Diabetes, commonly referred to as “diabetic disease,” is a chronic medical condition that affects how your body processes glucose (sugar), the primary source of energy for your cells. The hormone insulin plays a crucial role in regulating glucose levels in the blood. In people with diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (Type 2 diabetes).
There are several types of diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes: This form of diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. As a result, individuals with Type 1 diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy to manage their blood sugar levels.
- Type 2 Diabetes: In this type, the body does not effectively use insulin, leading to insulin resistance. Initially, the pancreas may produce more insulin to compensate, but over time, it may not be able to keep up with the demand. Type 2 diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes, medications, and sometimes insulin therapy.
- Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy when hormonal changes can lead to insulin resistance. It usually resolves after childbirth, but it increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Other Forms: There are also other less common forms of diabetes, such as monogenic diabetes and secondary diabetes, which are caused by specific genetic or medical conditions.
Common symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow wound healing. However, some people may have diabetes without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to various complications, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), eye problems (retinopathy), and an increased risk of infections.
The management of diabetes involves maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through a combination of diet, regular physical activity, medications (such as insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs), and monitoring blood glucose levels regularly.