Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases and leading cause of death in the US. An estimated 1.7 million adult Americans (aged 20 years or older) are diagnosed with diabetes each year. Individuals with diabetes are at increased risk for serious health problems including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations, and kidney disease.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much blood sugar (glucose) in the body. It can either due to the body’s pancreas was unable to produce enough insulin to control blood sugar or the body’s cells don’t respond to insulin properly. Instead of being turned into energy, the glucose stays in the blood resulting in high blood sugar levels. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause damage to many parts of the body and even lead to death.
What Causes Diabetes?
The causes of diabetes vary depending on the type. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, and Gestational diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
In this type of diabetes, the pancreas produces very little or completely stop producing insulin, a hormone that enables cells to absorb sugar and convert it into energy. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own cells in the pancreas and this condition is known as an autoimmune reaction.
About 10 percent of all patients affected by diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children and young adults below 40 years.
The causes of type 1 diabetes are remain unknown, though genetic and environmental triggers play a role. Currently, there is no way to cure or prevent type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 Diabetes
In this type of diabetes, pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body cells do not react to insulin (insulin resistance). This result in sufficient levels of insulin to control sugar levels in the body, which lead to high blood sugar levels.
About 90 percent of all the patients affected by diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is commonly occurs in middle-aged and older adults.
The causes of type 2 diabetes include physical inactive, aging, and overweight. Type 2 diabetes do not need to depend on insulin treatment, but with proper diet, exercise and oral medications, you may be able to keep your blood glucose at a safe level and achieve a healthy lifestyle.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. This happens because pregnant women can not produce enough insulin. Unlike type 1 and type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is only temporary and usually goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Therefore, they should be tested for diabetes each year.