Diabetes is a medical condition that involves problems with insulin, explained American health news source WebMD. The pancreas releases insulin to help your body store and use the sugar and fat from the food you consume. Diabetes occurs when your pancreas fails to produce any insulin or produces very little of this hormone. It can also happen when your body does not respond appropriately to insulin—which is a condition called insulin resistance.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease and diabetic people should manage it to stay healthy. Different types of diabetes can occur and managing it depends on the type, stated Rachel Nall of Medical News Today, a web-based outlet targeted to both physicians and the general public. Not all kinds of diabetes result from an individual being overweight or having a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, some forms of this condition are present from childhood.
The 8th edition of the IDF (International Diabetes Federation) Diabetes Atlas 2017 said diabetes is on the rise all over the globe, with someone dying from diabetes or its complications for every seven seconds, cited ESC (European Society of Cardiology), a non-profit knowledge-based professional association. The IDF found that 50% of these deaths (4 million in total every year) occurring below 60-years-old.
This figure is against the background of a global diabetes prevalence of 8.8% of the world’s population in 2017 for individuals between 20 to 79 years old. The global diabetes prevalence is projected to increase to 9.9% by 2045, reflecting a population of 424.9 million worldwide in 2017 with an increase of about 48% increase to 628.6 million in 2045. Global diabetes prevalence rose from 151 million in 2000 to 285 million in 2009 and to 382 million in 2013.
In another study done by B Zhou and colleagues published in PubMed.gov, a full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences literature, they found that the global age-standardized diabetes prevalence rose from 4.3% in 1980 to 9.0% in 2014 in men and from 5.0% to 7.9% in women. The researchers also estimated that the number of adults with diabetes in the world increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, with 28.5% due to the rise in prevalence, 39.7% due to population growth and aging, and 31.8% due to the attribution of the aforementioned factors.
Depending on the age groups, global diabetes prevalence is about 5% for those within the age group 35-39 years, 10% for 45-49 years, 15% for 55-59 years, and nearly 20% for 65-69 years, the IDF said. These percentages are largely determined by people with type 2 diabetes, who represented about 90% of the total population.
In 2018, 34.2 million Americans (10.5%) had diabetes and approximately 1.4 million US children and adults have type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, a non-profit that aims to educate the public about diabetes. 26.8 million of the 34.2 million adults with diabetes were diagnosed and 7.3 million were undiagnosed. 26.8% or 14.3 million Americans age 65 and older were diagnosed and undiagnosed of diabetes. Every year, 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
1. Type I Diabetes
This is also known as juvenile diabetes in which your body is unable to produce insulin. Those with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent, meaning they have to take artificial insulin each day to stay alive. It is an autoimmune condition, which occurs when your body attacks your pancreas with antibodies, said WebMD.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
It affects the way your body uses insulin. Unlike the former, the cells in your body do not respond to insulin as effectively as they used to. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is strongly linked with obesity, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, cited Nall.
3. Gestational Diabetes
This occurs in women during pregnancy when their body becomes less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not happen to all women and is usually resolved after giving birth.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
1. Hunger and Fatigue
Your body converts the food you consume into glucose, which will be used by your cells for energy. Your cells need insulin to make glucose and if your body can't produce enough or any insulin--or when the cells resist the insulin your body created--the glucose will not get to the cells. This will make you hungrier and more tired.
2. Frequent Peeing and Being Thirstier
On average, people pee between four and seven times in 24 hours. But if you have diabetes, you may need to go more often. This is because your body reabsorbs glucose as it goes through your kidneys. However, your kidneys may not bring all that glucose back in when diabetes spikes up your blood sugar levels, causing your body to make more urine and making you thirstier than normal.
3. Dry Mouth and Itchy Skin
Your mouth may feel dry because your body uses fluid to make pee. Another early warning sign of diabetes is dry skin, which can make you itch.
4. Blurred Skin
The lenses in your eyes swell up, change shape, and be unable to focus due to the changing fluid levels in your body.
Symptoms of Diabetes
1. Type I Diabetes
You might notice unplanned weight loss even if you have not changed how you eat. This is because your body will burn fat and muscle for energy if it can't get energy from food. Another symptom of type I diabetes is nausea and vomiting due to the ketones your body makes when it burns fat.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Some symptoms include slow-healing cuts/sores, frequent yeast infections, recent weight gain, decreased vision, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, and more.
3. Gestational Diabetes
High blood sugar pregnancy usually has no symptoms, but you might feel thirstier or pee more often.
Balance your food intake with medication and activity to help maintain your blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible, recommended Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center. You should also maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels to normal ranges as much as possible. Your blood pressure should not exceed 140/90.
You can monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure levels at home. Opt to have a balanced and healthy meal plan and regular exercise. If you’re taking medication, follow the guidelines carefully on how and when to take it.
It is best to consult your doctor if diabetes runs in your family or if you are experiencing the aforementioned symptoms. This way, your doctor can suggest action plans to help manage diabetes and prevent diabetes-related health problems from arising. Most importantly, it is highly recommended to follow a healthy lifestyle and take your medication as needed to manage this condition.