November is World Diabetes Awareness Month and, as with so many other diseases, not many people truly understand much about the disease, how it works, or how it’s treated.
Just like with our vegan/vegetarian article we would like to clear up any confusion about the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus as well as Gestational Diabetes.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which the affected individual has high blood sugar levels over an extended time period. With this disease either the pancreas is not producing enough Insulin or the cells of the body is not responding properly to the insulin being produces by the body.
TYPE 1 Diabetes is a result of the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin for the body. The causes behind Type 1 DM is still undetermined but it is thought that genetic and environmental factors could play a role or that it could even be a virus-triggered auto-immune response. Symptoms of Type 1 DM include excessive urination, increased thirst, dry mouth, increased hunger, fatigue, and weight loss. There is no way to prevent Type 1 and the treatment includes Insulin therapy, de-stressing practices, and even pancreas transplantation in extreme cases.
TYPE 2 Diabetes is caused by the body’s cells refusal to respond to Insulin, called Insulin resistance. So, the pancreas work fine and produce Insulin but the body won’t accept it. Since Insulin regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and inhibits the production of glucose in the liver while it promotes the absorption of glucose to the skeletal muscles and fat tissues, the lack of response to Insulin causes the blood sugar levels to rise and become unbalanced. Obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise is thought to be the primary causes of Type 2 Diabetes. Symptoms of Type 2 DM include frequent urination, excessive thirst, dry mouth, and constant hunger. The disease can be managed by increasing exercise and making dietary changes. If blood sugar levels are not adequately lowered by these measures, medications such as metformin (commonly known as Glucophage) or Insulin can also be prescribed. If not properly managed Type 2 DM can develop serious complications such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke; a 20-fold increase in lower limb amputations, and increased rates of hospitalizations.
Gestational Diabetes occurs when pregnant women who have no prior history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels. It is caused when Insulin receptors stop function properly, likely caused by pregnancy-related factors. This type of diabetes has few symptoms and is usually diagnosed by screening during pregnancy and it can be managed by modifying the diet and introducing moderate exercise to the daily routine. However some cases may require antidiabetic drugs, including insulin.
So, as you can see; all forms of Diabetes are very serious, chronic diseases that can be effectively managed and yet it still causes more deaths every year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
So it is crucial that you go for regular blood sugar screenings at your local pharmacy and ensure you stay well within safety limits by following a healthy diet and living an active lifestyle.