Diabetes is a life-altering diagnosis and needs to be managed effectively to ensure your health and wellbeing. In this guide, we run through everything you need to know about diabetes, its types, causes, symptoms and treatment options.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a long-lasting disease that impacts the way your body converts food molecules into energy. Most of the food you eat gets broken down into glucose (sugar), which then enters your bloodstream. Diabetes is a condition whereby the pancreas can’t make insulin (a hormone that lets glucose pass from the bloodstream to the cells, which go on to produce energy), or when the body doesn’t use the insulin it produces.
What are the types of diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes
This type of diabetes can develop at any age, though it tends to occur most often in children and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes
This type of diabetes is more common in overweight or inactive adults and is acquired due to diet or lifestyle factors.
This type of diabetes occurs when there is high blood glucose during pregnancy, and can cause issues for both the mother and child.
Causes of diabetes
When your body produces little to no insulin due to your immune system attacking these cells, then you’ll most likely be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. If your pancreas can’t regulate its levels of high blood sugar due to poor diet, then you may have type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:
- A dry mouth
- Unusual thirst
- Increased weight loss
- Recurrent urination/bedwetting
- Frequent feeling of hunger
- Vision is blurred
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- All the symptoms of type 1 diabetes above, plus:
- Wounds healing slowly
- Tingling in feet and hands
- Numbness in feet and hands
How to get tested for diabetes?
To find out if you have diabetes, you usually have to go to your general practitioner about your symptoms. They will carry out a urine test and a blood test to check your blood glucose levels. The results will return in a few days. Based on the results, your doctor will go through your next steps with you.
Treatment for diabetes
Type 1 diabetes
- Insulin: Every person diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will need regular insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
- Self-monitoring: This is a process of testing the blood glucose levels throughout the day at home, school or work.
- Carefully planned nutrition: A healthy diet is very important in diabetes management.
- Exercise: Regular physical activity will also help control blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes
- Healthy lifestyle: Treatment usually begins with increasing physical activity and setting a healthy, balanced diet low in sugar, fats and salt. Smoking and alcohol should be eliminated.
- Over time, a healthy lifestyle might not be sufficient to keep your blood glucose levels under control. So, treatment will be needed. Oral medications like metformin (minimise insulin resistance) and sulfonylureas (stimulate insulin production) may be prescribed and insulin injections may be required.
This diabetes usually subsides after pregnancy. But, both the mother and child impacted by gestational diabetes are at increased risk of having type 2 diabetes when they’re older.
At Wandal Medical Centre in Rockhampton, we offer a range of diabetes management services to help improve your day-to-day life. Don’t hesitate to contact us by giving us a call on (07) 4927 4411. Alternatively, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.