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How well do you know about the diagnosis, types, and symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus (DM)?

Diabetes is one of the world’s leading causes of death. According to the World Health Organization, in just 2019, around 1.5 million people died just because of diabetes. It is also estimated that above 463 million people around the world are living with diabetes. These numbers can rise to 700 million diabetes patients by 2045 globally.

If you or your loved one has diabetes, you should know how this fatal disease can affect your daily activities and how you can get over it to prevent yourself from this noxious disease.

Table of Contents:

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is among the chronic health conditions caused when your body turns sugar into energy instead of absorbing it into blood cells. When this happens, this results in producing extended levels of sugar into your bloodstream.

When you eat food, most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (glucose) and flows through your bloodstream. When there’s a high level of blood sugar, it enables your pancreas to emit insulin.

(Insulin is an important element to keep your blood sugar in your blood cells to be used as energy).

When you have diabetes, your body does not produce enough insulin or it does not use the produced insulin as it should be. When there’s not enough insulin or your body doesn’t respond to existing insulin, the blood sugar levels keep rising and it stays in your bloodstream for long. If this happens unceasingly, you can be exposed to several lingering health complications, which include vision loss, heart diseases, and kidney failure.

There’s not a complete treatment for diabetes, but depending on the type of diabetes, it can be controlled well.

Types of diabetes

Untreated diabetes can seriously damage different functions and organs of your body. Knowing its types will help treat them better. The types of diabetes include:

Type 1 diabetes:

Also known as insulin-dependent or childhood-onset diabetes, which is caused due to the deficiency of production of insulin. This requires daily insulin administration. According to WHO, 9 million patients were suffering from type 1 diabetes in 2017, and the majority of the patients were from high-income generating countries. 

It is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks and damages blood cells in the pancreas. Experts are unclear about the reason for this attack. 10% of the people with diabetes have this type. For this reason, it is also called insulin-dependent diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

It happens in two abnormal conditions. Either your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body doesn’t react to insulin as it should be. This falls under the most common diabetes type as 95% of people with diabetes have this type.

Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes and insulin-resistant diabetes. Mostly happens in middle-aged and older people.


This is the condition that occurs before type 2 diabetes. In which you would experience higher levels of blood sugar in your bloodstream but not that much that it would be called type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes

This type of diabetes does not occur normally in people. This generally develops in women during pregnancy and goes away when they deliver babies. However, this initiates the chances of developing type 2 diabetes later on.

To prevent yourself from extreme conditions where it gets impossible to roll back from this life-threatening disease, one must look closely at the symptoms causing high blood sugar.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes symptoms can be witnessed with rising blood sugar levels. Its general symptoms include:

  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurry vision
  • Injuries that hardly heal
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irregular urination

Apart from the general symptoms mentioned above, there can be other symptoms as well based on the type of diabetes and gender.

Symptoms in men:

Men can be affected differently with diabetes. They may have decreased sexual desires, poor muscle strength, and can also initiate erectile dysfunction (ED).

Symptoms in women:

Urinary tract infections, dry, itchy skin, and yeast infections are common in women with diabetes.

Diabetes causing factors

A myriad of causes is associated with almost every type of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes:

Experts are unsure what causes type 1 diabetes. According to a projection, the immune system is the one main factor that attacks and destroys pancreatic cells responsible for producing insulin. They believe that genes also play a role in some people with diabetes type 1.

Type 2 diabetes:

This type of diabetes is caused by lifestyle and genetic factors mainly. Additionally, being obese or overweight also play its part in increasing the risks of diabetes in most people.

Families with a history of diabetes due to obesity share genes, which specifically become the reason for type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes:

As explained above, this type occurs in women during pregnancy. This happens because the hormones become less sensitive to react to insulin due to the hormones produced by the placenta.

Moreover, pregnant overweight women or women who gain weight during pregnancy get gestational diabetes easily.

How to diagnose diabetes?

Anyone with diabetes symptoms should be tested before the risks of increasing blood sugar get out of control. Pregnant women are routinely checked for gestational diabetes throughout their pregnancy period. For this, doctors advise performing blood tests to diagnose blood sugar levels.

  • The FPG tests – fasting plasma glucose test will measure the level of glucose in your bloodstream. It is taken after 8-hours of fasting.
  • Another A1C test gives a complete snapshot of 3 months of your blood sugar history.

When there’s gestational diabetes, the doctor will perform blood sugar tests during the 24th and 28th weeks of the pregnancy.

Health impacts of diabetes

With time, diabetes can cause serious complications to the organs of your body like the heart, kidney, blood vessels, and nerves. 

  • Diabetes can cause reduced blood flow which may increase the risk of neuropathy with foot infections, ulcers and the need for limb amputation can also be increased.
  • Adults and old-aged people with diabetes have an increased risk of strokes and heart attacks.
  • Diabetic retinopathy is one of the main causes of blindness in people with diabetes. Across almost 1 million people have retinal issues due to the disease.
  • It is also a cause of damaging important organs like kidneys and heart if left untreated.

Living with diabetes

When you have diabetes, it is important to know what you should eat to control your diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet and proper timely checkups ensure a healthy life and body.

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

To keep your blood sugar in control, you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For this, wisely make your food choices, maintain a healthy weight, and have good levels of activities. Along with this, the proper prescription medication makes it easy to control your blood sugar levels effortlessly.

  • Identify how your emotions, travel, and illness affect your body

Stress can instigate an increased level of blood sugar spikes in your blood. You need to realize how stress and anxiety affect your body and affect your daily routine. Look how long your emotions take to stabilize after when you are upset, sick, or traveling.

Bottom Line:

Factors that can cause type 1 diabetes are out of control and are not identified. But not all types of diabetes are unmanageable. Type 2 diabetes can be managed with an increase in physical activity, better food choices, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Consult a doctor when you are at risk of diabetes. If your A1C and FPG show damaging results, you must follow what your doctor advises so your blood sugar can be controlled well.

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