When blood sugar levels rise due to a failure to respond to this hormone, it is known as type 2 diabetes. It is a more common type of diabetes that affects mostly adults and is caused primarily by lifestyle factors. Factors such as an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and obesity are the main contributing factors to type 2 diabetes. In fact, type 2 diabetes is one of the most common “lifestyle diseases” that afflict people in developed countries. It can also increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Some of the common symptoms of diabetes are excessive hunger, frequent urination, and increased thirst. While type 1 diabetes is extremely difficult to manage, type 2 can be controlled by making simple changes to your daily routine.
Types of diabetes
Diabetes affects millions across the world, and India is known as the Diabetes Capital of the World. Diabetes can be classified into 3 types:
Type 1 diabetes: also known as juvenile diabetes, it is caused by a lack of insulin in the body. This is a genetic disorder.
Type 2 diabetes: It is a more common type of diabetes, mainly caused by lifestyle factors such as unhealthy eating, sedentary lifestyle, stress, etc.
Gestational diabetes: During pregnancy, there is an increase in blood sugar levels in a pregnant woman, which leads to diabetes.
Causes of diabetes
Our digestive system divides the food we eat into glucose, and this glucose is absorbed by the blood with the help of a hormone called insulin produced by beta cells in the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce this hormone or when it is unable to use it effectively. Here are some of the reasons why this might happen.
1. The autoimmune beta cells are sometimes destroyed:
Our immune system may recognize insulin-producing beta cells as antigens, and create antibodies to destroy them. Often times, diabetes is diagnosed after most cells are destroyed. In this case, the patient then needs a daily dose of insulin to survive.
2. Lack of physical activity:
Lack of exercise and obesity can be two of the main causes of type 2 diabetes, and some studies suggest that doing physical activity for just 30 minutes reduces your chances of developing diabetes by 30 percent.
3. Some medicines:
Some medications like nicotinic acid, psychotropic medications, diuretics, etc. can destroy the beta cells that produce insulin or disrupt its absorption.
4. Pancreatic disease or injury:
Since beta cells are found in the pancreas – any injury or disease, such as cancer, pancreatitis, etc. can stop the beta cells from working and ultimately lead to diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes
In diabetes, the body is unable to absorb glucose, which leads to a host of problems. Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate diabetes:
Excessive hunger: Diabetes blocks the entry of glucose into your cells from the bloodstream, making you hungry and tired as well. This is caused by insufficient insulin production or ineffective use of this hormone.
Frequent urination: When your blood sugar levels are high, your body produces more urine, and this makes you urinate more. Another result: you feel thirsty.
Dehydration: Excessive urine production depletes body moisture. This is why you feel dehydrated.
Slow wound healing: Poor blood circulation caused by high sugar levels can lead to nerve damage, which in turn makes it harder for your body to repair any kind of damage.
Unexplained weight loss: This is usually a symptom of type 1 diabetes. Insulin deficiency does not allow food to be broken down into glucose. So your body cannot rely on foods for energy. Instead, it uses fat and muscle for energy. This is how you end up losing weight without even trying.