DIABETES; THE CAUSES, SYMPTOMS, COMPLICATIONS AND TREATMENTW
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It’s also your brain’s main source of fuel.
If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.
We have two main types of Diabetes
They are; _Type1_ and _Type 2_
But occasionally we have situations of Pre-diabetes
Potentially, reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.
CAUSES OF DIABETES
To understand diabetes, first you must understand how glucose is normally processed in the body.
HOW INSULIN WORKS
Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas).
The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin circulates, enabling sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
THE ROLE OF GLUCOSE
Glucose(a sugar) is a source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.
Glucose comes from two major sources: food and your liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. Your liver stores and makes glucose When your glucose levels are low, such as when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.
Causes of type 1 diabetes
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. What is known is that your immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses — attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what many of those factors are is still unclear.
Causes of Pre-diabetes
In prediabetes — which can lead to type 2 diabetes — and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it’s needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.
Exactly why this happens is uncertain, although it’s believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with type 2 is overweight.
Causes of Gestational diabetes
During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to sustain your pregnancy. These hormones make your cells more resistant to insulin.
Normally, your pancreas responds by producing enough extra insulin to overcome this resistance. But sometimes your pancreas can’t keep up. When this happens, too little glucose gets into your cells and too much stays in your blood, resulting in gestational diabetes.
Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.
Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:
1. Increased thirst
2. Frequent urination
3. Extreme hunger
4.Unexplained weight loss
5. Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
8. Blurred vision
9. Slow-healing sores
10.Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes — and the less controlled your blood sugar — the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening. Possible complications include:
Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
Nerve damage (neuropathy): Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
Kidney damage (nephropathy): The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Eye damage (retinopathy): Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as _cataracts and glaucoma_ .
Foot damage: Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
Skin conditions: Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including _bacterial and fungal Infections._
Hearing impairment: Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
Alzheimer’s disease: Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
TREATMENTS FOR ALL SORT OF DIABETES:
An important part of managing diabetes — as well as your overall health — is maintaining a healthy weight through a healthy diet and exercise plan:
-HEALTHY EATING. Contrary to popular perception, there’s no specific diabetes diet. You’ll need to center your diet on more fruits, vegetables and whole grains — foods that are high in nutrition and fiber and low in fat and calories — and cut down on animal products, refined carbohydrates and sweets. In fact, it’s the best eating plan for the entire family. Sugary foods are OK once in a while, as long as they’re counted as part of your meal plan.
Yet understanding what and how much to eat can be a challenge. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. This will likely include carbohydrate counting, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
-PHYSICAL ACTIVITY Everyone needs regular aerobic exercise, and people who have diabetes are no exception. Exercise lowers your blood sugar level by moving sugar into your cells, where it’s used for energy. Exercise also increases your sensitivity to insulin, which means your body needs less insulin to transport sugar to your cells. Get your doctor’s OK to exercise. Then choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or biking. What’s most important is making physical activity part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes or more of aerobic exercise most days of the week. If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually.
Particularly Treatment for Type1 and Type 2 diabetes are;
Involving insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting. Treatment of type 2 diabetes primarily involves monitoring of your blood sugar, along with diabetes medications, insulin or both.
In summary, I enjoin us all If you suspect you or your child may have diabetes immediately contact a doctor
And also If you’ve already been diagnosed with diabetes. After you receive your diagnosis, you’ll need close medical follow-up until your blood sugar levels stabilize.
May Allah help us all and ease our affairs…
Subhanarabbika Rabbil I’nzati ama yasifun wasalamu a’lal mursalin walhamdulilahi Rabbil a’lamin wa Salamu alaykum warahmatulah wabarakatuhu brethren in faith
Doctor, Ustaz Qossim Eniola Abdul Wahab.