Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


Diabetes mellitus, more commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic condition that causes high levels of glucose in the blood.

There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 – an autoimmune condition where the body attacks its own pancreatic cells, making them unable to produce insulin. This accounts for around 10% of all diabetes cases.
  • Type 2 – a condition where the body produces insulin but does not respond to it. This is known as insulin resistance.
  • Gestational – this type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and occurs due to insulin-blocking hormones that are produced by the placenta.

Causes of Diabetes

Each type of diabetes has unique causes.

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. It’s thought that the immune system mistakes the pancreatic beta cells for something foreign. As a result, the immune cells attack and destroy the beta cells, making the person to continue producing insulin.

Type two diabetes is caused by a combination of hereditary and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese can significantly increase your risk of developing type two diabetes. It’s thought that carrying extra body fat made cause your cells to become less responsive to insulin.

The cause of gestational diabetes in pregnancy itself. The placenta, which supplies the baby with oxygen and nutrients, produces its own hormones. These hormones are thought to make the cells less sensitive to insulin.

Women who are overweight are more likely to suffer from diabetes during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The main symptoms of diabetes are similar, regardless of which type of diabetes the person has.

Common symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue

Those with type 1 diabetes may have difficulty maintaining their weight. Type 2 diabetes sufferers often also experience slow wound healing.

Women with gestational diabetes usually don’t experience additional symptoms to those that they are already experiencing due to their pregnancy. This form of diabetes gets detected during the second trimester via a glucose tolerance test.

Treatment for Diabetes

For those with type 1 diabetes, treatment involves providing the body with exogenous insulin. There are four main types of insulin that are categorized based on how quickly they take action in the body:

  • Rapid-acting insulin – works within 15 minutes and lasts for around four hours.
  • Short-acting insulin – takes action within 30 minutes and lasts around six hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin – begins working within a couple of hours and lasts between 12 and 18 hours.
  • Long-acting insulin – works within a few hours and may last a full day or longer.

For type 2 diabetes, treatment can involve a range of factors. Dietary and exercise changes are often recommended for those who are carrying extra weight.

Medications can also be provided to help the body regulate blood sugar levels. Some of the most common medications include metformin, linagliptin, and canagliflozin.

If a diabetic has skin problems and slow-healing wounds, nurses may apply promogran prisma to aid the healing process. Nurses may also apply antibiotic creams, such as gentamycin, to reduce the risk of wound infection.

Women who have gestational diabetes may be treated with a combination of insulin, dietary changes, and a regular exercise regime.

Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

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