Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the level of blood sugar or blood glucose in your body becomes too high. Blood sugar is the primary source of energy in human body and it comes from the food you eat. The glucose from food gets into cells and provides energy to the body. All of this happens with the help of insulin – a hormone made by pancreas. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, blood sugar then stays in your blood and doesn’t get to your cells. Over time, the amount of glucose in your blood increases and starts damaging your health. Although complete recovery is not possible, you can take medications using prescription reminder app and make lifestyle improvements to keep your diabetes under control.
What Are the Most Common Types of Diabetes?
Diabetes can occur in different forms, but the following three are the most common ones:
Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, your body stops making insulin because the cells that make this chemical are destroyed by your immune system. While anyone can become infected with type 1 diabetes, children and young adults are the ones mostly affected by it. Patients of this condition must take insulin daily to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes
This one is the most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or becomes resistant to it. This type of diabetes can appear at any age, even during childhood. However, it affects mostly middle-aged and older people.
Gestational diabetes occurs mostly in women during pregnancy. In most cases, it goes away after the birth of the baby. Women who experience this diabetes are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Monogenic diabetes is less common and results from mutations in a single gene. Unlike other types of diabetes, monogenic diabetes is inherited. It can appear in several forms and typically affects young people. In this type, the body produces less insulin or becomes resistant to it due to which the problem becomes severe.
What Are the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes?
These are the common warning signs and symptoms that people with diabetes may experience:
- Excessive thirst and hunger
- Weight loss or gain
- Low testosterone (men)
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Retrograde ejaculation (men)
- Slow-healing wounds
- Decreased sex drive (men)
- Skin infections
- Sweet, fruity, or acetone like breath odor
- Erectile dysfunction (men)
This is not the complete list and many other side effects may occur. If you notice any unusual changes in your health while taking medications using medication app reminder, discuss with your doctor to stay healthy.
What Are the Risk Factors for Diabetes?
The common risk factors for diabetes include:
Being overweight increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. However, it’s not the only reason that results in diabetes. Many smart and seemingly fit people can develop it too.
Low Physical Activity
The less physically active you are, the more your risk of type 2 diabetes. Increased physical activity, on the other hand, helps you maintain weight, uses up blood sugar as energy and causes your body to be more absorbent to insulin. Make exercise a part of your daily routine to be more physically active.
The fat distribution of a person may also determine the risk of diabetes. Those who store their fats mainly in the abdomen have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than those who store it elsewhere, such as hips and thighs.
Individuals with a family history of diabetes are at a higher risk of developing this disease. If any of your siblings or parents have diabetes, regularly monitor your health to ensure safety from this disease.
Age matters a lot when it comes to determining your risk of diabetes. While type 1 diabetes affects mostly children and young adults, type 2 often appears in people whose age is 45 or above. That’s probably because older people tend to be less physically active which causes them to lose muscle mass and gain weight. However, don’t be fooled by the fact that only older adults are affected by this condition. The ratio of children and teens affected by type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common condition in women. Its symptoms include irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity which often leads to the development of diabetes.
In prediabetes, your blood sugar level is high but not high enough as in type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If not treated properly, prediabetes can often develop into type 2 diabetes.
If you experienced gestational diabetes during pregnancy, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
Darkened skin in armpits, neck, or other areas of the body is an indication of insulin resistance. Contact your doctor and get tested to ensure you don’t have diabetes or any other serious health issue.
How Does Diabetes Affect Men Differently Than Women?
Low testosterone is one of the main causes of type 2 diabetes in men. Men with low testosterone (low-T) are twice as likely to develop this condition than men who do not have this deficiency. Because of low-T, men with diabetes can experience symptoms that do not appear in women with diabetes.
Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, inability to maintain erection, depression, reduced muscle mass and lack of energy are the most common symptoms experienced by men with type 2 diabetes.
What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Diabetes?
Long term side effects or complications of diabetes include:
- High blood pressure
- Nerve damage and neuropathy
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Retinopathy (nerve damage in the eye)
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Skin infections
- Yeast infections
How Can You Prevent Diabetes?
A healthy diet and increased physical activity are the best ways to prevent diabetes. This is even true for those who have diabetes in their family. If you are already diagnosed with diabetes, there are several steps you can take to avoid further complications.
Here are some lifestyle changes that will slow or stop the development of this condition:
Eating Healthy Food
Eat foods that contain low fat or calories and high amounts of fiber. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are some of the most recommended foods for patients of diabetes.
Engaging in Physical Activity
Exercise daily and do moderate physical activity such as morning walks or riding a bike for at least 30 to 60 a day. If you can’t do all of this at once, spread it throughout the day.
As mentioned earlier, extra weight or obesity can contribute to the development of diabetes. So, if you’re overweight, lose at least 5 to 10 percent of your weight to reduce the risk of diabetes. This can be done by improving your eating and exercise habits. Remember that losing weight not only reduces the risk of diabetes but also keeps your heart healthy and improves your self-esteem.
Sometimes medication can be a great option as well. Taking medication using free medication reminder app may significantly reduce the risk of diabetes. But even with medication, healthy lifestyle choices shouldn’t be neglected because, with an unhealthy lifestyle, the medications will be of less to no effect.