Diabetes is a medical condition that affects how a person’s body regulates blood sugar also known as glucose. Glucose is needed to turn food into energy for the body. Insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate its absorption into cells.
- Weight loss
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
The three most common types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes: The body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas by mistake. Those who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will require insulin injections or may need to use an insulin pump to control their blood sugar levels. In many cases type 1 diabetes will develop in early childhood or adolescence.
- Type 2 diabetes: This is the most common form of diabetes, as it is related to physical inactivity and obesity. When the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar effectively, diabetes develops. Many lifestyle factors are associated with type 2 diabetes including poor diet and genetic predisposition. Sometimes type 2 diabetes can be managed with a combination of healthy eating, regular physical activity, medications, and insulin.
- Gestational diabetes: This occurs during pregnancy in some women who usually have never had diabetes before. In most cases, gestational diabetes will resolve after giving birth, but it can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life for both the mother and child.
If any of these types of diabetes go untreated, it can lead to serious medical concerns such as heart disease, kidney disease, circulation issues, stroke, and nerve damage. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if there are any concerns regarding the possibility of diabetes or if blood sugar levels are concerning.
Impacts on life when dealing with diabetes:
- Health complications: Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to many different types of health complications. If blood sugar levels are not managed properly over time, they can damage blood vessels and vital organs, which will increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It can also affect the kidneys, eyes, and nerves. If your diabetes is poorly managed it can also affect the immune system, which can make someone more prone to infections.
- Lifestyle changes: Managing your diabetes can require adjusting your daily routine. Some things that are needed are monitoring your blood sugar levels daily, eating a healthy and balanced diet, maintaining regular physical activity, and taking your medication or insulin as your physician prescribes it.
- Emotional well-being: Living with diabetes may cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Diabetes management can sometimes be challenging due to the constant monitoring of having “good” blood sugar levels. It can be beneficial for those living with diabetes to seek support from healthcare professionals, support groups, and/or counseling services.
- Impact on relationships: Family members and close friends may need to provide mental and emotional support and provide understanding to those diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes may impact social activities, dietary choices, and can require others to know signs of low blood sugar levels to prevent emergency situations.
- Financial concerns: The costs associated with diabetes can be hard to manage. Expenses related to medication, insulin, monitoring supplies, doctor visits, and hospitalizations due to complications can become overwhelming. Diabetes may also lead to needing to reduce hours worked or miss workdays which can result in a financial burden.
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