Do you know that diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces? This leads to the condition where you now have high blood sugar in your system. Blood glucose or blood sugar provides the energy needed for our daily activities and we derive it from the food we eat.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar in our system and it’s made by the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose gotten from the food we eat to get into our cells and be used for energy. Sometimes our body doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin is not properly used. Either of these conditions leads to the inability of glucose to reach our cells, thereby staying in the blood.
Hyperglycaemia results when you have a raised blood sugar in your blood. It is one of the common effects of uncontrolled diabetes and over time, it leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
What are the different types of diabetes?
The most known and common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes: Type 1 diabetes results when your body does not produce insulin. Your immune system produces antibodies that attack and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children and young adults, but it can appear at any age. For people with type 1 diabetes to survive, they need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
The symptoms associated with type 1 diabetes include excessive urination (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes, and fatigue. Manifestation of these symptoms may occur suddenly.
Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes occurs in people whose body does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced is not properly utilized. Age is not an exception when it comes to Type 2 diabetes, because it can develop at any age even in childhood. But the frequency is more in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and it occurs mainly because of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes might be similar to those of type 1 diabetes but are not as pronounced. And because of this, the effective diagnosis might take some time after onset, except an early medical check-up is performed. Before now, this type of diabetes was seen only in adults but now occurs in children.
Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes develops in some women during pregnancy but most time, it disappears after the baby is born. Most women who have gestational diabetes stand the chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in the future.
The diagnosis of gestational diabetes is through prenatal screening. That is when you attend an ante-natal clinic.
Other types of diabetes: Apart from the above type of diabetes discussed above, there are still a few less common types of diabetes. These are monogenic diabetes, which is an inherited form of diabetes, and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Early Signs of Diabetes
The common types of diabetes mentioned above have some of the same warning signs.
- Hunger and fatigue. In the process of digestion, your body converts the food you eat into glucose, and that is what your cells use for energy. Your body cells need insulin before they can absorb glucose into it. But if your body doesn't make enough insulin, or there’s a cause for your body cells to resist the insulin your body makes, then the glucose can't get into them and you have no energy. This can result in hunger and tiredness.
- Urinating frequently and being thirstier. The average number of times people urinates a day depending on their consumption of fluids might be between four to seven times. But diabetic people may go a lot more. Ideally, the kidney absorbs glucose as it passes through it, but when diabetics occur, your kidneys may not be able to re-absorb all the glucose, so your blood sugar goes up. The result is that the body makes more urine and that tends to make you take more fluids.
- Dry mouth and itchy skin. Since your body makes use of fluids to make urine, there has to be a balance in the electrolyte function of the body. This electrolyte in-balance affects other parts of the body where fluids are required to function properly. Dehydration might result, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can also result, thus making you feel itchy.
- Blurred vision. Electrolyte in-balance through changing fluid levels in your body could result in the lenses in your eyes swelling up and this can result in difficulty in your focus and viewing levels.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
This symptom has become more pronounced after your blood glucose level has been high for some time.
- Yeast infections. Candidiasis or yeast infection can occur in both men and women with diabetes. Since yeast cells feed on glucose, they multiply and thrive better in that environmental condition. Yeast infections can grow in any warm, moist fold of the body especially:
- In-between the fingers and toes
- Under breasts
- Inside or around sex organs
- Slow Healing Effects. Not well managed high blood sugar can affect blood flow and cause nerve damage which can eventually make it difficult for your body to heal wounds.
- Pain, Numbness, or Tingling in Your Fingers, Feet or Legs can be a result of nerve damage.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
You might experience:
- Weight loss. Energy is required for the body cells to function normally. And if your body can't get energy from your food, the only option it has is to start burning muscle and fat for energy instead. This action can cause you to lose weight even though you haven't changed how you eat.
- Nausea and vomiting. When your body resorts to burning fat as a source of glucose to make energy, it also produces ketones. And if there is no detoxification carried out in your system, ketones can build up in your blood to dangerous levels. This life-threatening condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis which can make you feel sick and down with ill-health.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
High blood sugar during pregnancy usually presents no obvious symptoms. But you might feel a little more thirsty than normal or have to urinate more often.
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