Facts of Diabetes: Understanding, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Diabetes is a disease that lasts a long time and is characterized by blood sugar levels above normal. The sugar level in the blood is controlled by the hormone insulin which is produced by the pancreas, the organ of the body that is located behind the stomach. When the body cannot produce insulin (a blood sugar regulating hormone) or insufficient insulin is produced or insulin does not work properly, the body's cells cannot absorb and process glucose into energy.


Facts of Diabetes: Understanding, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Glucose that accumulates in the blood due to not being absorbed by the body's cells properly can cause various organ disorders. If diabetes is not properly controlled, various complications can occur that endanger the lives of sufferers.

Of the various types of diabetes, the most common is type 2 diabetes. Reported from Health Line, the American Diabetes Association reveals that the combination of type 2 diabetes with high blood pressure (hypertension) increases mortality due to heart disease and stroke.

Long-term complications include cardiovascular disease (multiple risks), chronic kidney failure (the main cause of dialysis), retinal damage that can cause blindness, and nerve and blood vessel damage that can cause impotence and gangrene with the risk of amputation. More serious complications are more common, if the control of blood sugar levels is bad.

Kinds of Diabetes
In general, we know two types of diabetes, namely type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The fact is not only 2 types of diabetes, but there are some that we need to know, namely:

1. Prediabetes
As the name implies, pre-diabetes is the stage that goes through before the diabetes phase. A person's blood sugar levels at this stage range from 100 mg / dL to 125 mg / dL (by checking fasting blood sugar).

The pre-diabetes phase is triggered, among others, by a daily diet that is high in sugar, high in calories, high in fat, and lacking in fiber. Rarely moving and exercising are also additional contributing factors. Someone in the pre-diabetes phase begins to experience insulin resistance, so that sugar levels in the bloodstream increase. Insulin is a hormone that helps sugar metabolism. If not anticipated, the pre-diabetes phase can be diabetes which is very prone to complications of various dangerous diseases.

Pre-diabetes can be cured, unlike diabetes, which until now has not been cured. So, not all people who are declared to have prediabetes will definitely get diabetes. Even so, you also have to be vigilant. Because, prediabetes is a warning that you have a high risk of developing diabetes.

People who have prediabetes don't need drugs to control their blood sugar. Usually, doctors will ask patients to change their lifestyle to be healthier, so that their blood sugar becomes more controlled.

2. Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs because the patient's immune system attacks and destroys the pancreatic cells that produce insulin. This results in an increase in blood glucose levels, resulting in damage to body organs. Type 1 diabetes is also known as autoimmune diabetes. The trigger for this autoimmune condition is still unknown. The strongest guess is caused by genetic factors of patients who are also influenced by environmental factors.

This one diabetes mellitus is also often known as insulin dependent diabetes. This naming refers to the association of this type of diabetes with the body's inability to produce insulin.

At present, type 1 diabetes can only be treated using insulin, with careful monitoring of blood glucose levels through a blood testing monitor. The basic treatment for type 1 diabetes, even for the earliest stages, is insulin replacement. Without insulin, ketosis and diabetic ketoacidosis can cause coma and can even lead to death. Emphasis is also given on adjusting lifestyle (diet and exercise).

However, it should be understood that giving insulin therapy may be different for each person. The amount of insulin you will need every day will depend on various factors including your diet, physical activity level, and how severe your diabetes is. Compared to type 2 diabetes, this type of diabetes is indeed fairly less common. However, this condition can occur at any age, especially children and adolescents.

3. Type 2 diabetes
This is the type of diabetes with the highest number of patients. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age. In type 2 diabetes, your body still produces the hormone insulin but the amount is small. This makes the body unable to use insulin to process blood sugar into energy effectively. In medical terms this condition is called insulin resistance.

About 90-95% of people with diabetes in the world suffer from this type of diabetes. In general, this type of diabetes can affect anyone at any age. However, type 2 diabetes is usually more likely to occur in adults and the elderly because of lifestyle factors.

4. Gestational diabetes
This disease usually occurs during the pregnancy process, which then disappears after giving birth. However, this condition can also occur in a woman, even though she has given birth.

Gestational diabetes is not deadly, but high risk makes it difficult for the mother during labor. Some conditions such as high blood pressure and eclampsia haunt mothers who have gestational diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

As we know that diabetes is a very dangerous disease. For that we need to know what symptoms are felt when the body starts being attacked by diabetes.

There are several symptoms that can be used to find out if we have diabetes. These symptoms can already be felt, but not yet realized. Here are some of the most common features of diabetes.

1. Often feel thirsty
Ideally, blood sugar will be filtered by the kidneys and absorbed back into the blood. Unfortunately, because the blood sugar levels of people with diabetes are too high, the kidneys cannot absorb all the sugar in the body. This makes the kidneys work hard to filter and remove excess blood sugar through urine.

As a result, the urine produced is thicker, so the kidneys will automatically take more fluid from the body to thin it. Now, this is when your body will send thirst signals to the brain. That way, you will drink more.

2. Frequent urination
As explained above, one characteristic of diabetes is often feeling thirsty. By feeling thirsty, you will often drink. But because you often drink, the body will try to remove the excess fluid by making you urinate more often. If you urinate frequently more than seven times a day, then immediately consult a doctor.

3. Quickly feel hungry
In the body, food is converted to glucose. Glucose will be used as an energy source for every cell, tissue, and organ of your body. Well, the hormone insulin is responsible for carrying out this process.
If your body fails to produce insulin or does not respond to the hormone insulin properly, your energy needs will not be fulfilled even if you have eaten. As a result, you feel hungry again because your body feels you have not gotten a source of glucose.
If you often feel hungry even though you just ate heavily. Try to check your blood sugar level immediately.

4. Vision disorders
Impaired vision in diabetics usually originates from lens disorders (cataracts) or eye nerve disorders (diabetic retinopathy). The condition of blood sugar that is high enough can trigger a buildup of protein in the lens of the eye resulting in cataracts. Uncontrolled blood sugar can also cause the small blood vessels in the eye to be disturbed and even ruptured so that the eye nerve (retina) cannot work properly.

5. Slow wound healing
The high blood sugar levels of diabetics cause the walls of the arteries to narrow and harden. As a result, the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the whole body becomes blocked. In fact, parts of the body that are injured require oxygen and nutrients contained in the blood to quickly heal. This is what makes it difficult for body cells to repair damaged tissue and nerves. The result, healing open wounds of diabetics tends to be slower.

6. Weight Drops Quickly
Although appetite increases, diabetics can experience weight loss, even very drastically. Towards adulthood, human weight tends to be stable from year to year. Down or up 1-2 kilos is common, but be careful if the change is up to 5 percent of body weight. Because the ability of glucose metabolism is disrupted, the body will use anything else as a 'fuel', such as muscle and fat so that people will look thin.

7. Dry Skin
High blood sugar affects the workings of the nervous system and causes the body to produce more cytokines. Excessive cytokine production can cause inflammation in the body. Well, this inflammation reaction makes your skin feel dry, itchy and cracked.
If you experience one or more of the symptoms of diabetes above, do not hesitate to see a doctor immediately.

Causes of Diabetes

There are many factors that cause diabetes that make a person suffer from this disease. The following are some of the causes of diabetes.

1. Type 1 Diabetes
In the case of type 1 diabetes, people will be more susceptible to type 1 diabetes if there is a history of type 1 diabetes. This means that genetic factors play an important role in the causes of type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes affects more white people than other races and most often attacks ages 4 - 7 years and 10-14 years.
Besides geographic factors, where people living in areas away from the equator, such as in Finland and Sardinia, are most affected by type 1 diabetes. This is due to a lack of vitamin D, which can trigger autoimmune diseases.

2. Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, the causes are more diverse and can go undetected for years. People will be more susceptible to type 2 diabetes if they have the following risk factors.

The first is overweight or obese and has a family history of type 2 diabetes, and is less active, meaning physical activity will help control weight, burn glucose as energy, and make the cells of the body more sensitive to insulin.

The next factor is age. In type 2 diabetes, the higher the risk of diabetes is in line with increasing age and have high blood pressure (hypertension). Jam, Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian-Americans, have higher rates of sufferers than white people. The last one is having good cholesterol levels but high triglyceride levels.

Prevention of Diabetes

As we know Millions of people in the world are diagnosed with diabetes because of unhealthy lifestyles and lack of exercise. Before it's too late, here are some ways to prevent diabetes.

1. Lose weight
Be careful if you include people who have excess weight or even obesity. Citing WebMD, obesity is the number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes. This means that people with excess weight have a greater potential for diabetes. Excess weight can increase a person's risk of developing diabetes. So, make sure that you can lose weight and keep it normal.

2. Sports routine
Exercising every day helps maintain a healthy weight, lowers blood sugar levels and increases your sensitivity to insulin. Besides helping to burn fat, exercise also helps make body cells more sensitive to insulin.

As much as possible take time to exercise lightly for at least 30 minutes a day to try to prevent diabetes and reduce blood sugar. There are many types of physical activity that have been shown to reduce insulin resistance in overweight adults and those who are prediabetes. Starting from running, swimming, cycling, basketball, badminton, lifting weights, or just relaxing. The key is one, make your body move every day.

3. Healthy Eating
If you find it difficult to switch from white rice to another alternative carbohydrate, try starting to trim your portion of rice little by little. For example by using a smaller plate. Eating on a small plate makes you unconsciously have to reduce the portion of eating less than usual.

In addition, you still have to get used to eating 3-4 servings of vegetables for one meal and 2-3 servings of fruit in one day.

4. Drink water
Experts believe that in addition to preventing dehydration, water is the best drink to prevent diabetes.

Water does not contain sugar so it will not raise your blood sugar levels. Conversely, drinking water actually makes the body's cells respond to insulin well. Water is also a powerful way for you not to consume too many sweet drinks.

5. Reduce Sugar
Sweet foods and drinks are tempting. However, there have been very many medical studies that prove that consuming excess sugar and refined carbohydrates can increase the risk of diabetes.
Therefore, reducing or even avoiding sweet foods and drinks is an effective way to prevent diabetes.

6. Avoid fatty foods
Junk food and the foods you usually buy on the road are generally high in saturated fats, which can increase bad cholesterol levels in the body. This in turn can also affect blood sugar levels in the body. So, avoid junk food and other fatty foods.

7. Eat enough vegetables
Vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber for the body. Thus, multiply the consumption of vegetables every day. They will help you prevent diabetes.

8. Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep, at least six hours of sleep at night is very important to prevent diabetes. Lack of sleep can increase the hormone cortisol in the body, which can increase insulin levels and cause blood sugar imbalances.

Treatment of Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, patients will need insulin therapy to regulate blood sugar daily. In addition, some type 2 diabetes patients are also advised to undergo insulin therapy to regulate blood sugar. This additional insulin will be given by injection, not in the form of a drinking drug. The doctor will set the type and dosage of insulin used, and tell how to inject it.

In cases of severe type 1 diabetes, doctors can recommend a pancreatic transplant to replace a damaged pancreas. Type 1 diabetes patients who have successfully undergone such surgery no longer need insulin therapy, but must take immunosuppressive drugs regularly.

In type 2 diabetes patients, doctors will prescribe drugs, one of which is metformin, a drinking drug that serves to reduce glucose production from the liver. In addition, other diabetes drugs that work by keeping glucose levels in the blood from being too high after the patient eats, can also be given.

Diabetic patients must control their blood sugar in a disciplined manner through a healthy diet so that blood sugar does not increase until above normal. In addition to controlling glucose levels, patients with this condition will also be scheduled to undergo an HbA1C test to monitor blood sugar levels over the past 2-3 months.

The choice of a healthy lifestyle remains an important point as a way to prevent and treat diabetes. Do not forget to always check your blood sugar to the doctor at least once a year to anticipate diabetes.

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