Diabetes is a disease in which the body is not able to produce insulin or in some cases not use it properly.
Insulin is a hormone that is needed by our body to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy needed for daily life.
Diabetes is primarily of two types: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder in which the beta cells which produce insulin are destroyed by the body’s immune system.
As a result of this, the body is unable to produce insulin which is the essential hormone that allows glucose to enter and fuel the cells. For survival individual who have type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day.
Coming to type 2 diabetes. It is the most common type and accounts for 90-95% of diabetes cases.
In type 2 diabetes the body does not completely stop producing insulin but does not produce enough.
There is another type called gestational diabetes and occurs in pregnant women who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
This is not a life threatening type and usually goes away once the baby is delivered. There are some risks that are involved with this type as well like almost 50% of women who have gestational diabetes are prone to developing type 2 diabetes at a later stage.
Pre diabetes is also a condition that occurs when a person’s glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
If diabetes is not managed well or your lifestyle habits are not on the right track, you can develop serious health conditions like blindness, kidney issues, stroke, heart attack or feet problems.
Some known vascular diseases linked to diabetes are:
- Retinopathy – this is the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina
- Nephropathy- this is the when the filtering units of the kidney are damaged
- Neuropathy- this is a condition that causes loss of sensation of the feet and toes
- Peripheral Artery Disease- this is a condition where the arteries are narrowed and reduce blood flow to your limbs.
What is the cause for this?
Diabetes causes vascular disease if there is too much sugar in the blood. This excess glucose damages the blood vessels. For type 1 diabetes, doctors don’t really know what causes it, but it is believed to have a hereditary link.
Type 2 diabetes is usually associated with old age, obesity and inactivity. It can also be passed on through a family history of diabetes.
The current time is seeing a lot of adolescents and children also being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Here are a few things you can do to avoid this condition:
- Stay active
- Eat healthy and control your blood sugar levels
- If you are overweight, shed the extra kilos
- Quit smoking if you do
- Monitor your blood pressure
- Be aware of any sudden changes in your body
- Have regular medical examinations
- If on medication follow religiously as prescribed by your doctor