Diabetes is a problem related to metabolism. It is a metabolic disorder, wherein, the blood sugar or glucose levels in the body are excessively high.
The foods that we eat are turned into glucose, which is what gives us the energy we require to live and carry out our daily activities. The body produces insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, to take the glucose into the cells.
Basically, there are three types of diabetes: Type 1; Type 2; and Gestational Diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not have the ability to make insulin. In Type 2 diabetes, the body cannot make or utilize insulin adequately. Without adequate amounts of insulin, the glucose remains in the blood. Having excessive glucose in the blood over a period of time can lead to diabetes and various associated problems. For example, it can impair the nerves, kidneys, and eyes. It can even cause gangrene, stroke, and heart disease. Pregnant women can be afflicted with gestational diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, which is the more common form of the disease, can cause symptoms like frequent urination, thirst, fatigue, and blurred vision. Sometimes, there may be no symptoms at all. Taking a blood test is a way of checking if one has diabetes or not. If diagnosed, devising a diet, weight control, and exercise are ways to control it. The blood glucose level should also be monitored regularly, and the prescribed medications should be taken as advised by the doctor.
It is not known fully yet exactly what causes diabetes. Medical science still does not understand why some people get affected by this metabolism disorder, while others remain unaffected. However, there are some factors that seem to be associated with the higher chances of getting the disease.
Type 1 Diabetes
It is thought that Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system of the body acts against the cells of the pancreas, thus hampering the production of insulin. A susceptibility of developing this type of diabetes may occur in families. Certain kinds of viral infections may also cause it.
Type 2 Diabetes
A strong genetic link is suspected in Type 2, which means that it has a tendency of running in families. Those who have a history of diabetes in their family background are 25% more susceptible to developing diabetes.
Modern eating habits comprise largely of consuming foods high in refined carbohydrates such as bread, biscuits, cakes, candies, and so on. This has given rise to the epidemic of diabetic cases in our times.
Compared to muscle cells, fat cells contain fewer receptors of insulin. Also, fat cells give off free fatty acids, which hamper the metabolism of glucose. This leads to hyperglycemia, or an abnormally high level of blood sugar, which ultimately results in diabetes.
The modern lifestyle that many people lead today involves less physical work and long hours of sitting during work. And even after work, our leisure activity has a general tendency of being sedentary. Research has revealed that there are higher chances of developing diabetes, the less active an individual is.
Another aspect of our modern life is the high amount of stress encountered in our jobs, or day-to-day activities. Metabolism is adversely affected by a chaotic and irregular lifestyle. Even emotional stress such as worry, anxiety, and grief may cause changes in the blood sugar levels, leading to the disease.
Smoking and age are also some of the other factors that can cause diabetes.