After you eat or drink, your body breaks down the sugars in your blood and turns it into glucose. The glucose travels through your bloodstream and provides your body with energy. To accomplish this, your pancreas needs to produce a hormone called insulin. In a person with diabetes (diabetes mellitus), the pancreas either produces too little insulin or none at all, or the insulin can’t be used effectively. This allows blood glucose levels to rise while the rest of your cells are deprived of much needed energy. This can lead to a wide variety of problems affecting nearly every part of your body.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is an immune system disorder. In Type 1 diabetes, the patient’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, destroying the ability to manufacture insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin to live. Most people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed as children or young adults.
The main problem in Type 2 diabetes is the presence of what is called insulin resistance. In this sort of diabetes, the pancreas starts off robust in its production of insulin. However, cells that need energy don’t respond normally to the usual amounts of insulin. The pancreas has to produce much higher levels of the hormone in order to manage blood glucose levels. Over time, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas can burn themselves out due to this overproduction. At this point a person with Type 2 diabetes begins to require insulin medication. However, in earlier phases of this more common type of diabetes, the illness can be effectively managed with diet, exercise, and careful monitoring of blood sugars. Some people with Type 2 diabetes may require a variety of oral medications and eventually, as described above, some will eventually need insulin.
Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy. Most of the time, gestational diabetes can be controlled through diet and exercise, and it typically resolves after the baby is delivered.
Common symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, and sluggishness. Blood tests will reveal high sugar levels.
For the second part of this story please visit Healthline.
This post is from Healthline whose mission is to make the people of the world healthier through the power of information. They do this directly through Healthline.com and YourDoctor.com, and indirectly through their work with the world’s leading healthcare payors, providers, and publishers.