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Diabetes is a disease where the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. When the body doesn't make enough insulin or cannot use it effectively, blood glucose (blood sugar) levels rise above normal. High blood sugar levels may cause serious problems if they go untreated.
The two types of diabetes are Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Both types involve high blood sugar levels. However, Type 1 Diabetes occurs when the body stops producing insulin altogether. In contrast, Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body loses its ability to respond to insulin properly.
Symptoms of both types of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, weight loss, slow healing of cuts and wounds, and excessive hunger. Other symptoms may occur depending on the type of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a chronic disease in which the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels. T1D occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas that make insulin. As a result, the body cannot use glucose properly and develops high blood sugar levels.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes may include frequent urination, increased thirst, fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, slow-healing wounds, and skin infections. In addition, people who have type 1 diabetes may experience low blood pressure, heart problems, kidney damage, nerve damage, and poor circulation.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. However, research suggests that genetics play a role in the development of the disease. Other factors that increase risk include obesity, family history, certain viruses, and autoimmune disorders.
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes. Treatment focuses on controlling blood sugar levels and preventing complications. People with type 1 diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels closely and take steps to prevent long-term complications.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels over time. T2D occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps control glucose levels in the blood. When the body doesn't make enough insulin or can't use the insulin properly, glucose builds up in the blood and stays there longer than normal. Over time, this causes damage to many different organs and systems in the body.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include frequent urination, increased thirst, hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing wounds, and numbness or tingling in hands and feet. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to serious complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation, and death.
There are several factors that contribute to developing type 2 diabetes. These include genetics, diet, physical activity level, obesity, age, and ethnicity. Genetics play a role in whether someone develops type 2 diabetes or not. A person's risk increases if they have a close relative who already has the condition. Diet is also a factor in whether someone gets type 2 diabetes. Eating a lot of processed foods and sugary drinks, along with skipping meals, can increase a person's chances of getting type 2 diabetes. Physical activity is another contributing factor. Being physically active throughout the day can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Obesity is yet another factor. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Age also plays a role in whether someone gets type 1 or type 2 diabetes. As people get older, their bodies become less able to produce insulin. Ethnicity is another factor. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska Natives are more likely to develop diabetes than Caucasians.
In order to treat type 2 diabetes, doctors prescribe medications and lifestyle changes. Medications include oral drugs and injectable drugs. Oral drugs work by increasing the amount of insulin the body makes or decreasing how much sugar the body absorbs. Examples of oral drugs include metformin, glyburide, acarbose, exenatide, sitagliptin, rosiglitazone, pioglitazone, and liraglutide. Injectable drugs work by directly stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin. Examples of injectable drugs include insulin, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors. Lifestyle changes include eating healthier, exercising regularly, losing weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress.