensitive to insulin. As a result, the woman’s blood sugar levels can become dangerously high. If you are overweight when you become pregnant, or if you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have gestational diabetes.
What Else are the Causes of Diabetes?
Genetic Mutations – Monogenic diabetes is a condition in which alterations in a single gene cause a decrease in the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. These alterations are typically transmitted through the family, although in some cases, the gene mutation occurs independently. The majority of these gene mutations are responsible for the development of diabetes. Hemochromatosis is a condition in which the body accumulates an excessive amount of iron. If left untreated, the accumulation of iron in the body can damage the liver, pancreas, and other organs.
Hormonal Disease – Hormonal disorders can lead to excessive production of certain hormones in the body, which can, in turn, lead to insulin resistance and the development of diabetes.
Pancreas Damage or Removal – Pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, as well as trauma, can damage the beta cells, making them less likely to make insulin, which can lead to diabetes. If the pancreas is damaged, diabetes will be caused by the loss of beta cells.
When to Call a Doctor?
It is essential to have a diabetes screening if you are over 45 years of age or have other risk factors for diabetes. Moreover, it is a good idea to know the symptoms and causes of diabetes, which can be discussed with your concerned doctor. Early detection of diabetic conditions can help to prevent nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and other associated complications.
Consult a doctor in such cases:
- The symptoms of nausea include abdominal discomfort, weakness, and excessive thirst.
- Have a bad stomach ache
- Peeing a lot
- Breathing more deeply and faster than normal
- Have a sweet breath that tastes like Nail polish remover.
Wockhardt Hospitals for Diabetes and Endocrinology is one of the leading medical care departments dedicated to delivering comprehensive and individualized care to patients with diabetes and endocrine disorders. The in-house team of medical experts provides innovative treatments to prevent this life-threatening disease and enhance the patient’s quality of life.