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Diabetes: Signs and Symptoms, Treatments, & Causes

Diabetes mellitus, most often referred to as simply diabetes, is a long-term condition where an individual has increased blood sugar levels (or blood glucose) due to either the body’s inability to respond to insulin properly, decreased insulin production, or both.

There are three types of diabetes, and they include:

  • Type 1 diabetes involves individuals who don’t produce insulin at all. About ten percent of diabetes patients fall under type 1.
  • Type 2 diabetes centers around individuals who don’t create enough insulin for their body. A majority of sufferers fall under this type of diabetes, with about 90 percent of cases across the globe being type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes affects only pregnant women who have increased levels of glucose, where their bodies simply cannot produce adequate amounts of insulin to transfer the glucose into cells; thus, the reason behind the heightened amounts of glucose levels in their system.

Signs and Symptoms

Going To The Bathroom

When there are increased levels of sugar (glucose) within your system, the end result is frequent urination; which happens to be one of the tell-tale signs of diabetes. When a person’s insulin is inadequate, or not at all there, the body’s kidneys cannot transfer glucose back to the blood. Therefore, the kidneys take water within the blood to dilute glucose, which ends up filling a person’s bladder quicker and causing the constant pee breaks in the bathroom.

Thirst

Another top sign of diabetes is thirstiness. As an individual who has diabetes urinates more, that liquid is in dire need of replacement; therefore, causing diabetes patients to want to drink more liquids.

Enhanced Hunger

When the insulin within a body is not working up to par, or non-existent, cells are not getting the energy they need to function right. A body reacts to this by trying to get more food, so that it can get more energy. Therefore, many diabetes patients claim extreme hunger as a symptom of the condition.

Weight Gain

As a result of the above symptom of intense hunger, many diabetes patients report an unusual amount of weight gain.

Weight Loss

Then, there is the other end of the spectrum in the battle of the scales, and many who suffer from type 1 diabetes tend to lose a tremendous amount of weight. Why? Well, the body seeks out energy sources when there isn’t insulin being produced and will find them in the form of breaking down fat and muscle tissues, resulting in extreme weight loss.

Feeling Tired

Many diabetes patients complain about feeling listless, tired, and fatigued. This is because when a body’s insulin is not working well or being produced at all, glucose can’t get to the cells to give them energy.

Irritable

Feeling tired, hungry, and extreme weight loss or gain can leave a person feeling highly irritable.

Vision Is Blurred

This is a result of tissue being taken from a person’s eye lenses, which decreases the ability around focus. The good news is that this can be treated; however, there are cases where prolonged vision issues or even blindness, has occurred.

Bruises and Cuts

Diabetes patients can often have bruises or cuts that either don’t heal or take a longer time to go away. This goes back to glucose levels, and the way they help with proper body functions.

Skin and Yeast Infections

Much like the cuts and bruises, increased sugar levels in the body can help it recover from infections, so diabetes sufferers tend to have to deal with plenty more yeast and skin infections. In fact, female diabetes patients find it difficult to get over vaginal or bladder infections when they occur.

Itchy skin

Itchy skin can also be a sign of this condition.

Gums

Interestingly enough, diabetes can also affect oral health. An individual’s gums can get red, swollen, and tender. Their teeth can loosen at the gums, as they pull away. This can also cause increased gum infections and disease.

Sex And Men

Erectile and (overall0 sexual dysfunction is experienced by some male diabetes patients 50 years of age and over.

Tingling and Numbness

Increased levels of glucose can cause nerve damage, and a body’s tiny blood vessels that feed into the nerves can be affected as well. As such, diabetes sufferers tend to complain about a tingling or numbness, especially within their hands and feet.

Treatments

Treatments for this condition vary, depending on the type of diabetes you have and its severity. Renewed lifestyle choices and changes in diet and exercise are usually the first steps taken when battling this condition. However, if enhanced physical activity and a focus on what you eat cannot lower sugar levels within type 2 diabetes patients, there are a variety of medicinal oral treatments, moreover hypoglycemic or antihyperglycemic drugs. Still, lifestyle choices work hand-in-hand with these drug treatments to help those with diabetes live a full and active life.

Those with type 1 diabetes cannot use oral medicine and must battle diabetes symptoms with insulin; a daily injection treatment option.

Causes

Many diabetes sufferers may wonder, ‘why me?’ when it comes to this illness; however, the truth is, there are many different reasons behind diabetes.

 Immune System

When the body is fighting an infection, the immune system battles and destroys beta-cells within the pancreas that produce insulin. The end result? Type 1 diabetes.

Genes

Many researchers believe that all three types of diabetes develop in certain individuals due to genetics.

Insulin Resistance

Those with type 2 diabetes generally start with insulin resistance, a disorder where the liver, muscle, and fat cells don’t use insulin. As such, the body requires more insulin for the transfer of glucose into cells. While the pancreas tries to increase production of insulin within the body, due to the demand, as time passes, it can’t make enough and blood sugar levels increase.

Overweight

Individuals who are overweight and inactive are likelier to develop type 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes. At times, the added weight sparks insulin resistance; however, where that extra weight lies can be a huge factor as well. Belly fat is connected to insulin resistance, which is linked to type 2 diabetes, as well as blood vessel and heart conditions.

Genetic mutations

Genetic mutations such as monogenic diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and hemochromatosis can also cause the diabetes condition.

Hormonal Illnesses

There are certain hormonal conditions where the body creates too much of a specific hormone, where the end results can be insulin resistance, and then diabetes. These include: Cushing’s syndrome, which produces additional cortisol; acromegaly produces additional growth hormones; and hyperthyroidism produces too much of the thyroid hormone.

Issues Around Pancreas

Pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, and trauma can create issues with beta cells, which causes problems around insulin production, and then diabetes. If the pancreas is damaged to the extent where is needs to be removed, diabetes is a natural side effect.

Medicines

There are medicines out there that can disrupt the way insulin works, as well as harm beta cells. They include: niacin (a type of vitamin B3), water pills (diuretics), anti-seizure medication, psychiatric medicines, HIV drugs, pentamidine (a medicine used to treat a type of pneumonia), glucocorticoids (for inflammatory conditions), as well as anti-rejection drugs that assist with organ transplants.

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