Diabetes – causes, side effects and treatments at NaturalPedia.com

Saturday, March 03, 2018 by

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when a person’s blood glucose (or blood sugar), is too high.

Blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy and it comes from the food you consume. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, allows the glucose from food to reach human cells so it can be used for energy.

However, sometimes the body is unable to produce enough, or it can’t produce any, insulin. It might even have trouble using insulin properly. This means glucose stays in the blood and doesn’t reach the cells. When there is too much glucose in the blood, this can cause health problems.

There are three common types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes – With Type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to produce insulin. The immune system also attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Children and young adults often develop Type 1 diabetes, but it can also appear in older individuals. Patients with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to stay alive.
  2. Type 2 diabetes – With Type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce or use insulin well. This type of diabetes can be developed at any age. While Type 2 diabetes can occur during childhood, it is more common in middle-aged and older individuals. It’s also the most common type of diabetes.
  3. Gestational diabetes – Some pregnant women may develop gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes usually goes away after the patient gives birth. But women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. In some cases, diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.

Less common types of the disease include monogenic diabetes (an inherited form of diabetes) and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.

According to data gathered in 2015, a whopping 30.3 million people in the U.S. (or 9.4 percent of the population), had diabetes. At least one in four were unaware that they had the disease.

Diabetes affects one in four individuals older than 65. At least 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases in adults is Type 2 diabetes.

Known side effects of diabetes

Some symptoms of diabetes only affect male patients, and these include:

  • Decreased sex drive (decreased libido) and sexual dysfunction
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED/ impotence)
  • Low testosterone (low-T)
  • Retrograde ejaculation

Other side effects of the disease that affect both men and women include:

  • Acanthosis nigricans (the darkening of the skin in areas of the body with creases)
  • Blurred vision
  • Breath that smells fruity, sweet, or has an acetone odor
  • Excessive thirst and hunger
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination (due to urinary tract infections or kidney problems)
  • Low testosterone (low-T)
  • Nausea
  • Skin infections
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Wounds that heal slowly

Risk factors for developing diabetes for both men and women may include:

  • Ethnicity – There is an increased risk for diabetes among Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans
  • Family history (e.g. having a first degree relative with diabetes)
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Fat distribution (more fat around the middle)
  • Gender – Men are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than women.
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Lack of sleep
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle (when a person is not physically active)
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy diet (e.g. one with a high-calorie content containing sugars and without beneficial compounds to improve one’s health)

Body systems harmed by diabetes

Long-term complications that may be caused by diabetes include:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage and neuropathy/nerve pain
    Retinopathy/nerve damage in the eye and/or blindness
  • Skin infections
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Yeast infections

Food items or nutrients that may prevent diabetes

Foods and nutrients that can help prevent diabetes include:

  • 100 percent whole wheat bread – Rich in complex carbs, whole wheat bread also contains fiber (which can help manage blood sugar), minerals, and vitamins.
  • Beans – Beans contain plant protein and soluble fiber, and both can help you feel full and manage your blood sugar levels.
  • Lentils – Lentils are rich in resistant starch, a type of carb that minimally impacts blood sugar levels since it passes through the body undigested. Resistant starch feeds the healthy bacteria at the bottom of the digestive tract. Lentils help control blood sugar levels and it improves gut health.
  • Quinoa – Full of fiber and protein, quinoa can help you feel fuller. It can also give you better blood sugar control.
  • Wild salmon – Salmon is a good source of protein, and it won’t increase blood sugar levels. It can also help minimize the risk of heart disease and stroke, a major concern for patients with diabetes. Salmon has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce triglyceride levels, a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

Treatments, management plans for diabetes

Treatment often depends on the type of diabetes, the patient’s other active medical problems, existing complications due to the condition, and the age and condition of the patient when diagnosed.

  • A healthcare professional will first set goals for lifestyle changes, blood sugar control, and treatment.
  • Both the patient and the healthcare professional will devise a plan to help meet these goals.

Treatment of Type 1 diabetes includes multiple daily injections of insulin, such as a combination of short-acting insulin (e.g. lispro [Humalog] or aspart [NovoLog]) and a long-acting insulin (e.g. NPH, Lente, glargine [Lantus], detemir [Levemir]).

When a patient has Type 2 diabetes, they may have a chance to lower blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes. However, this will depend on how elevated the patient’s blood sugar was during diagnosis. This may include weight loss (especially for obese diabetics), following a healthy diet, and different medications to help control blood sugar levels.

Where to learn more

Summary

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when a person’s blood glucose (or blood sugar), is too high.

The three common types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

Side effects of the disease that affect both men and women include acanthosis nigricans (the darkening of the skin in areas of the body with creases), blurred vision, excessive thirst and hunger, and irritability.

Long-term complications that may be caused by diabetes include heart disease, high blood pressure, and kidney disease.

Foods and nutrients that can help prevent diabetes include 100 percent whole wheat bread, beans, lentils, quinoa, and wild salmon.

Treatment of diabetes often depends on the type of diabetes, the patient’s other active medical problems, the patient’s existing complications due to diabetes, and the age and condition of the patient when diagnosed.

Sources include

NIDDK.NIH.gov

MedicineNet.com

EatThis.com

EMedicineHealth.com



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