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Diabetes: Types, Causes, Treatments

Posted by John Johnson on

Diabetes: Types, Causes, Treatments

 

Is there too much glucose in your bloodstream? That’s diabetes. It’s when the body is unable to process and utilize effectively the glucose from food you eat. There are different types of diabetes and each type is caused by different conditions. Some types of diabetes can be prevented and if diabetes has been confirmed, medications and/or insulin can help you manage it.  

 

What is Diabetes? 

Glucose is essential to your health as it’s a vital source of energy for cells that constitute your tissues, muscles, and organs. It’s also the prime source of fuel for the brain. Insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas, helps glucose move from the blood into the cells. However, in diabetes, the pancreas fails to produce insulin or not make enough of it. In some cases, insulin is produced by the pancreas but the cells don’t react to it as they should and are unable to use glucose. This leads to the accumulation of sugar in your bloodstream, a condition often called high blood sugar. 

Unmanaged diabetes can lead to severe complications and cause damage to a large number of the body’s tissues and organs including your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and heart. 

 Diabetes 01

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes - This type is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes because people with this type of diabetes need to take insulin every day. It was used to be called juvenile diabetes as it’s often diagnosed during childhood and early adulthood.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas with antibodies. When this happens, there is little or no insulin left to help transport glucose into your cells and make sugar build up in your bloodstream. 

Treatment involves:

  • Injecting insulin
  • Regular blood sugar test
  • Meticulous meal planning 
  • Regular exercise
  • Oher medications if needed

 Diabetes 02

 

Type 2 Diabetes - This type is believed to be caused by lifestyle factors and genetics. It’s used to be called adult-onset diabetes but has become common to young people due to lifestyle and obesity. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas is able to produce insulin but it’s either not enough or the body is unable to use it properly. 

When cells in your muscles, liver, and fat don’t respond well to insulin, insulin resistance happens. If the cells become resistant and are not able to use glucose for energy, the pancreas produces more insulin and the sugar in your bloodstream increases that could eventually lead to nervous, circulatory, and immune system disorders. 

The risk of having type 2 diabetes is higher if it runs in your family. Obese people also have a high risk of having this kind of diabetes. Although obesity increases your chance of having type 2 diabetes, not everyone with this type is obese. This is a chronic disease that has no cure but if managed well can let you live a long comfortable life.  

Treatment involves: 

  • Carefully planned meals
  • Regular exercise
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Medication
  • Insulin as needed

 Diabetes 03

 

Prediabetes - This is the stage before having type 2 diabetes. In prediabetes, your blood sugar level is higher than what it should normally be but not high enough for the doctor to officially diagnose it as type 2 diabetes. If left untreated, this would eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. In the US, more than a third of the people have it but most are not aware of it. 

Treatment involves: 

  • Weight management 
  • Exercise
  • Proper diet

 

Gestational Diabetes - This type of diabetes happens sometimes during pregnancy. Hormonal changes when pregnant cause resistance to insulin in some cases. This is usually diagnosed halfway or later in the pregnancy.

Since blood sugar can travel through the placenta and into the baby, it’s crucial to manage gestational diabetes to prevent it from harming the unborn child’s growth and development. If left untreated, the baby could have an unusual increase in weight before birth or have trouble breathing. The mother might have to undergo a C-section due to an overly big baby. Damage to the eyes, nerves, heart, and kidney can also happen. This type most often goes away after pregnancy. 

Treatment involves:

  • Proper diet with less fat and calories
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight management
  • Insulin as needed

 Diabetes 04

 

Other types of Diabetes

Cystic fibrosis-related diabetes - A type of diabetes that happens to people with this specific disease. 

Monogenic diabetes - This is the result of single-gene mutations. This is inherited but rarely happens. 

Hemochromatosis diabetes - This type of diabetes happens to people with this specific disease. 

Chemical or drug-induced diabetes - This could happen after using glucocorticoid steroids, after a transplant, after treatment of HIV/Aids, and use of other such drugs or chemicals.   

 

8 tips to naturally lower blood sugar

Regular exercise - Exercise can help you reach and maintain your ideal weight. It also aids the muscles in using glucose for energy. 

Watch your carb consumption - Carbs mostly break down to glucose. Too many carbs mean too much glucose and this can cause your blood sugar to rise. 

Drink plenty of water - Drinking water not only hydrates you, but it also helps your kidneys in flushing out the extra sugar when urinating. 

Diabetes 05

Increase your fiber consumption - Fiber will help you slow down the digestion of carbs and absorption of sugar. It helps in blood sugar rise gradually.

Regulate calorie intake - Portion your meals, read food labels and eat slowly. 

Eat foods with a low glycemic index - The glycemic index calculates how foods are digested or absorbed. Low GI food intake has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Manage your stress - Stress can increase your blood sugar level as hormones like cortisol and glucagon are released when under stress. These hormones can spike up your blood sugar level. 

Get plenty of quality sleep - Lack of rest and sleep can affect your blood sugar as they could lead to appetite increase and result in weight gain.



You might also be interested to read 8 Ways to Boost Chi for Better Health and Bunions: Symptoms, Types, and Treatment.


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