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Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food that you eat. Diabetes occurs in one of the following circumstances:

  • The pancreas produces little to no insulin. Produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, insulin is a naturally occurring hormone which helps the body use sugar for energy.
  •  The pancreas produces insulin, but the insulin produced doesn’t work as it should. This condition is known as insulin resistance.

To better understand diabetes, it helps to know more about how your body utilizes food for energy.

Your body is composed of millions of cells. To make energy, the cells require food in a very simple form. When you drink or eat, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar known as glucose. Glucose provides the energy that your body needs to perform day-to-day activities.

The blood and blood vessels are the highways that transport sugar from where it’s either taken in or manufactured to the cells where it is used or where it is stored. Glucose cannot go into the cells by itself. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood, which serves as the ‘key’ that allows glucose to enter the cells to be used as energy.

When glucose leaves the bloodstream and enters the cells, the blood glucose level is lowered. Without insulin, glucose cannot get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. This causes blood glucose levels to rise. Too much sugar in the blood is known as hyperglycemia.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
    Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but it occurs most frequently in children and adolescents. When you have type 1 diabetes, your body produces very little or no insulin. This means that you need daily insulin injections to keep your blood glucose levels under control.
  • Type 2 Diabetes
    Type 2 diabetes is more common among adults and accounts for about 90% of all diabetes cases. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make good use of the insulin that it makes. Treatment for type 2 diabetes includes regular exercise, a healthy diet, and lifestyle medications. However, over time, most people with type 2 diabetes may require oral medications and/or insulin injections to keep their blood glucose levels under control.
  • Gestational Diabetes
    Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes characterized by high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It usually disappears after pregnancy, but women affected and their baby are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Type 1 Diabetes Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Management

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body’s defense system attacks the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the body produces little to no insulin. Type 1 diabetes can affect people at any age, but it commonly develops in children and adolescents.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, but is linked to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being researched. However, having a family member with type 1 diabetes may increase your risk of developing this disease.

Exposure to some viral infections and environmental factors have also been associated to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Constant hunger
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Bedwetting (in children who previously didn’t wet the bed during the night)

Management

People with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels. They also require regular blood glucose monitoring and a healthy lifestyle to manage their condition effectively. If people with type 1 diabetes don’t have access to insulin, they can die.

  • Insulin
    All people with type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels. There are different types of insulin depending on when they peak, how long they last, and how quickly they work.
    • Short-Acting Insulin. Also known as regular or neutral insulin, short-acting insulin is usually taken before meals. They don’t act as quickly as rapid-acting insulin and may be more appropriate in certain people. Short-acting insulin brands include Aspart, Lispro, and Glulisine.
    • Rapid-Acting Insulin. This is usually taken just before or with a meal. It acts very quickly to limit the rise of blood glucose levels, which follows eating. It is crucial to avoid over dosage to minimize the risk of low blood sugar. Rapid-acting insulin brands include Humalog®, Apidra®, and NovoRapid®.
    • Intermediate-Acting Insulin. This is often taken together with a short-acting insulin. Intermediate-acting insulin starts to take effect within the first hour of injection, followed by a period of peak activity lasting up to 7 hours. Intermediate-acting insulin brands include Insulatard, Protaphane, and Humulin NPH.
    • Long-Acting Insulin. This is usually taken in the morning or in the evening, before going to bed. Long-acting insulin is steadily released and can last in the body for up to 24 hours. Long-acting insulin brands include Glargine, Levemir, and Detemir.
  • Healthy Nutrition and Exercise
    Eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are important to proper diabetes management. A healthy diet for people with diabetes includes replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, eating dietary fiber, and avoiding added sugars and excessive alcohol consumption.

    Regular exercise is also crucial to keep blood glucose levels under control. It is most effect when it includes a combination of aerobic exercise (e.g. swimming, jogging) and resistance training.
  • Self-Management
    People with diabetes who need insulin have to check their blood glucose levels regularly to inform insulin dosage. Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels helps people with diabetes and their healthcare providers understand how their blood glucose levels vary during the day so that their treatment can be adjusted if necessary.

    People with type 1 diabetes are advised to measure their blood glucose level at least four time a day.
  • Health Supplements
    In addition to prescription medications, people with diabetes may also consider health supplements like Diavit Herbs. Diavit is a diabetic-friendly, blood sugar control supplement. Some of the benefits of Diavit Herbs include: boosts immune systems; helps decrease blood sugar levels; helps balance blood sugar; helps prevent other diabetes-related complications; aids in weight loss; and it supports overall brain health.

Type 2 Diabetes Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms, and Management

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It accounts for about 90% of all diabetes cases.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance, where the body doesn’t fully respond to insulin. Because insulin doesn’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising, releasing more insulin. For some people with type 2 diabetes, this can exhaust the pancreas in the long run, resulting in the body producing less and less insulin, causing even higher blood glucose levels.

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in adults, but is increasingly seen in children, adolescents, and younger adults due to rising levels of physical inactivity, obesity, and poor diet.

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Causes and Risk Factors

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including genes and lifestyle factors.

  • Genes and Family History
    As in type 1 diabetes, a family history of the disease may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Genes can also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by increasing a person’s tendency to become overweight or obese.
  • Weight
    You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are overweight or obese. Sometimes, extra weight can cause insulin resistance and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The location of the body fat is also a factor – extra belly fat is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Insulin Resistance
    Type 2 diabetes commonly starts with insulin resistance, a condition in which the liver, muscle, and fat cells don’t use insulin well. As a result, your body requires more insulin to help glucose enter the cells. At first, the pancreas produces more insulin to keep up with the demand. Over time, the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, and blood glucose levels continue to rise.

Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Ethnicity
  • Physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy diet
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes

Symptoms

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild – and some people don’t experience any symptoms at all. Because of this, some people with type 2 diabetes may live several years with the condition before being diagnosed.

Management

The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management is a healthy lifestyle. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, and not smoking.

Over time, a healthy lifestyle may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels under control. In such cases, people with type 2 diabetes may have to take oral medication. The most commonly used oral medications for type 2 diabetes include Metformin and Sulfonylureas.

Along with oral medications, people with type 2 diabetes may also consider a health supplement like Diavit Herbs. Diavit is a diabetic-friendly, blood sugar control supplement. Some of the benefits of Diavit Herbs include: boosts immune systems; helps decrease blood sugar levels; helps balance blood sugar; helps prevent other diabetes-related complications; aids in weight loss; and it supports overall brain health.

When oral medication is not enough to control blood glucose levels, people with type 2 diabetes may need insulin injections.

The Bottom Line

Diabetes is a chronic disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food that you eat. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t use insulin properly or it produces little to no insulin at all.

The exact causes of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, but is linked to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including genes and lifestyle factors.

Treatment for type 1 and type 2 diabetes includes a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy body weight, and not smoking. For people with type 1 diabetes, insulin injection is necessary to keep blood glucose levels under control. Some people with type 2 diabetes may also require insulin injections, on top of oral medications.

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