Diabetes Cause, Symptoms & Treatment
Diabetes is caused by your body not being able to control its blood sugar level through insulin. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that lowers blood sugar. Sugar in controlled amounts is neccessary for life but too is toxic. Type 1 Diabetes that starts as a kid is a result of no insulin being made. Type 2 Diabetes starts later in life and come from too little insulin being made or your body being insensitive to the insulin signal.
Insulin tells cells like your muscles and fat tissue to sponge up sugar from the blood. When the pancreas senses high blood sugar it squirts out insulin to lower it and protect your body from sticky sugar damage (glycosylation).
Kid Type 1 Diabetes is caused by your pancreas not squirting out any insulin to combat high blood sugar. It is caused by early destruction of pancreas cells by viral infections, autoimmune self directed attacks, or congenital absence of insulin cells. Once destroyed there's no cure. But scientists are experimenting at implanting new pancreas cells.
Adult onset Type 2 Diabetes is caused by either by a pancreas that's not squirting out enough insulin or insulin that doesn't effectively stimulate tissues to suck sugar from the blood. This form of diabetes is most often found in persons who are overweight.
Diabetes is a multi-factorial disease. It is caused by an interplay of several factors.
We do know however that careful diet low in refined sugars and starches, exercise, and weight control, lower your risk of developing diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes:
Urinating often, waking several times at night to go.
Rapid weight loss and ravenous appetite.
Frequent or severe skin and vaginal infections with weak bugs like thrush, yeast, boils and ringworm.
Coma if left untreated.
Bad Breath that smells like nail-polish remover.
If your doctor suspects you have diabetes s/he will send you for a blood sugar test. You fast from midnight and have your blood tested the next morning before breakfast.
Urine samples are traditionally used by doctors and clinics to screen patients for diabetes - a form of early detection. A dip-stick is placed into a sample of urine. If high in sugar the indicator changes color. Once diabetes is suspected, blood testing is used for confirmation.
Heart disease. Four out of five diabetics die from heart disease.
Strokes are also more common due to higher cholesterol.
Pain and tingling in fingers and feet. Prolonged high blood sugar is toxic to nerves.
Lost sensation in feet leads to injury without awareness e.g. stepping on glass without pain.
High blood sugar makes white blood cells lazy. This makes infections especially of the skin more common and severe.
Cataracts and retinal damage.
Kidney disease with protein spilling.
"Think Mosquito bite"
'Kid' Juvenile onset Type 1 Diabetes is caused by a pancreas that is making no insulin. TREATMENT for this type of DIABETES is to replace the missing insulin by daily injection of insulin taken from pigs, cows, or artificial human insulin. Doses vary from once a day to three times a day as different preparations circulate for different times in the body.
Adult onset Type 2 Diabetes is caused by a pancreas that is making too little, or poorly functioning insulin. This is treated by stimulating your pancreas to squirt out more insulin with pills or by supplementing the insulin you do make with injectable insulin. Drugs that stimulate your pancreas into action are called 'oral hypoglycemics'. Early in the course of mild adult diabetes, exercise and a low sugar diet can be enough to bring blood sugar levels back within normal range without medication. Conversely, if pancreas function continues to decline supplemental insulin will eventually be needed.
For all types of diabetes, monitoring your blood sugar level often is ideal. This is done by pricking your finger with a needle and dropping a droplet of blood onto a machine that reads blood sugar levels. This gives you immediate feedback as to whether your blood sugar is where it should be or not and your medication can be adjusted accordingly. Fasting sugar on first waking should be 4-7 mmol/L and two hours after each meal 5-10 mmol/L. If your readings are consistently above these targets your medication will need to be adjusted.
A Typical Diabetes Treatment Program:
- Start Insulin or Blood Sugar Pills.
- Keep track of your blood sugar at home first thing in the morning and two hours before breakfast, lunch, and supper.
- Every three months see your family doctor with home sugar readings to have your medication adjusted.
- Once each year: have your eyes tested by an opthalmologist; have a foot examination for loss of sensation; get a kidney blood and urine function test; get a blood pressure and cholesterol check.
- Stop smoking and limit alcohol.
It is important while on medication for diabetes not to miss meals as this can then lead to blood sugar dropping too low causing a coma.
Take 15 g of glucose tablets, or 3 teaspoons of table sugar, or 6 Lifesavers, or 1 tablespoon of honey, wait 15 minutes and then repeat if your blood sugar reading is still low. Do not miss your next routine meal. Visit your doctor with home glucose readings to have your medication adjusted.
If you have ever reached the point of coma or have frequent low blood sugars, ask your doctor for Glucagon to keep at home. This is an injection the opposite of insulin which can be injected by anyone at home to revive you if found unconcious.
Hypoglycemia can happen in non-diabetics too but not as severe. The symptoms are usually fuzzy headedness and irritability which go away with snacking. The cure for this type of mild low blood sugar is to eat nonrefined carbohydrates which take longer to digest, eat frequent small meals, and add protein to each meal.