Signs, Symptoms, & Causes of Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes
Are you experiencing increased hunger, thirst, and frequent urination? Or a sudden deterioration in your vision? Or worst case your wounds appear not to get heal, then you're possibly suffering from diabetes.
However, the good news is that if you recognise the symptoms and start medication early, it is still possible to properly manage your diabetes and stay in good health.
Therefore, if you’re looking to understand diabetes, it causes and symptoms, then you’ll love this post.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
The most widely recognised side effects of diabetes include:
- increased hunger, thirst, and urination,
- low energy levels with continuous fatigue,
- blurry vision,
- constant numbness in feet or hands,
- wounds that do not heal and
- A sudden weight loss.
Please understand that the signs and symptoms stated above if associated with type 1 diabetes can happen fast, in most cases in a matter of weeks.
On the other hand, the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often progress slowly. In most cases over the course of several years and can be so moderate in severity that you could barely notice them.
A few people with type 2 diabetes experience no symptoms. Most people do not find out they have diabetes until they’re diagnosed with a diabetes-related illness, such as blurred vision, stroke, or heart disease.
What causes type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin. Such conditions may happen when the cell in your pancreas that makes insulin is damaged or not working properly. This type of diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults, but it can also be seen in grown-ups and old people.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown and is therefore not preventable with the presently available data. Nonetheless, health researchers believe type 1 diabetes is caused by genes and harmful environmental factors that may stimulate the disease.
Organisations like TrialNet are working diligently to determine the causes of type 1 diabetes and possible ways to prevent and/ slow the illness.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body cannot utilise insulin correctly. This is frequently named ‘insulin resistance’ and is the most common type of diabetes. It is usually triggered by several factors including lifestyle and genes.
- Overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity
Being overweight, obese or physically inactive could increase your risk of developing a type 2 diabetes. It is obvious that you are more likely to develop insulin resistance if you're overweight or obese.
Likewise, it is important to understand that the position of your body fat also influences your risk of developing insulin resistance. Studies have linked extra belly fat to insulin resistance, coronary disease and type 2 diabetes.
The use of these Body Mass Index (BMI) charts can help you understand your risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Insulin resistance
Your body breaks the food you eat into glucose and directs it into your bloodstream. The hormone insulin is charged with the responsibility to transport glucose from your bloodstream into your cells, where it can be used for energy.
In normal conditions, your body produces just the enough insulin to complement the food you eat. However, in certain conditions, the body is unable to use insulin correctly. This is known as insulin resistance and your body cannot produce any or enough insulin to keep your blood sugar at normal levels.
This may result in hyperglycemia also known as high blood glucose/sugar. And if your blood sugar levels get too high, it may result in prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
- Genetic factor and family history
Certain genetic factor and family health history may also influence your risk of developing diabetes. For instance, certain genes can impact your risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing your likelihood to become overweight or obese. Therefore, it is important to know your numbers and adopt a healthy lifestyle.
What causes gestational diabetes?
Health specialists think gestational diabetes, the kind of diabetes that progresses during pregnancy, is triggered by changing hormones during pregnancy compounded by hereditary and lifestyle factors.
Since most people diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the causes are somewhat similar to the type 2 diabetes. These include insulin resistance, lifestyle (overweight, obesity), and genetic factors.
What can you do to prevent diabetes?
It is recommended to take small steps every day towards lowering your chances of developing diabetes-related health issues.
To begin with, I would advise you contact your health care professional to know your numbers and then adopt a healthy lifestyle.
In addition, I would suggest at least five key numbers you should always be mindful of:
- Total Cholesterol,
- HDL (good) Cholesterol,
- Blood Pressure,
- Blood Sugar and
- Body Mass Index (BMI).
For your Total and HDL Cholesterol, you can get your cholesterol checked and then talk to your health care professional about your numbers to help you understand your risk factor for diabetes related illness.
- Blood Pressure should normally be less than 120/80 mm Hg,
- Fasting Blood Sugar less than 100 mg/dL, and
- Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 25 kg/m2.
Likewise, simple lifestyle changes have shown to effectively prevent or at least delay the start of type 2 diabetes.
Some of these lifestyle measures include to
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Engage in regular physical activities like walking, running, dancing etc.
- Eating a healthy diet,
- Avoid or cutback on sugar and saturated fats intake,
- Avoid tobacco usage; as smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Now it’s your turn
I hope this article help raise your awareness about diabetes. If you have any questions, you're always welcome to leave a comment, check similar articles, or start a discussion.
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Peace and Blessings!