Diabetes

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What is it?

There are two types of diabetes. Type one was originally known as “juvenile diabetes” as this was the time when it would emerge. Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce its own insulin. Type 2 was known as “adult-onset diabetes”, again, as this is the time when it seemed to appear. With this type of diabetes the body produces insulin, it just forgets what to do with it. WebMD states that almost 8% of the population of the United States has diabetes.

Causes

With each different type of diabetes, there are different causes. For instance, the cause of type 1 diabetes is largely due to genetics.

The individual inherits this type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes does not just appear in the individual’s life one day. It needs a trigger. The trigger is environmental. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be triggered by a viral infection. The virus is believed to be the coxsackie B4 virus.

Type 2 diabetes is a result of lifestyle and genetics. If your diet is poor and you don’t exercise you increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. But also, if you have a history of diabetes you can be in trouble. Other causes of diabetes include: infections (the coxsackie virus B was mentioned earlier and there is also the cytomegalovirus infection), genetic defects (insulin gene mutations, mitochondrial DNA mutations), drugs (thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids), endocrinopathies (growth hormones, hyperthyroidism), and pancreatic defects (cystic fibrosis, chronic pancreatitis).

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Symptoms

Signs and symptoms make their appearance differently in the two types of diabetes. In type 1 they come on quite quickly and strongly whereas, in type 2, they are slower to develop and are sometimes unrecognizable by the individual. However, the symptoms are the same. They are: frequent urination, weight loss, increased hunger, and increased thirst. Skin rashes, foot ulcers and blurred vision are also quite common when it comes to signs and symptoms of diabetes.

Sometimes there are severe cases of symptoms, when it comes to type 1 diabetes. These symptoms can include: kussmaul breathing (deep breathing), vomiting, nausea, altered states of consciousness, abdominal pain and the smell of acetone. If experiencing such symptoms, one should contact emergency services (i.e. get yourself to the hospital).

Diagnosis

Persistent or recurring hyperglycemia is an indicator of diabetes. According to WebMD, the fasting plasma glucose test is the most common and popular test for determining whether or not someone has diabetes. For best results one should fast for 8 hours. This means the best time to take the test is in the morning, when you wake up. That way you don’t have to actually go without eating.

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Treatment

There is no known cure for diabetes so it is known as a chronic disease. With the use of medications, diet and exercise, an individual can manage their diabetes by keeping their blood sugar at a normal level. The individual gets into trouble when their blood sugar gets too high and they cause hypoglycemia. The ideal blood sugar level is 6.5%. Given the individual’s lifestyle or circumstances the level may be set a bit higher. Other health problems (i.e. not exercising, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, etc.) can be the cause of a higher than normal level.

Insulin is one of the most widely and commonly known medicines associated with diabetes. Generally, insulin is used for sufferers of type 1 diabetes. However, it is not uncommon for people with type 2 diabetes to be put on insulin. There are differences between the insulin used with both types. For type 2 diabetes metformin has been found to decrease mortality rates in sufferers.