What Is Diabetes:
Diabetes is a chronic systemic disease that occurs when the pancreas cannot produce insulin in the body, or the human body is unable to use the insulin it produces properly.
Insulin is a protein hormone produced by pancreatic cells that, similar to a key, allows the glucose in the food to pass through the bloodstream and enter the body’s cells to produce energy. All carbohydrates in food are broken down into glucose by the digestive tract and then into the bloodstream. The role of insulin is to deliver this glucose to the cells.
If not enough insulin is produced by the pancreas or the insulin produced is not used properly, blood glucose levels rise. Prolonged high blood glucose levels can have adverse consequences for the functioning of organs and tissues in the body.
Types of Diabetes:
There are three main types of diabetes, respectively:
Type 1 diabetes:
This type of diabetes can occur at any age but is most common in children and adolescents. In this type of diabetes, the human body is not able to produce enough insulin. As a result, the person will need daily insulin injections to maintain normal blood glucose levels in the body.
Type 2 diabetes:
This type of diabetes occurs mainly in adults and is the most common form of diabetes (more than 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes). In this type of diabetes, enough insulin is produced by the pancreas cells, but the body cannot use insulin properly. The treatment for type 2 diabetes is based on lifestyle modifications, including increased physical activity and a healthy diet. Over time, most people with type 2 diabetes will eventually need medication or insulin injections to keep their blood glucose levels normal.
In general, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can have serious risks, including:
- Vascular insufficiency resulting in heart attacks and strokes
- Vision problems
- Infections and skin problems
- Destruction of nerve tissues
- Kidney dysfunction
- Increased risk of injury and tissue damage due to nerve anesthesia
- Increased risk of Alzheimer in people with type 2 diabetes
It is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and affects both the mother and the fetus. Although this type of diabetes usually resolves after pregnancy, these mothers and children are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Furthermore, most women with this type of diabetes may have other problems, such as high blood pressure, high birth weight, and difficulty giving birth.
Factors Influencing the Development of Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system reduces insulin production by attacking insulin-producing cells. The exact cause of this autoimmune reaction is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors, such as some viral infections, appear to be involved. Besides, there are other factors associated with type 1 diabetes, such as lack of breastfeeding, being the first child, cesarean delivery, and pregnancy over the age limit.
So far, almost no effective way to prevent type 1 diabetes has been identified. Daily insulin injections are essential to control type 1 diabetes. Also, diet and exercise can help manage it.
Type 2 diabetes:
Factors involved in type 2 diabetes include:
- family history
- Unhealthy diet
- High blood pressure
- History of gestational diabetes
- Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy
Since lifestyle is the most important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes, changing the lifestyle and paying attention to a healthy diet and physical activity can effectively control and prevent it.
Proper diet for people with diabetes, particularly overweight people, constitute reducing calorie intake, replacing saturated fats such as cream, butter, and cheese with unsaturated fats such as avocado, almond, olive, and vegetable oils, fiber consumption, avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and sugar. In general, having a healthy diet and avoiding overeating are the only tips given to people at high risk to prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Regular exercise also helps to keep your insulin levels low. For this purpose, a combination of aerobic exercise (such as running, swimming, and cycling) and endurance exercise is recommended.