High blood sugar: Difference between Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes, symptoms, health impacts, preventive tips
In India, it is estimated that 8.7 per cent of the diabetic population is between 20-70 years old. Here's all you need to know about difference between Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, symptoms of high blood sugar, health impacts and preventive tips
Also known as diabetes mellitus, diabetes is a metabolic disease or disorder, which is caused when abnormal chemical reactions in the human body disrupt the metabolism process or the process through which a person gets energy from the food they consume. When this happens, a person might have too much of some substances or too little of other ones that are essential for them to remain healthy.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder because it causes high blood sugar. The human body contains insulin hormone that moves sugar from the blood into the cells, which is then stored or used for energy but when a person has diabetes, their body is unable to make sufficient insulin or is not able to use the insulin it produces effectively.
When left untreated, diabetes can result in various health problems, including damage to critical organs of the body. In India, diabetes is slowly emerging as a significant health crisis and it is estimated that 8.7 per cent of the diabetic population is between 20-70 years old where many rising cases of diabetes and other non-communicable diseases are due to many lifestyle changes, including rapid urbanization, sedentary routines, unhealthy diets, increased smoking and alcohol use and increased life expectancy.
Additionally, obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes, so a healthy diet and exercise will play a vital role in reversing diabetes.
Difference between types of diabetes:
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Farah Ingale, Director-Internal Medicine at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital in Vashi, explained about the three major types of diabetes that can affect a person and the differences between them:
Type 2 diabetes - Formerly known as non-insulin dependent, Type 2 diabetes results from ineffective use of insulin in the body. It is essentially a result of obesity and lack of physical exercise. Since the symptoms occur later, they tend to get diagnosed only once complications due to the conditions have arisen in the patient.
Type 1 diabetes - Characterized by low insulin production, it generally affects children and is not preventable.
Gestational diabetes - A condition that occurs only during pregnancy, it can result in pregnancy complications, especially during delivery. Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through prenatal screening rather than through reported symptoms.
Most forms of diabetes are not recognizable in their early stages because they cause very few symptoms. Some tell-tale signs of diabetes include the following:
1. Excessive thirst or polydipsia
2. Excessive hunger or polyphagia
3. Excessive urination or polyurea
4. Nocturia means frequent night-time urination
5. Unexplained weight loss
6. Extreme fatigue leads to low energy and irritability
7. Delayed wound healing
8. Skin infections and dry, cracked skin
9. Visual disturbances
10. Diabetic foot problems
Dr Farah Ingale pointed out, “Besides the general symptoms of diabetes, men who have diabetes may also showcase a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and poor muscle strength. On the other hand, women with diabetes can depict signs including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry and itchy skin. With gestational diabetes, however, there are no symptoms as the condition is detected during a routine blood sugar test conducted at the beginning of the pregnancy.”
Diabetes can damage the human effect, especially if not diagnosed on time. It can impair the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves, so diagnosing and treating it on time is of essential importance. According to Dr Farah Ingale, some ways in which diabetes can cause health problems include:
1. Adults with diabetes are at greater risk and almost two/three times more likely to get heart problems and strokes.
2. Diabetes can lead to reduced blood flow and nerve damage in the feet. This can increase the risk of foot ulcers and infection and even require limb amputation.
3. Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness and generally occurs because of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina.
4. One of the most significant risk factors that diabetes can cause in an individual is kidney failure. With time, when it is not treated, high blood sugar levels can damage the millions of tiny filtering units in each kidney.
Asserting that diabetes is not curable, Dr Farah Ingale insisted that simple lifestyle measures can delay the damage caused by this condition. She listed some practical steps that can be implemented to prevent diabetes:
1. Achieve and maintain a reasonable body weight.
2. Be physically active – doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day is highly recommended.
3. Eat a healthy diet and avoid sugar and saturated fats.
4. Do not smoke as smoking can significantly increase the risk of both diabetes and cardiovascular conditions.