There are three different types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Each disease is different and affects an individual differently. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in patients under 18 but can affect anyone of any age. It is an autoimmune disease that destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that regulates that amount of glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetics must take insulin to control their condition. Type 2 diabetes was once diagnosed in older patients usually, but now children, teens and adults are diagnosed with it. Many experts believe more people are affected is due to an increasingly obese population. In type 2, the body either resists the effects of insulin, or the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women when their bodies are not able to make or use all the insulin needed during pregnancy. Such a diagnosis does not mean that the mother had diabetes before, or will have it after the birth of her child. As gestational diabetes can harm both mother and child, following the doctors’ orders is very important.
You may think that diabetes is not serious, but that cannot be further from the truth. Diabetes progressively gets worse, affecting the kidneys, blood vessels, eyes, and contributing to heart disease and strokes. Uncontrolled diabetes can eventually lead to kidney failure, blindness, amputation of limbs and even death. Diabetes should never be ignored, but should be aggressively treated and controlled.
If you have family members who are diabetic or if you are overweight, you are at a greater risk for the disease. There are specific symptoms to look for, but some type 2 symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed. Typical symptoms include: frequent urination, extreme thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, cuts that are slow to heal, tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands and feet, losing weight (for type 1)
You will have to make some changes in your lifestyle beginning with diet. Eating healthy and having small portions of desserts only occasionally is the recommendation today. You will also need to exercise regularly, and you may have to daily monitor blood sugar levels and moderate your medication accordingly.
It depends. Patients with type 1 diabetes may not need medication when they are first diagnosed. However, they will eventually need insulin each day for the rest of their lives to regulate insulin levels along with close monitoring of their blood sugar levels. With type 2 diabetics, the condition can be treated with weight loss, exercise, and diet changes at first. Some type 2 patients may never have to take medication. However, as patients age and the disease progresses, medication may be added to adjust blood sugar levels. Diabetes is serious, but it can be controlled. With determination and working with your doctor, you can enjoy a long life with diabetes.
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