Diabetes is a harrowing disease. It occurs when your body is unable to process blood glucose, your body’s main source of energy, and starts to wreak havoc. This is because excess glucose in the blood can quickly damage the walls of the tiny blood vessels that carry blood and nutrients to and from your organs. Untreated, the oscillations in blood glucose levels caused by diabetes could gradually destroy the eyes, nerves and circulatory system.
There are three types of diabetes. The main difference between them is how your body loses the ability to process blood glucose. In a healthy individual, the body absorbs glucose using insulin produced by the pancreas. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas until it is no longer able to produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes can start seeing symptoms in childhood or even early adulthood, and the most common treatment is with insulin injections. Risks with type 1 diabetes are that the patient experiences frequent hypoglycemia (low glucose levels), or that they will suffer ketoacidosis from burning fat instead of sugar for energy.
With type 2 diabetes the body slowly loses the ability to respond to insulin, so while the body is still producing it, the insulin no longer carries glucose to your cells. This leads to high glucose levels, known as hyperglycemia. Causes include family history, poor diet, poor exercise habits, and age. Patients typically see symptoms in middle adulthood, but recently there have been cases in children. Symptoms include tingling in the hands and feet, excessive thirst, sores that heal slowly and blurry vision. These are signs that high blood glucose levels are beginning to damage the nervous system, circulatory system and eyes. Type 2 diabetes is typically treated with medication and dietary changes to slow down the progression of the disease.
The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which affects pregnant women. During pregnancy, the body can release hormones that make cells more resistant to insulin, leading to a temporary form of diabetes. Women who are overweight, have poor diets or have gained more weight than necessary during pregnancy are at greater risk of gestational diabetes. Although this form of diabetes is temporary, women who have experienced it are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, as are their children. It is usually treated with diet management, increased exercise and insulin shots.
Diabetes can lead to horrible conditions over time, such as blindness, permanent nerve damage, heart disease and loss of limbs. At Any Lab Test Now, we know diabetes can be a frustrating and confusing disease, which is why we offer the Diabetes Maintenance Panel.
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