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What Is Diabetes ? | Health & Fitness Expert
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body doesn’t make or use the hormone insulin properly. It causes too much blood glucose (sugar) to build up in the blood. There are 2 main types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce any insulin. It’s sometimes called juvenile diabetes because it’s usually discovered in children and teenagers, but it may appear in adults, too.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or doesn’t use the insulin as it should. In the past, doctors thought only adults were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, an increasing number of children in the United States are now being diagnosed with the disease. Doctors think this increase is mostly because more children are overweight or obese and are less physically active.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than they should be, but not high enough to officially be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The good news is that, if you have prediabetes, you can prevent or delay the onset of full-blown type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes. These include eating a healthy diet, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly.
Symptoms of diabetes
Symptoms vary from person to person. The early stages of diabetes have very few symptoms. You may not know you have the disease. But damage may already be happening to your eyes, your kidneys, and your cardiovascular system. Common symptoms include:
Unexplained weight loss.
Fatigue or drowsiness.
Slow-healing wounds, sores, or bruises.
Dry, itchy skin.
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.
Frequent or recurring skin, gum, bladder, or vaginal yeast infections.
People who have type 2 diabetes also may show signs of insulin resistance. This includes darkening skin around the neck or in the armpits, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, yeast infections, and skipped or absent periods in teen girls and women.
If blood sugars are extremely high, people can develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This is a very dangerous complication of uncontrolled diabetes. People with DKA might have:
Nausea or vomiting more than once.
Deeper, faster breathing.
The smell of nail polish remover coming from your breath.
Weakness, drowsiness, trembling, confusion, or dizziness.
Uncoordinated muscle movement.
If diabetes is left untreated, your blood sugar levels become too high. When this happens, symptoms may include shortness of breath, pain in the abdomen, vomiting, dehydration, and even coma and death.
What causes diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. This is because the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make the insulin. Doctors aren’t sure why this happens. You have a greater risk of type 1 diabetes if one of your parents or one of your siblings has it.
When you eat, your body changes most of the food you digest into glucose (a form of sugar). A hormone called insulin allows this glucose to enter all the cells of your body. There it is used for energy. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. In someone who has type 2 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the body’s cells can’t use insulin properly (called insulin resistance). This causes glucose to build up in your blood instead of moving into the cells. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to serious health problems that damage the blood vessels, nerves, heart, eyes, and kidneys.
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