Diabetes mellitus or simply diabetes is a condition wherein the affected individual has high blood glucose or sugar levels. The problem can be brought about by the inadequate production of insulin – a hormone produced in the pancreas which controls the amount of glucose present in the blood – or the inability of the cells to respond appropriately to insulin. Sometimes both cases serve as the root cause.

Individuals with diabetes have high sugar levels in the blood and usually experience common symptoms like the following:

  • Polyuria – frequent urination.
  • Polydipsia – increased thirst.
  • Polyphagia – increased hunger.

It’s not unlikely for afflicted people to also experience weight gain or weight loss, bruises and wounds that do not heal, numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet, sexual dysfunction among males, and fatigue.

There are 3 different types of diabetes. They are the following:

1. Type 1 Diabetes

This type is also termed as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes because it often develops during the afflicted individual’s teenage years or early adulthood. This type of diabetes is caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin.

About 10% of diabetes sufferers all over the planet are afflicted with type 1 diabetes. It’s important for those with this type of diabetes to constantly check their blood glucose levels and adhere to a special diet. Also, they need to take insulin injections for life.

2. Type 2 Diabetes

In this type of diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or there’s insulin resistance, a condition wherein the body cells do not respond properly to the hormone insulin. About 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide are type 2 diabetes.

While some people suffering from it may be able to control the disease by losing weight, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet, this type of diabetes is commonly progressive – it tends to get worse. Obesity and old age are factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Individuals who have close relatives suffering from diabetes are at risk too. Health authorities say that men with lowered testosterone levels may suffer from type 2 diabetes as well.

3. Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women are the ones affected by this type of diabetes. Gestational diabetes happens when there’s too much sugar in the blood and the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to transport all of those glucose molecules into the body cells. Undetected or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may increase the risk of childbirth complications. Babies tend to be bigger than they should be upon birth.

Preventing Diabetes

As of now, type 1 diabetes is not preventable. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can be kept at bay simply by having a healthy diet and lifestyle. The following are some tips on how you can dodge type 2 diabetes:

  • Limit intake of alcohol. If you love drinking, here’s good news: scientists believe that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol (1 serving for women and 2 servings for men daily) may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. If you’re not a drinker, don’t start to drink just to reduce your chances of having the condition because it may be prevented through other means.
  • Quit smoking. Experts say that individuals who use tobacco products are approximately 50% more likely to end up with type 2 diabetes than those who don’t smoke.
  • Manage your weight. Did you know that being overweight makes you 20-40 times more likely to end up with type 2 diabetes than a person with an ideal weight? Excess weight is said to be the most important type 2 diabetes causative factor.
  • Work out. Exercising helps you control your weight. More importantly, it greatly improves the ability of your muscle cells to respond adequately to insulin and absorb sugar in the blood appropriately. Experts say that something as simple as walking for 20 minutes per day can cut back your risk of having type 2 diabetes by as much as 30%.
  • Opt for a healthy diet. Go for complex carbohydrates and whole grains, and steer clear of food items with processed starch. Limit your intake of sodas and various sugary drinks. Drinking coffee and tea is good, and having plenty of water is highly recommended. Consume foods with good fats and limit your intake of red and processed meat.
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