Diabetes is one of those conditions everyone knows about and fears. Sadly, it’s become a reality for more and more people. In fact, the rates of diabetes have increased 8-fold between 1958, when it affected less than 1% of the population, and 2015 when it affected 7.4% of the population.
The first step to fighting any enemy is to know who they are, and that’s particularly true with medical conditions. How many types of diabetes are there, and what causes diabetes? Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disorder that affects the way your body uses a sugar called glucose.
Normally, the glucose you eat and the glucose your liver produces goes to your blood. And, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin that carries blood glucose to your cells. Then, those cells use glucose as energy.
In fact, diabetes is a breakdown in this process where insulin cannot send your glucose to your cells, which leaves the glucose to build up in your blood.
How Many Types of Diabetes Are There?
There are three common types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin.
Eventually, you’re left with little or no insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes, the primary problem is in your cells rather than your pancreas. Whereas our cells become resistant to insulin’s effects, so the insulin can’t give them glucose.
Gestational diabetes is a hormonal complication of pregnancy. In fact, during pregnancy, the placenta releases hormones that make the woman’s cells more resistant to insulin. And, If the woman’s pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up, then gestational diabetes develops.
What Are The Causes?
The tricky problem with diabetes is that we don’t know the direct cause. However, a combination of genetics and environmental factors causes many types of diabetes.
For type 2 diabetes, we know that obesity is a major risk factor. There also appears to be a link between certain viral illnesses and type 1 diabetes. However, none of these factors are consistent in all people with diabetes.
What Are The Consequences?
Diabetes can have a variety of acute and long-term problems. Moreover, extreme highs or lows in blood sugar can be life-threatening.
In addition to the potential for medical emergencies, diabetes can have many long-term complications, such as
- Kidney damage
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neuropathy (pain or numbness in your limbs)
- Poor blood flow
- Vision problems
Although, every patient with diabetes will have a different experience, and the key is being diligent in managing your condition.
Obesity and Diabetes
Many people know that there’s a link between obesity and type 2 diabetes, but they don’t realize why.
The answer lies in excess fat. When the body builds too much fatty tissue, that tissue causes the cells to become resistant to insulin.
Besides diet and exercise, doctors often prescribe medications for diabetes.
These may include:
- Metformin or thiazolidinediones for increasing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin
- Sulfonylureas or meglitinides for increasing natural insulin production
- DPP-4 inhibitors which reduce blood sugar levels
- Injectable insulin for a fast reduction in blood sugar
Although every diabetes case is unique, so each person needs a customized care plan.
There are many ways to control diabetes through natural options. Also, exercising often and limiting the sugar in your diet are both vital.
In addition, there are natural supplements which can help:
- Ceylon cinnamon
- Chromium polynicotinate
- Bitter melon
To sum up, It’s all about finding the balance that works for your body.
Staying on Top of Diabetes
There are no two ways about it: diabetes is a serious condition. In fact, it can have life-changing and life-threatening complications.
But the good news is that it’s manageable with the right natural lifestyle changes and medications.
For more empowering tips for better health, check out more articles on our natural health blog.
- "Long-Term Trends in Diabetes", cdc.gov, April 2017, www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/slides/long_term_trends.pdf
- "What Causes Gestational Diabetes", WebMD, 30 Jan. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444
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