Diabetes is a disease that affects more than 380 million people worldwide, out of which 29 million are Americans. Statistics also put forward the fact that every 3 minutes, 1 American life is lost due to this disease. The seriousness of this statistic hits home when it is combined with the fact that this is more than the number of lives lost through AIDS and breast cancer put together. The seriousness of this statistic hits home when it is combined with the fact that this is more than the number of lives lost through AIDS and breast cancer put together. Diabetes can affect anyone irrespective of age, race, ethnicity, geography, family history, genetics, etc. Many people struggle with questions like what is diabetes, what is type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Can Type 1 Diabetes Be Cured etc.
To answer these questions and to understand diabetes, it is important to understand the role of insulin in our body. It is a well-known fact that our body functions with the energy derived from glucose. Our body turns what we eat into glucose, and the body cells need to be able to access this glucose to function. This is where insulin steps in.
Types Of Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that occurs in either of the two conditions:
- Type 1 Diabetes: The pancreas does not produce insulin at all.
- Type 2 Diabetes: The pancreas produces insulin, but it is not enough for the bodily needs.
The first one is what is referred to as Type 1 diabetes in medical terms and the second as Type 2. Apart from this, there is something known as gestational diabetes. This occurs during pregnancy.
Also Read: Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured?
The more commonly seen type of diabetes affecting 95% of the diabetics is Type 2. Though this is diagnosed in later stages of life, i.e., mostly in adults and the elderly, it is also found to affect a few during the childhood too. It is mostly linked to the body weight of the person, though there are other factors too.
Type 1 diabetes is also referred to as juvenile diabetes as it mostly occurs during childhood, though it is also seen at times in the later stages of life. In this case, the body immune system itself is said to attack the pancreas, resulting in no secretion of insulin. It is hence called the autoimmune disease or disorder. The question that most people keep ask is — can type one diabetes be cured?
When the pancreas does not produce insulin, the glucose levels in the blood go up as they are not used up by cells, and the cells are unable to get glucose leading to no energy. Hence, you could end up with dehydration, weight loss, Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) and many other parts of your body become susceptible to damage.
How To Identify?
Our body sends us signals for most diseases, including diabetes through symptoms, which is ignored in most cases. The symptoms to watch out for are:
- Frequent urination
- Heavy thirst
- Feeling hungry
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth
- Belly pain
- Weight loss that is rapid or unexplained
- Fatigue or weakness despite eating and drinking properly
- Blurred vision
- Skin infections
- Urinary tract infections
- Dryness of the vagina
If you or your child (since this is mostly a juvenile one) are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then make sure that you visit a doctor and get the necessary prescribed checks done to rule out type 1 diabetes which may include blood sugar level tests as well as urine tests.
Type 1 diabetes treatment options will include insulin injections, as the body needs it. The medical practitioner will decide on the dosage and type of insulin that is best suited based on your individual case. At times, your doctor may also prescribe a few oral medications along with dietary and lifestyle changes.
The key to the treatment is taking the right amount of insulin, as otherwise taking more or less that what the body needs can cause severe complications. Hyperglycemia is often seen in patients with Type 1 diabetes when blood sugar levels go very high. This can lead to other related complications needing medical attention as well.
Type 1 Diabetes Prevention
As Type 1 diabetes occurs due to the attacks on pancreas by the immune system of the body, prevention happens only when research can pinpoint the causes leading to this condition. A whole lot of studies are going on in this field still, but there are no known cures and prevention methods that can be prescribed by doctors.
It is best to manage the disease through lifestyle changes to ensure a long and healthy life. A well-balanced diet coupled with measured and planned exercise routine also helps a lot. Reducing stress levels is another way of managing this disease.
If untreated, Type 1 diabetes can lead to several complications, some of which can prove to be life-threatening. Kidney and nerve damage, retinopathy, cardiovascular issues, cases of erectile dysfunction for men and vaginal dryness for women. It is, therefore, important to visit a doctor and take prescribed insulin doses and any other medications routinely. Periodic checkups are also suggested by the doctors for constant follow-ups on the status and should not be missed out on.