Diabetes: Types and its Complications

Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar that is glucose. Glucose is vital to the health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up the muscles and tissues.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes: It is usually caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defense system attacks the cells that produce insulin. The reason this occurs is not fully understood. People with type 1 diabetes produce very little or no insulin. The disease may affect people of any age, but usually develops in children or young adults. People with this form of diabetes need injections of insulin every day in order to control the levels of glucose in their blood. If people with type 1 diabetes do not have access to insulin, they will die.

Type 2 diabetes: It is used to be called non-insulin dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes, and accounts for at least 90% of all cases of diabetes. It is characterized by insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency, either or both of which may be present at the time diabetes is diagnosed. The diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can occur at any age. People with type 2 diabetes can often initially manage their condition through exercise and diet. However, over time most people will require oral drugs and or insulin.

Gestational diabetes (GDM): It is a form of diabetes consisting of high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It develops in one in 25 pregnancies worldwide and is associated with complications to both mother and baby. Gestational diabetes usually disappears after pregnancy but women with Gestational diabetes and their children are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Diabetes complications

Cardiovascular disease: It affects the heart and blood vessels and may cause fatal complications such as coronary artery disease and stroke. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in people with diabetes. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose and other risk factors contribute to increasing the risk of cardiovascular complications.

Kidney disease: It is also known is diabetic nephropathy. It caused by damage to small blood vessels in the kidneys leading to the kidneys becoming less efficient or to fail altogether. Kidney disease is much more common in people with diabetes than in those without diabetes. Maintaining near normal levels of blood glucose and blood pressure can greatly reduce the risk of kidney disease.

Nerve disease: It is also known as diabetic neuropathy. It causes damage to the nerves throughout the body when blood glucose and blood pressure are too high. This can lead to problems with digestion, erectile dysfunction, and many other functions. Among the most commonly affected areas are the extremities, in particular the feet. Nerve damage in these areas is called peripheral neuropathy, and can lead to pain, tingling, and loss of feeling

Eye disease: It is also known as diabetic retinopathy. In most people with diabetes will develop some form of eye disease causing reduced vision or blindness. Consistently high levels of blood glucose, together with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, are the main causes of retinopathy. It can be managed through regular eye checks and keeping glucose and lipid levels at or close to normal. 

Pregnancy complications: Women with any type of diabetes during pregnancy risk a number of complications if they do not carefully monitor and manage their condition. To prevent possible organ damage to the fetus, women with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes should achieve target glucose levels before conception.

Oral complications: People with diabetes have an increased risk of inflammation of the gums if blood glucose is not properly managed. Periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

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