Diabetic Science

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease caused by either the body’s inability to make insulin (Type 1) or by the body not responding to the action of insulin (Type 2 ) It can also occur during pregnancy. Insulin (produced by the pancreas) is one of the main hormones that regulates blood sugar level and allows the body to use sugar (glucose) for energy.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs because the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas (called beta cells) are destroyed by the immune system. People with type 1 diabetes produce no insulin and are dependent on insulin lifelong. Type 1 diabetes most commonly starts in people under the age of 20.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes the pancreas produces either not enough insulin, or the body is unable to recognize insulin and use it properly. The body continues to produce insulin, but this production may significantly decrease over time. When there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells to be used as energy. This glucose then builds up in the blood causing high sugars.

Gestational Diabetes

Hormone changes during pregnancy can affect insulin’s ability to work properly. This condition is as called gestational diabetes & occurs in about 4% of all pregnancies.

Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes are those who are over 25 years old, are above their normal body weight before pregnancy, have a family history of diabetes, or are Hispanic, black, Native American, or Asian.

Screening for gestational diabetes is performed during pregnancy. Left untreated, gestational diabetes increases the risk of complications to both the mother and her unborn child.

Usually, blood sugar levels return to normal within six weeks of childbirth. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include:
• Increased thirst
• Increased hunger (especially after eating)
• Dry mouth
• Frequent urination
• Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
• Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
• Blurred vision
• Weight loss