Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure. It is a chronic disease that can also cause a person to lose their limbs and develop heart disease and stroke. In many cases, diabetes creeps up silently with symptoms so mild the disease is undetected until major, irreversible complications arise.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs due to increased levels of blood glucose, which consequently makes it hard for the body to properly use insulin and metabolize fats and proteins. Insulin is a hormonal enzyme that regulates blood sugar in the body, keeping it at a minimum and ensuring that it reaches the cells of the body where it is converted to usable energy. When this process of insulin production and blood sugar regulation is disturbed, diabetes sets in.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is the rarest and most dangerous form of the disease, affecting only 5-10 percent of all diabetics, and it generally occurs in the late teens or young adulthood. With type 1 diabetes, there is an autoimmune reaction that occurs, which destroys the body’s ability to produce insulin.
Without insulin, a person could die in a few days; so insulin injections are absolutely necessary to keep blood sugar under control.
Type 1 diabetics may experience an insatiable thirst, blurred vision, frequent urination and/or unexplained weight loss.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is more common; it affects roughly 8-10 percent of all adults, usually in the age range of 45 and older. With type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t make sufficient amounts of insulin to keep blood sugar at a normal level.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include many of those associated with type 1, but also high blood pressure, high cholesterol and excessive weight gain. Type 2 symptoms are often hidden and slow in progression, such that many people don’t even realize they are diabetic.
Though there is no apparent cure for diabetes, there are ways to reduce or eliminate symptoms and restore blood sugar levels to normal. Type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated with dietary changes and exercise when it is caught in its early stages.
Monitoring caloric intake and significantly reducing the amount of sugary foods can cause blood sugar and cholesterol levels in type 2 diabetics to quickly return to normal.
Type 1 diabetics must watch their eating more closely, ensuring that carbohydrates are balanced as perfectly as possible with the other foods they consume at each sitting.
Both types are encouraged to increase the amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains they consume, while cutting out fatty, greasy and starchy foods as much as possible. Sugar intake is relative to the severity of the condition, but type 1s should avoid sugar since they are more prone to blood sugar spikes and serious complications.
If diet and exercise are insufficient to correct many of the symptoms, prescription drugs are sometimes effective. In more severe cases (almost always for type 1) or when medicine by mouth isn’t enough, insulin injections are the next method of treatment. This lets insulin surge through the bloodstream quickly and directly for an immediate effect.
Type 1 diabetics have to inject themselves multiple times per day, while type 2 diabetics can get away with just once or maybe two times a day.Reduce your chances of contracting diabetes. Choose a lifestyle of exercise and healthy eating now.