The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death in the United States. The CDC states, “37.3 million US adults have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.” Diabetes comes in three forms: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, with no cure available. Type 2 is the most prevalent form.
What You Should Know About Diabetes
The CDC goes on to describe diabetes as a long-term disease that affects how your body converts food into energy. The majority of the food you consume is broken down into sugar (also known as glucose) and released into your circulation. When your blood sugar rises, your pancreas releases insulin, which acts like a key to allow the glucose in your cells to be used for energy.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes include Increased thirst and urination, fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, sores that don’t heal, and unexplained loss in weight.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes can appear rapidly, in a few weeks. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop slowly—sometimes over several years—and might be so mild that you may not even notice them. Many individuals with type 2 diabetes have no indicators. Some people do not discover they have the condition until they develop diabetic complications, such as heart issues or blurred vision.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system, your body’s defense mechanism against infection, attacks and eliminates any insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Scientists believe that type 1 diabetes can be caused by genes and some environmental factors like viruses that may trigger it. Researchers are searching for causes of type 1 diabetes as well as possible solutions to prevent or mitigate the disease using studies like TrialNet External link.
Type 2 Diabetes
The NIDDK says, “Type 2 diabetes—which is the most frequent form of diabetes— can be caused by a combination of factors, including lifestyle choices and genes.”
Obesity, overweight, and physical inactivity
If you are overweight and not physically active, you are more likely to get diabetes. Insulin resistance may sometimes be caused by extra weight, which is common in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The position of body fat can also make a difference. Having extra belly fat is connected to heart and blood vessel disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, in which liver, muscle, and fat cells fail to utilize insulin properly. As a result of this, the body needs additional insulin to enable glucose to enter cells. The pancreas initially produced extra insulin to keep up with the higher demand. Over time, the pancreas can no longer create enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels.
Family history and genes
Certain genes may put you at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, just as they do in type 1 diabetes. The condition is hereditary and more common among certain racial/ethnic groups such as African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics/Latinos, and Pacific Islanders.
Genes also raise the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by raising a person’s propensity to become obese or overweight.
The CDC explains, “Gestational diabetes can develop in pregnant women who haven’t ever had diabetes before. If you do have gestational diabetes, your baby has an increased risk of health issues. Gestational diabetes is generally resolved after delivery, although it raises the likelihood of type 2 diabetes later in life. As a youngster or adolescent, your baby is more likely to be obese and subsequently develop type 2 diabetes as an adult.”