Whether you act as a caregiver for a loved one, a friend, or someone who needs a helping hand, it's essential to know all you can about their health issues. By understanding the causes and symptoms of their ailments, you will be able to provide better care for them, particularly when it comes to. Also referred to as or diabetes, is an incurable condition resulting from an insulin deficiency.
Insulin is a hormone produced by thethat facilitates the transfer of glucose (sugar) into energy-producing cells. However, in the case of diabetes, the does not produce for the body to handle this glucose transfer properly.
typically develops in children and , but it can also occur in mature adults. Unfortunately, there is no cure for , so it must be managed using , diet control, and lifestyle changes to prevent complications. If you're aiding in caring for someone who has , this information should help better understand the condition and manage it properly.
, commonly known as , diabetes, or , is a condition that is caused by the ’ inability to produce adequate amounts of insulin, sometimes producing none at all. Insulin is a hormone that is extremely important because it allows for the acceptance of glucose (sugar) by cells to produce energy.
Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells in the body, and with nowhere else to go, it will accumulate in the bloodstream. Whenget too high, it can cause significant damage to the body, leading to many -related symptoms and complications, such as , kidney damage, and . And although there is currently no cure for , with the proper treatment protocol in place, most of these symptoms can be avoided.
There are numerous symptoms attributed to. These signs and appear abruptly, and therefore, the ability to recognize them is crucial.
● Increased thirst
● Bed-wetting in children with no prior bed-wetting issues
● Increased appetite or extreme hunger
● Irritability and temperament issues
● Mood changes
● Fatigue and weakness
● Blurred vision
The precise cause ofis unknown; however, it is theorized that an autoimmune reaction or is to blame. An autoimmune reaction is essentially a condition where the body attacks itself by mistake. When this reaction occurs, it destroys the cells in the , which are known as . This destruction can continue unnoticed for months, and even years, before any signs or symptoms appear.
Another possible cause ofis the idea that specific genes (traits passed from parent to offspring) may predispose an individual to diabetes, mainly since the condition usually develops during childhood or . Individuals who have these genes will not necessarily develop diabetes - they are simply at a higher risk of it occurring.
● Exposure to viruses
There are two primary: and . The two share some similarities in that they have many of the same symptoms, and those symptoms often lead to the same complications. In the end, however, the diseases are poles apart.
As we mentioned,results from the ’ inability to , which inhibits the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.
On the other hand,develops when the cells responsible for taking in the glucose don't respond well when triggered by insulin, even though the hormone level in the body is adequate. Due to , the glucose in the bloodstream is not entering the cells at an acceptable rate, and eventually, this causes the body to stop producing .
There is also a difference in the prevalence of the symptoms related to type 1 and. With , the symptoms are easily recognizable because of the rapidity at which the condition develops. Contrarily, the development of can take many years, making the symptoms much more difficult to notice. Those with often don’t realize they have it until it causes complications.
As with the causes of, the for are unconfirmed, but according to the National Institutes of Health ( ), they include:
●. As with other diseases and conditions, there is an increased likelihood of developing if other family members, such as a parent or sibling, already suffer from the condition.
● Genetics. Certain genes are found in the DNA of specific individuals that may predispose them to.
● Geography. Although the exact reason for the correlation has not been determined, it’s well-known that the rate ofincreases as the distance from the equator increases.
● Age.can indeed develop in mature adults, but the probability of it developing in children and is much higher. For children, the chance of emerging peaks between 4 and 7 years of age, and in , it peaks between 10 and 14 years of age.
The complications that can arise fromare numerous. If left unchecked, they can have devastating consequences on the body’s major organs, including the heart, kidneys, and nerves — to name a few. If these continue for an extended period, they can eventually become disabling or even .
Whether you’re an individual caregiver or part of a, and maintaining acceptable are imperative, as this can drastically reduce the risk of complications.
●. significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as , stroke, and high . However, when is coupled with , the chance of a cardiovascular problem arising is exponentially higher.
●(neuropathy). When are too high, it can harm the lining of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that carry nutrients to the nerves, particularly in the legs. These damaged blood vessels can cause numbness or pain, which usually originates in the tips of the toes or fingers before slowly spreading to the rest of the limb. If untreated, the entire limb could lose its sense of feeling.
●(nephropathy). There are millions of little blood vessels within the kidneys, and they play a crucial role in supporting bodily functions by filtering waste and toxins from your blood. Without , excessive could damage these blood vessels and, in turn, induce and even .
● Retina damage. The minute blood vessels of the retina are sensitive and, therefore, can easily be damaged by. By monitoring and practicing , complications leading to cataracts, glaucoma, and blindness can be prevented.
● Foot infections. Thecaused by can also wreak havoc on the feet. If this issue goes untreated, seemingly insignificant cuts and scrapes can evolve into serious infections, often requiring toe and foot amputations.
● Pregnancy complications. Complications from diabetes affect expecting mothers, and they can be dangerous for the baby. Whenexceeds normal levels, it increases the risk of congenital disabilities and could cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. also significantly raises the probability of the mother suffering pregnancy-induced high , preeclampsia, and , also known as .
●( ). A significant concern for type 1 diabetics, ketoacidosis occurs when harmful fatty acids, also known as , are released from the liver when there is little or no insulin left in the body. can cause issues if not treated immediately.
There cause ofis still unknown, and this means that there is no way to prevent the condition from developing. However, with support from the and the , researchers at the continue to make progress in understanding what causes the self-destruction of the and within the and whether or not an affecting the is to blame.
Diagnostic testing for diabetes involves using one of three different tests, and thewill decide which testing method to use. The three primary tests used in diagnosing include:
Glycated hemoglobin test. Also referred to as the, a glycated hemoglobin test is a used to determine an individual’s average over the preceding two to three months. It does this by measuring the ratio of to hemoglobin in the red blood cells. When are high, it leads to the attachment of more hemoglobin, indicating .
There are certain preexisting health conditions and other external factors that can affect the accuracy of the, like pregnancy. Therefore, the team, together with the , may opt for a different testing method, such as:
Randomtest. Although less intuitive than the , the random test is very similar in methodology. A blood sample is taken at random times over a specified period, and this technique of random sampling helps to ensure that the results aren't skewed. If the test samples indicate , it's suggestive of diabetes, especially if the individual is experiencing diabetes-related symptoms such as and an unquenchable thirst.
Fastingtest. As the name indicates, the fasting test involves fasting overnight before a blood sample is taken and analyzed. And just like the other diabetes tests, a leads to the diagnosis of diabetes. This test can also indicate , which is a condition that usually precedes diabetes.
If the outcome of the tests is a diagnosis of diabetes, then yourmay recommend checking for autoantibodies, which are only present in . Checking for these autoantibodies will help determine whether the individual has type 1 or .
The diagnosis ofis usually followed-up with regularly scheduled discussions provided by a . During these meetings, the will check A1C levels to ensure that they are stable. Any number of factors can cause fluctuations in A1C levels, but they are commonly the result of dietary changes.
Committing to a healthy diet is an important part of, and having a meal plan developed by a can go a long way in preventing diabetic complications from arising. A healthy diabetic-friendly diet usually involves eliminating foods and drinks high in sugar and salt, avoiding unnecessary , and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
The prevalence of diabetes will undoubtedly motivate researchers to find the cause of the condition and a cure. But one thing is certain: there is still a lot to learn about. On the other hand, those who have diabetes can take steps that will significantly reduce the likelihood of complications arising, such as eating healthy, exercising, and continually monitoring . Whether you're a caregiver or part of a assisting those who have , forming a better understanding of this condition will help properly care for those who have it.
A Nurse Director at a large medical center in Boston, MA, who holds a Master’s in Nursing Leadership and Administration and an MBA in Healthcare Management.
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