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Diabetes

Diabetes happens when glucose or blood sugar is extremely higher than usual. Glucose is essential, for it is the source of energy and the brain’s propellant. 

The causes may vary depending on the type of diabetes. However, what kind of diabetes you have, it leads to the overproduction of glucose in the body. Having extremely high glucose can result in other medical conditions. Usually, the pancreas produces insulin, which transforms sugar into energy.  It stores fat in cells, liver, and muscles to later on use when the body needs it. This condition is a life-long disease. 

Diabetes has two types.

Type I diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes; it happens when the body fails to produce insulin. This type of diabetes depends on insulin, which means patients have to use artificial insulin daily to control blood sugar levels in the body. 

Type 2 diabetes: This type is when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to work properly. This means that sugar is stocked in the body, and it is not used as energy. 

Gestational diabetes: This type happens during pregnancy; it may not affect all pregnant women and can be resolved after birth. 

Symptoms

Here are signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

  • Excessive hunger and thirst
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision 
  • Nausea
  • Skin infection
  • Sweet, acetone and fruity mouth odor
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Numbness in the feet and hands

If symptoms are observed, you must go and see your doctor for further tests and treatment. 

Diagnosis

Diabetes is usually detected by checking blood sugar with the use of tests. The tests may include:

  • A1C Test. A1C test or glycated hemoglobin test measures the amount of blood sugar that is being attached to hemoglobin. 

Since the A1C test isn’t consistent, some conditions can make the test inaccurate. Some physicians may require other tests to determine the blood sugar in the body. These may include:

  • Fasting blood sugar test. Before taking the blood sample, the patient must have overnight fasting. An average fasting blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL. If the blood sugar level is from 100 to 125 mg/dL, it may be considered as prediabetes, but if the result shows that the blood sugar level is 126 mg/dL or higher than that, you have diabetes. 
  • Random blood sugar test. Doctors may take a blood sample at any point of the day without experiencing fasting. If the result shows that the blood sugar level is 200 mg/dL or higher, it means it is a sign of having diabetes.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test. The blood sugar level is measured after having overnight fasting, then after that, the patient will drink a liquid sugar solution, and the sugar level will be tested from time to time. 

Gestational diabetes may be diagnosed according to the following tests:

  • Initial glucose challenge test. The test procedure is done by drinking a glucose solution, and after an hour, the blood sugar will be tested. 
  • Follow-up glucose tolerance testing. This test will require you to fast overnight, and blood samples will be taken. After that, you will drink another glucose solution, and the blood sugar levels will be observed every hour for three hours.

Treatment

Diabetes treatment may vary depending on what type of diabetes you have.

For type 1 and type 2 diabetes:

  • Frequent monitoring of the blood sugar levels
  • Insulin
  • Oral medications
  • Transplantation
  • Bariatric surgery

 For gestational diabetes:

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Frequent exercise
  • Healthy weight
  • Medications

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