Diabetes is a condition that can be of real concern as we get older. Recent information in the media has increased awareness of this potentially life threatening health condition. An increasing waistline due to middle aged spread can increase the risk of contracting this condition significantly.
There are two types of this disease, the first is type 1 most often occurs in children and teens and usually requires that blood glucose levels are checked several times throughout the day and insulin to be injected to balance the sugars in the blood. The second type, type 2 is generally contracted later in life and may only require the daily diet be monitored and certain foods and drinks with high sugar content be omitted from the diet.
Type 1 diabetes is evident when the cells in the pancreas (beta cells) that are designed to make insulin are attacked by the body’s immune system. The immune system sees these cells to be foreign to the body and destroy and damage these cells. This causes the body to function with an insulin deficiency. It is usually attributed or caused by number of viral infections that are serious enough to cause the body to defend itself in this way. Unfortunately there is no way to tell when a child or teenager has these infections or illnesses that may result in this outcome. Cases have been known where the child has not presented with any symptoms prior to contracting type 1 diabetes. Symptoms can include a rapid reduction in body weight in a short period of time, excessive thirst, excessive frequency of urination, tiredness and increases vulnerability to a wide range of viral illnesses and infections.
Treatment for this condition requires that the child or young person frequently check their blood sugar levels by the use of a glucose monitor and then inject a correctly measured amount of insulin to balance the body’s blood sugars.
Type 2 diabetes is more likely to be contracted after the age of forty five years and is more preventable than type 1. Symptoms include excessive urination, unquenchable thirst, sudden weight loss, tiredness, blurred vision, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, erectile dysfunction in men, recurrent yeast infection in women and slow healing of wounds, cuts and bruises. Type 2 diabetes causes are linked to family history and genetic predisposition, unhealthy high sugar content diet, regular alcohol use, diet containing many highly processed foods and lack of regular exercise. To reduce the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes it is best to maintain a healthy, balanced diet and include regular daily exercise.
In some cases people with type 2 diabetes are also required to begin using insulin when their diet, physical activity and tablets no longer effectively control their blood glucose or sugar levels.
Injecting yourself with insulin can be a difficult and frightening experience to begin with. However, there are many different injecting devices and tiny needles available today making the process of injecting insulin much easier than before. In fact, many people say they can feel the finger prick for monitoring blood glucose more than they can feel the needle used to inject insulin.
When you need to begin injecting insulin your doctor and specially trained diabetes educator will help you adjust to your new routine. It can take some time to get used to taking the required amounts of insulin to find exactly the right dose to reduce your blood glucose to acceptable levels.
There are five different types of insulin and it is classified according to how long it works in the body. These range from short to long acting. The physical appearance of insulin can be different as well, some insulin looks clear, while other types are cloudy. Sometimes people with diabetes need changing amounts of both short and longer acting insulin. Every one will respond differently and it can take time to learn what types and how much of short or long term insulin your body needs.
The five different types of insulin include:
Rapid onset-fast acting insulin
Short acting insulin
Intermediate acting insulin
Long acting insulin
Other crucial factors to consider in type 2 include your current body weight. If you are overweight then you need to consider weight loss as part of your prevention plan as being overweight is a major factor for those who contract this disease. Diabetes treatment for type 2 in most cases can be much more easily managed than type 1 and usually means that a low sugar specially modified diabetes diet and regular exercise are a major part to maintain health for a person with diabetes.
Other risk factors to consider include ethnic background. Certain ethnic groups such as African American’s, Native American, Hispanic and Japanese American’s are more likely to contract type 2 diabetes.