No. Diabetes is actually a group of diseases, which can be characterized by very high levels of blood sugar. The high levels of sugar in blood can lead to frequent urination, increased hunger and thirst. If a patient has diabetes and doesn’t get a high quality treatment, it can cause such complications, as:
- Problems with heart (like heart disease and heart stroke);
- Problems with kidneys (chronic kidney failure);
- Eyes problems;
- Foot ulcers;
- Coma and consequently death.
That is why diabetes is a problem that should be treated as soon as possible. Please, tell your doctor if you have such symptoms, as:
- Weight loss;
- Thirst and increased urination;
- Enormous hunger, etc.
These symptoms are usually the initial, so you shouldn’t ignore them. The earlier the treatment is started, the milder will be the symptoms of this group of diseases. There are also some other symptoms like headache, itchy skin and changes of the lens shape, but they are not very specific. However, you still should call your doctor if anything is wrong.
What are the types of diabetes?
So, as we’ve already written, diabetes is a group of diseases. There are three main groups of diabetes, and two of them are related to the levels of insulin in your body. Insulin is a hormone which is produced by your islets of Langerhans (this is just another name of the pancreatic islets), and it’s very important for your body — insulin has some important functions, and if your body doesn’t produce enough of this hormone, diabetes occurs. By the way, insulin regulates the metabolism of fats and protein (it promotes the absorption of these molecules in your body), it’s also important for promoting the absorption of glucose. But let’s now talk about three main types of diabetes.
So, type 1 (it’s usually called DM 1, or diabetes mellitus type 1) is related to insulin. When your pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, the first type of diabetes occurs — and the reasons of it are still unknown, but we’ll talk about the risk factors a little bit later.
The second type (diabetes mellitus type 2, or DM type 2) is also characterized by lack of the hormone, called insulin. The symptoms of this one are similar to all the others (like weight loss, frequent urination and feeling too tired). This type of diabetes is dangerous — it can result in kidney and eye problems.
The third type is called GDM (it’s for gestational diabetes mellitus). Only women suffer from this one — this diabetes occurs when a pregnant woman has very high blood sugar levels. The symptoms are actually the same, but this type of diabetes can also result in depression and problems with a baby (like low blood sugar levels of baby after birth). It’s also related to a lack of insulin in your body.
So, who should worry about all these kinds of diabetes? Who is in risk group?
It’s actually very simple. It doesn’t matter who you are, but if you feel the symptoms we’ve described earlier, the very first thing you should do is to call your doctor. Moreover, there are some tests you can do, like the A1C test, the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) and the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which will show if you have diabetes or not. But there are some groups of people who, unfortunately, have more chances to have diabetes than the others. The risk factors are:
- Your age and color of your blood. If you are a white person over 40 or a Black African or an African-Caribbean person over 25, you have higher chances to get diabetes.
- The family history. If your parents, brothers or sisters have ever had diabetes, you should do the tests every year, because you are at the risk group.
- Your blood pressure. Have you ever had high blood pressure? If you have, you should be careful, too. Unfortunately, your chances are quite high.
- Your weight. If you are overweight, you are at the risk group, too.
- Your sex. If you are a woman, you can have GDM (especially if you are pregnant), and men don’t suffer from this disease.
But what you should know is that all the types of diabetes can be treated. All of them are treatable! If it’s the first type, you will have to take medications for the rest of your life, but the symptoms will be minimized. If you have type 2 diabetes, you have quite high chances to get rid of this disease, so all you should do is to follow your doctor’s advice.