Diabetes has been a plague on mankind dating as far back as the 15th century as first recognized in 1425 (Ahmed, 2002). It causes a significant amount of debilitating effects and became a huge concern when statistics of the affected accelerated from 108 million in 1980 to 422million in 2014. Diabetes is a chronic disease that is resultant of a body’s defect toward the production and utilization of insulin. It is important to note that it is a lifelong commitment and WHO statistics have ranked it under top ten of leading causes of death in the world. This paper is designated toward the delivery of a brief exposition on the topic of diabetes. It will elaborate on the diseases and the various types. It will then highlight risk factors to look out for and provide a section on the management of the disease.
Diabetes is often also referred to as diabetes mellitus. The latter annexation to the title was coined in 1675 as a result of the sweet taste in urine. The defining characteristic of diabetes is the metabolic disorders resulting in high blood sugar (Dunger & Ahmed, 2007). These elevated levels of sugar in the blood are a condition referred to as hyperglycaemia and is attributed to either minimal production of insulin or improper utilization of the same. Common symptoms of diabetes include such as increased urination, amplified thirst and appetite, fatigue and so on. The implications of diabetes include: cardiovascular complications, nerve damage, kidney damage, epidermal conditions, psychological effects, death and so on. It is, however, imperative to look into the different types of diabetes in order to acknowledge the idiosyncratic effects of each.
There are three common forms to study: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes (Mellitus, 1999). Type I diabetes mellitus is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin. This malfunction in the pancreas, the insulin-producing organ in the human anatomy, is a consequence of beta cell diminishment. This decrease in the beta cells is as a result of a compromise of the immune system of an individual. This type of diabetes has been surmised to carry with it a genetic concern given the fact that the autoimmune response leading to loss of beta cells is rather unknown. The general symptoms include increased thirst, increased appetites, frequent urination, lack of satiation, blurred vision, unexplainable fatigue, extremely slowed healing process to cuts and such injuries, weight loss despite increased food intake and so on.
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Type II diabetes mellitus, on the other hand, leans more to use as opposed to availability of insulin. As opposed to the no insulin production in type 1, type 2 occurs due to insufficient amounts of insulin. It also occurs when the body fails to properly use insulin. It suffices to conclude that type II is the commonest form of diabetes in the world. Type II diabetes has been placed under the realm of lifestyle diseases, nevertheless, it also has a genetic contributory factor in store. The symptoms are similar to those of type 1 save for certain unique ones such as tingling pain or numbness in the feet or hands as well as the fact that some cases often bear no symptoms.
Gestational diabetes as inferred from the name is a resulting diabetic condition in pregnant women who prior to pregnancy were not diagnosed so. This type is exclusive to the precondition of pregnancy and manifests as high blood sugar degrees in said female. Gestational diabetes has a highly recurring trait and is also seen to move to progressive types such as type 2 in such mothers. The high sugar level is often the only symptom of gestational diabetes.
There are many risk factors to be identified in relation to diabetes. Risk factors are determinant elements as to the probability ratio of an individual contracting a particular disease or infection. Genetic or family history is one of the main risk factors across all types of diabetes. The chances of developing diabetes increases with the presence of a diabetic member of one’s family. Furthermore, personal history such as occurrence of gestational diabetes forms a risk factor for other types. Age is also factor, particularly for type 2 and gestational, given the alteration of lifestyle and physiological functionality with the onset of time. Specific to type 1, risk factors also include: geography, presence of certain autoantibodies and environmental considerations. Weight is a common factor between type 2 and gestational as well as race. Specific to type 2 include: high blood pressure, levels of inactivity, polycystic ovary syndrome, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
There is no cure for diabetes; however, prevention applies to all except for type 1. Nevertheless, they can all be managed by certain measures. This is done through the effective monitoring and controlling of the symptoms of diabetes. A number of lifestyle choices that can be made to manage this is the adoption of a more healthy diet as modified for a diabetic patient, an increase in the amount of physical activities undertaken, application of external insulin and so on. Moreover, management of diabetes involves the prevention of aggravation of risk factors.
Ahmed, A. M. (2002). History of diabetes mellitus. Saudi Medical Journal. https://doi.org/10.4093/kcd.2009.10.3.176
Dunger, D. B., & Ahmed, M. L. (2007). Diabetes. In Growth Disorders, Second Edition. https://doi.org/10.7748/ns.31.19.64.s46
Mellitus, D. (1999). Definition , Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus and its Complications Part 1 : Diagnosis and Classification of. World Health. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1096-9136(199807)15:7<539::AID-DIA668>3.0.CO;2-S