Diabetes: Definition, Types, Causes, Signs, and How to Prevent


Diabetes or it is also called by doctors with diabetes mellitus is defined as a group of the metabolic diseases where those who are affected have high blood sugar or glucose level. High blood sugar can be caused by insulin production that is inadequate or the body cells that don’t respond to insulin properly. It can be both, too. For those who have high blood sugar also experience frequent urination or polyuria. They will be thirsty or polydipsia as well as hungry or polyphagia. We will discuss it clearly below.

Getting Closer to Diabetes

So, what is diabetes? You have known the definition above. So, diabetes can be defined more generally as a metabolism disorder. You may have known about metabolism as the way of our body use the digested food to make energy as well as growth. Remember that most of any foods we eat, it will be broken down into what we call as glucose. You know, glucose is defined as a form of sugar in our blood. It is the essential source of fuel for body. If there is a problem with glucose, it can lead to diabetes.

When we eat food then it is digested, then the glucose will make its way right into the bloodstream. The glucose then is used by our cells to create both energy and growth. But, glucose will never enter to the cells without a help of insulin. So, the presence of insulin becomes important as it makes possible for the cells to take in glucose. Insulin itself, it is a hormone where it is produced by our pancreas. When we eat, our pancreas then releases insulin automatically to move glucose that present in the blood.

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If the glucose has entered the cells, then the blood-glucose levels will drop. For those who have diabetes, they have a condition where the glucose quantity in their blood is hyperglycemia or too elevated. It can be caused by the body that doesn’t produce insulin in the right amount or don’t produce insulin. It can be caused by the cells that cannot properly respond the insulin that pancreas has produced. Then, it leads glucose that is building up in blood. Let’s see in detail below.

Types of Diabetes

So, you have known the definition and general cause of how diabetes can occur to a patient. Now, it is the time to know the types of diabetes. There are three types of diabetes. They are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

getting closer to types of diabetes

Each of them has different symptoms but generally have the same main treatment like controlling the amount of the glucose since there is no cure for diabetes except for controlling the glucose. Well, it will be discussed later in below in different page.

• Type 1 Diabetes

What is type 1 diabetes? It is diabetes that is caused by the body that doesn’t produce insulin at all. The sufferer of this type of diabetes may be smaller than for the type 2 diabetes but today, it generally increases to the high number. This type of diabetes may occur in young people before 40th year, such as in the adulthood or even in teenage years. It is about 10{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} of diabetic patients while others, about 90{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} are diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. For those who have this type of diabetes they need the right treatment.

For those with type 1 diabetes, they need to get insulin injection as their body cannot produce insulin anymore. The worst thing, they need to have insulin injection for the rest of life. Besides that, they need to ensure to get the right blood glucose levels by taking blood test regularly including taking a special diet. The data from 2001 to 2009 shows us that the patients of this type of diabetes in the USA under 20s increased 23{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46}. It is by SEARCH for data of Diabetes in Youth that is issued by CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

• Type 2 Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes? It is diabetes that is caused by the body that doesn’t produce enough insulin for the proper function. It can be caused by the cells in our body that don’t react to the insulin or called with insulin resistance. The data of diabetes worldwide shows that it is about 90{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} for diabetic patients are considered with type 2 diabetes. So, this is the most common case of diabetes. All of you need to pay attention to this one since it can attack anyone and it needs the right treatments to do.

Remember that diabetes may not have a cure including for this type of diabetes. But, the good news is those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can control the symptoms by losing their weight, taking a healthy diet as well as plenty of exercise. Sure, monitoring the level of the blood glucose becomes the main treatment. Just note this; this type of diabetes is a progressive disease. It means this diabetes can get worse gradually. The patients may probably end up by taking insulin. It can be in tablet form.

Obese and overweight people have higher risk, even much more, in developing this type 2 diabetes than those who have healthy body weight. Those who have plenty visceral fat in their body, known as belly fat, central obesity or with abdominal obesity also have high risk to this diabetes. It is because the obese or overweight makes the body releases chemicals where it will destabilize the metabolic systems as well as cardiovascular system in the body. Therefore, losing the weight can also help to control the symptom.

Besides overweight, taking wrong foods, physically inactive will contribute to get a risk for developing this type 2 diabetes. Then, if you drink even only one can of soda (non-diet) even per day, it can raise the risk of this diabetes by 22{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46}. It is based on the report of researches of Imperial College London in their journal Diabetologia. Scientists also believe that sugary soft drinks have impact to the diabetes risk rather than influence the body weight. Taking healthy drink may reduce the symptom of diabetes.

Then, as we get older, the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes may increase too. Well, although experts may not sure completely why, it can be said that when we age, we can put on weight since we become less active physically. For those who have close relative who had this type of diabetes, they have a higher risk to have this diabetes. For men with low level of testosterone also have a higher risk for developing this type of diabetes because of insulin resistance caused by the testosterone level.

• Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes affects females in the period of pregnancy. During pregnancy, women may have very high glucose levels in their blood as well as their body. It makes them unable to reduce insulin in enough amounts to transport all glucose in the cells. This then leads to the progressively rising of the level of glucose. The diagnosis of this type of diabetes is taken during the pregnancy. The patients with gestational diabetes should take healthy diet and exercise to control the diabetes.

Besides healthy diet and exercise, it is about 10{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} to 20{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} of these patients need to take medications or drugs to control the blood glucose. If they are not controlled or diagnosed while they have the symptoms of gestational diabetes, it can increase the risk of some complications for the childbirth. The baby may also have bigger body than he or she should be in the normal size. Scientists also said that women before the pregnancy who eat more cholesterol and animal fat also have higher risk.

Complications Linked to Uncontrolled Diabetes

the possible complications of having diabetes

Just like has been stated before, badly controlled diabetes may lead to several complications where it can be serious health problems that need high attentions for treating under experts’ hands. The patients with diabetes are strongly recommended to take the right treatment or medical advice from the expert to avoid the following complications since they are very serious. The treatments can be double since these complications nee their own treatment even to surgery. Here is the list.

The complications include;

  • Eye complications, it is like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and others.
  • Skin complications, for those who have diabetes have higher risk for the skin infections as well as skin disorders.
  • Foot complications, it is like ulcers, neuropathy, and also sometimes gangrene that can lead to the amputation for the foot.
  • Heart problems, it is like ischemic heart disease as the blood supply is diminished to the heart muscle.
  • Mental health, when diabetes is uncontrolled, then it increases the risk to suffer anxiety and depression as well as other mental disorders.
  • Hypertension, it is common in those diabetic patients. This can increase the risk of eye problems, kidney disease and heart attack even stroke
  • Hearing loss, diabetic patients also have a high risk for hearing problems
  • Gum disease, evidences show that diabetes patients also have much higher prevalence of this disease.
  • Ketoacidosis, it is a brief of ketosis and acidosis. It is the accumulation of the ketone bodies as well as acidity in our blood.
  • Gastroparesis, means the muscles of our stomach then stop properly working.

What Causes Diabetes?

To know the causes of diabetes, between type 1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. For type 1 diabetes, the cause is from the body that cannot produce insulin any longer. The cause of the body has no longer produce insulin because of the body’s own immune system that has been attacked as well as destroyed the cells where the insulin is created. Well, the cause of this case is not known. But, it can be a genetic risk factors or environmental factors. So, the main cause isn’t entirely clear.

One theory says that type 1 diabetes may attack to someone after he or she has a specific virus. For those who are diagnosed with this type of diabetes must take enough insulin every day to keep living. There is no way to cure or prevent this type of diabetes but the only way the patients can do is about controlling their blood glucose or sugar level. Keeping the blood sugar level in the normal range will help control the diabetes. It will not cure but only control the diabetes for not getting worse.


knowing more detail about diabetes causes

For the causes of type 2 diabetes, where this is the most common one, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin that the body needs or produce insulin but the body cannot use it. It is same with the type 1 diabetes where the main cause remains a mystery. However, genetics as well as lifestyle clearly has roles. This type of diabetes is linked to genetic risk factors, obesity and inactivity. For those who are older have higher risk to develop this type of diabetes like has been mentioned before.

Besides that, some ethnic groups like Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, African Americans and American Indians have higher risk too. Remember that type 2 diabetes also has no cure. However, the patients can control it by keeping the glucose level in the blood in the normal range. So, keeping the glucose level becomes the only way that can control both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Healthy diet and exercise can help control the level of the glucose in the blood.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

signs of diabetes in detail

This may surprise you but you should believe that diabetes whether it is type 1 or type 2 may occur without any signs of diabetes. It is said that it is possible for someone to be diagnosed with diabetes even by a very mild diabetes symptom. Even, they may have diabetes without having any symptoms. Therefore, people may have diabetes but they are not aware until they are diagnosed. This may happen mostly to those with type 2 diabetes. So, the diabetes symptoms will not always occur or seen.

The condition where it is known with pre-diabetes that leads to the type 2 diabetes also may occur without any symptoms. The symptoms may develop very slowly. For those with type 1 diabetes may be unnoticed too until they find one of the symptoms listed here occur. The symptoms may be accompanied with stomach pains, vomiting and nausea. It is important to see a doctor when one of the following symptoms occurs to you. The main symptom is high blood sugar level or hyperglycemia.

Here is the list of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. They include;

  • Urinating often
  • Frequent gum disease/infection
  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Weight gain
  • Feeling extremely hungry –even if you are already eating
  • Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet (for type 2)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss – although you eat more (for type 1)
  • Slow healing cut or bruise
  • Blurry vision

Diabetes Prevention

How to prevent diabetes? That is one of the most frequent asked questions about diabetes. To prevent diabetes, changing the lifestyle becomes the big step. It is also never too late to begin your healthy lifestyle. For type 2 diabetes, prevention is really a big deal. It is very important to make prevention for you who are at the increased risk of it such as getting overweight or has a family history with diabetes. The prevention can be very simple starting eat healthy foods, losing weight and be physically active.

It is strongly advised to make changes in your unhealthy lifestyle now even for few simple changes. Simple changes may also avoid you from the serious health complications of diabetes that have been listed before. Remember that the complication can attack heart, kidney and nerve. The following tips of diabetes prevention are taken from American Diabetes Association. You can start doing these tips now to change your lifestyle and to move forward to be healthier and further from diabetes.

how to prevent diabetes

Be more active physically. Doing regular physical activity gives you many benefits. Exercise can absolutely help you to lose weight, boost the sensitivity to insulin where it can help to keep the blood sugar level in the normal range and to lower the blood sugar as well. Based on a study, resistance training and aerobic exercise can help to control diabetes. If you want greater benefits, then fitness program that include resistance training and aerobic exercise is the answer to try.

Take more fiber. It can be rough and it can be tough but they are also effective to help you reduce the risk of diabetes as it can improve the blood sugar control. Fiber can also lower the risk of heart disease including promote weight loss as it can make you feel full faster and longer. Foods that are high in fiber can be found in fruits, beans, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and seeds. Fiber is healthy foods that are advised to start having healthy lifestyle and healthy diet. Your body can be healthier too.

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Take more whole grains. Well, it is not yet clear why whole grains can give benefits to prevent diabetes. But, whole grains can absolutely reduce the risk of diabetes. It can help maintain the blood sugar levels too. It is advised to take at least half of your grains is whole grains. You can find many foods that are made of whole grains even ready to eat. It can be pasta products, breads and cereals. Just read the word ‘whole’ on the label of the package among other first few names of ingredients.

Lose extra pounds. For you who are overweight, then you have higher risk of diabetes. So, if you want to prevent diabetes, it is by losing extra pounds. Remember that every pound you lose will automatically improve your health. If you ask how much to lose, then it is until it reaches to the ideal weight. Losing weight about 7{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46} of the initial body weight as well as regular exercise can reduce the risk of diabetes by 60{3c23e2fbf4e2cadbef517e4ba19d1fe7405b738de707bdb2dba0ebeca58eba46}. It is never too late to start losing your weight by the right exercise under an expert.

Try to skip the fad diets but just take healthier choices. You may have known that glycemic index diet, low carb diets and other fad diets can help to lose weight faster at first. But remember that their effectiveness in preventing diabetes is still unknown including their long term effects. If you exclude particular food group, then you have a chance not to get enough essential nutrients. So, just make healthier eating plan that include all nutrients your body needs. You may ask a nutritionist.

See your doctor. For you who are older than 45 years old and the weight is normal, you may need to ask your doctor to have diabetes test or blood glucose screening. This test is advised for those in age 45 or older as well as overweight or for those who are younger than 45 but overweight and have more risk factors like have a sedentary lifestyle or have a family history with diabetes. Ask your doctor about your concern to prevent diabetes. Your doctor will appreciate your effort to do this.

Diabetes Treatments

recommendation treatments for diabetes

There are some diabetes treatments you must do if you are diagnosed with diabetes either type 1 or 2 diabetes. It is better to do these treatments based on the recommendation of your doctor. So, ask your doctor about the diagnosis then ask him or her about the following treatment since each of you may need different diabetes treatments. The treatments include medication and natural treatments. You need to do them both or based on what your doctor says to take. Here is the list of the treatments.

• Diabetes Drugs

Just like has been discussed before that for those who have type 1 diabetes, their pancreas cannot longer produce insulin that your body needs. Then, taking insulin by an injection or continuous pump becomes the right choice. You may need to learn how to give injection. At first you give the injection for yourself, other persons even to your child and infant, it can be something daunting. But, when you have tried the first and second injection, it can be easier than what you have though before.

Some people may use an insulin pump or computerized pump. This pump gives insulin in the right amount. You and the doctor program this pump to deliver insulin in the right amount throughout the day or with the basal dose. Then, before you eat, you need to program the pump to deliver insulin in the right amount based on the level of the blood sugar. It is also called as bolus dose. Since this is type 1 diabetes, so it must be performed every day to continue live.

Then, checking the blood sugar levels is also advised so you will know the body’s changing. You can test the blood sugar with your doctor to know the right dosage of insulin that you need to take. You can check the blood sugar level everyday by using glucometer. This instrument will automatically measure the glucose level in a very simple way. Besides that, there is a device like CGMS or Continuous Glucose Monitoring System. This device can be less accurate since it is attached to body and check from skin.

• Nutrition and The Right Meal Timing

For those who are diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital to eat balanced diet. Therefore, it is advised to work together with your doctor or with dietitian to get the right menu plan. Remember, for type 1 diabetes, the timing of taking insulin dosage is based on the activity and diet. What you eat, when you eat and how much you eat becomes important questions. Your doctor will give three small meals as well as three or four snacks every day. It is to maintain the right balance of insulin and sugar in your blood.

• Exercise

Physically inactive can lead to diabetes. So, doing regular exercise is a crucial treatment to do. For both types of diabetes, ask your doctor before you take certain exercise program. You may need to take the right exercise that focus on improving the body’s use of the insulin as well as lower the blood sugar levels. Then, if you feel the one of the low blood sugar symptoms, then stop exercising. Have a drink or carbohydrate snack. Then, wait for 15 minutes and check it again. Take more snacks if it is still low.

Lifestyle Changes

If you wear a MedicAlert tag or bracelet that says you are diagnosed with diabetes, it can be a good idea to try. This makes other people understand about your health condition in case you may have hypoglycemic attack or other conditions like an accident where you need an emergency medical care. It is a good idea to identify as one with diabetes since hypoglycemic attacks are also mistaken for a drunkenness. Lifestyle change means you will take healthier lifestyle too.

Alternative Medicine for Diabetes Treatment

alternative medicine to overcome diabetes

Besides the treatments above, there are some other alternative medicines to take to deal with diabetes. They include vitamins and minerals, mind or body medicine and herbal remedies. Just remember this, all these alternative medicines must never be used without asking your doctor. These medicines may help to control the blood sugar as well as prevent the complications of diabetes. But still, ask your doctor first. The alternative medicines are listed as below;

• Vitamins and Minerals

Chromium may have an effect for insulin as well as glucose metabolism. But, there is no evidence if taking chromium supplement can deal diabetes. Chromium can be found in healthy foods like nuts, grain and green vegetables. Some studies conclude that taking biotin or called with vitamin H together with chromium can improve the glucose metabolism in diabetic patients. But, there is no study says biotin alone will work. You can consider the following vitamins that can help deal with diabetes.

Vitamin B12 and B6 can help to treat diabetic nerve pain for those who have low levels of these two vitamins as they can contribute to nerve pain. But there is no study about these vitamins to deal with diabetes generally. Vitamin C can make up for the low blood levels of the insulin where it normally works to help the cells absorb vitamin. The right amount of Vitamin C can help your body to maintain the good level of cholesterol. It can keep the blood sugar levels in the right control too.

Vitamin E can be the next alternative since it can limit the damage of the blood vessels. It can protect against both eye and kidney disease too. But, it is advised not to take too much since it can lead to the serious problems like getting higher risk of stroke. Ask your doctor if you want to take this vitamin. Magnesium can also control the blood sugar levels. It is proven that those who have diabetes have serious problem with magnesium deficiency. It can improve the action of the insulin too.

• Mind or Body Medicine

It is said that yoga, hypnotherapy, meditation, biofeedback and guided imagery can reduce the stress hormones where in turn, it can help stabilize the blood sugar levels. Besides that, biofeedback can also help to lower the blood pressure. However, more research is needed here to know the role of biofeedback in treating diabetes as well as high blood pressure.

• Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies like capsaicin cream or a topical ointment that is made with cayenne is also reported to have role in lowering the pain in the feet and hands patients with diabetes. However, they need to use caution when they want to take capsaicin because they may have burning sensation. Ask your doctor before you take this cream. Besides that, evening primrose oil can also help to reduce the diabetic nerve pain. But, there is no study about this yet.

Other home remedies like hawthorn, ginseng, fenugreek seeds, holy basil leaves, garlic and ginkgo also have roles in reducing the diabetic symptoms. But, more research is needed here since there are no further studies about home remedies to deal with diabetes. Ask your doctors before you take home remedies to deal with your diabetes.

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