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Diabetes is a group of several metabolic diseases in which sufferers experience high blood sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. The different types of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational. Diabetes is a treatable disease however if left untreated can result in serious long term complications. It is estimated that more than 400 million people around the world have a form of diabetes, with type 2 making up approximately ninety percent of cases.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults. This type of diabetes affects only five percent of people that are diagnosed with diabetes. In type 1, the body cannot produce insulin. The body breaks down starch and sugar that you eat into glucose, which is used for energy. Insulin is the hormone needed for the body to be able to get glucose into the bloodstream from the cells where it is produced. Type 1 diabetes is normally managed with the help of insulin therapy and as long as the condition is managed properly, sufferers can live long, healthy lives.
Many women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, usually around the sixth month. People that develop gestational diabetes do not necessarily have diabetes before or after their pregnancy. It is however important to follow the advice of your doctor regarding blood glucose levels so you have a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease and occurs because the body is unable to use insulin in the correct way. This is referred to as insulin resistance. At first, the pancreas will make extra insulin to make up for the resistance but over time, it is unable to keep up and make enough extra insulin to keep blood glucose at the correct levels. More than ninety percent of people diagnosed with diabetes suffer from type 2.
There are some common symptoms associated with diabetes however some people with type 2 diabetes have such mild symptoms that they may go unnoticed. Typical symptoms of diabetes include extreme thirst, and fatigue, and urinating often. Other symptoms can include blurred vision, feeling hungry even when eating, weight loss, and scrapes or bruises that are slow to heal. When diabetes is detected early, and treatment is started, it can greatly decrease the risks of diabetes related complications.
There are various ways in which doctors can diagnose diabetes. Each method normally needs to be repeated a second time to diagnose the disease. One method of diagnosing diabetes is with the A1C test which measures your average blood glucose levels for the past few months. A diagnosis of diabetes is given when the A1C test is greater than or equal to 6.5%. Another test used to diagnose diabetes is the Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG). The FPG test checks your blood glucose levels while fasting. In order for an FPG test to be correct, a person must not consume anything but water for at least eight hours prior to the test. An Oral Glucose Tolerance Test can also be used to diagnose diabetes. The OGTT is a test that takes two hours and checks blood glucose levels before and after the patient drinks a very sweet drink. The OGTT is able to tell the doctor how your body processes glucose. People with severe diabetes symptoms may be given a Random Plasma Glucose Test. This test consists of a blood check that can be done at any time of the day.
You can also be diagnosed with prediabetes which is what people have before they develop type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes means that your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not quite high enough for you to be diagnosed as diabetic.
Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes it is important to follow the recommendations of your doctor to maintain health. Depending on the type and severity of your diabetes there are different treatment options including different types of medication. People with type 1 diabetes will need to use insulin while those with type 2 may be able to control the disease through healthy eating, exercise, and the use of oral medications.
Diabetes is a common disease with many sufferers around the world. With some simple lifestyle changes and the guidance of a qualified doctor, people with diabetes can learn to manage their symptoms and live a long, healthy life.
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