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Diabetes. Diagnosis and its Risks and Hazardous Effects

Everything That You Really Need to Learn Regarding Diabetes

Unless you work in the medical field or have been exposed to diabetes or pre-diabetes, blood sugar usually isn’t something you think about on a daily basis. Diabetes is the plague of the world today, with 400 million individuals globally and a predicted 50% increase over the next two decades. This article will discuss what diabetes is and how to cope if you get it. So, keep engaged to learn more well-researched information about it.

How do We Get Diabetes?

The pancreas is the organ that functions as a personal health coach, as it regulates sugar levels and generates a specific juice that aids in keeping the body in peak physical condition by releasing nutrients from food. It is located right below the stomach, and one of its functions is to digest food. A unique sort of tonic composed of water, sodium bicarbonate, and water improves digestion. It aids in digestion and regulates blood sugar levels by releasing the hormone insulin into the circulation. Diabetes develops when the pancreas is unable to generate insulin or when the body is unable to use the insulin it does produce effectively.

We are aware of the function of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that serves as a key to allowing glucose from the food we consume to enter cells and be converted into energy. Dietary carbohydrates are transformed into glucose and delivered into the bloodstream. Consequently, blood sugar levels are elevated following a meal. The rise in glucose levels causes the pancreas to secrete insulin. Insulin facilitates glucose transport into cells. Inability to make or properly utilize insulin causes elevated glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycemia). High glucose levels are related to harm to the body and organ and tissue failure over the long run.

According to the CDC, around 25% of those older than 65 have diabetes worldwide.

What is considered a good blood sugar level? The amount of glucose in a human’s circulation determines whether their blood sugar levels are normal, high, or low. As a kind of sugar, glucose is always present in circulation. There are various ways to monitor blood glucose levels: before eating or after eating, as well as while someone is fasting (in the morning when they get up). Blood glucose levels of less than 100 mg/dL are considered normal for persons without diabetes who haven’t eaten for at least eight hours (fasting). A blood glucose level of 90-110 mg/dL two hours after a meal is normal for healthy people without This condition.

But many factors affect the amount of sugar in our bodies. Please refer to our article for a detailed insight into blood sugar prevention at an early age.

Types of Diabetes.

The body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t utilize the insulin it does produce efficiently in people with diabetes. There are mainly two kinds of it, which are being disused further. However, new research reveals this chronic illness is not as straightforward as type 1 and type 2. A major new study indicates there are four subgroups of diabetes.

1. Type 1:

Insulin-dependent diabetes is another name for the type 1 form of this condition. It was once known as juvenile-onset diabetes since it typically began in childhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is an autoimmune reaction in which the body targets the pancreas’ insulin-producing cells by mistake. This compromised organ cannot produce insulin and can occur over a period of months or years, resulting in an insulin deficit.

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) can strike anybody at any age; however, it is most frequently diagnosed between the ages of 4 and 6 and in the early stages of puberty (10 to 14 years). The prevalence of this type is considerable. About 1.24 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, which is predicted to increase by five between now and the year 2050. Multiple factors may contribute to the development of the condition, such as:

Age Type 1 can occur at any age, but mainly in kids, teenagers, and young adults.
Race Certain ethnicities have a greater incidence of type 1. Caucasians appear more prone to type 1 in the United States than African-Americans and Hispanics. Chinese and South American populations have a decreased likelihood of having it. 
Family History You have an increased risk if an immediate family member has type 1 diabetes. If the father has type 1, a child’s chance of developing it is somewhat higher than the mother or sibling has. According to experts, the risk is 0.4% without a family history. If your mother or father has Type 1, your risk is 1% to 4%. If both your parents have Type 1, your risk is 30%.
Infections Certain viruses may promote type 1 diabetes by turning the immune system against the body rather than fighting infection and illness. German measles, coxsackie, and mumps may provoke type 1 too.
Cold Environment People from the northern areas are more likely to get type 1 diabetes. Northerners remain indoors more (particularly in the winter), which might contribute to more viral illnesses.
Auto-Immune Conditions Researchers have already stated that having another autoimmune ailment may increase your risk of type 1 diabetes.
2. Type 2 Diabetes:

Two interconnected issues generally cause type 2 diabetes: The muscle, fat, and liver cells develop insulin resistance. Due to abnormal interactions between these cells, insulin does not absorb enough sugar. The pancreas cannot create sufficient insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. This is called insulin resistance when your cells don’t respond to insulin.

People of middle age or older are more susceptible to developing this kind of high blood sugar. Previously known as adult-onset diabetes. However, type 2 is becoming prevalent in children and adolescents due to childhood obesity.

The risk factor of developing this includes,

Age Type 2 is more common in those who are older. After age 65, the chance of developing type 2 diabetes rapidly increases.
Race People of African descent, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asians are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.
Genetics Type 2 is inherited and tends to run in families. Your chances increase if a parent, sibling, or cousin has it.
Body Weight According to research, a body exceeding 120 % of its ideal body weight is also considered a risk factor. 
Chronic Diseases People with the following diseases are more susceptible, up to almost 6% more than those without, such as those with a heart attack, angina, a stroke, or constricted blood vessels. In women being overweight, PCOS and hypertension make them more susceptible. 
Certain Medications Those using specific antipsychotic or corticosteroid medications are more prone to developing type 2. 
3. Pre-Diabetes:

Prediabetes is characterized by elevated blood glucose levels that are not severe enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Average blood glucose is below 70 mg/dL. If you have prediabetes, your blood glucose rises to 100-125 mg/dL. Prediabetes causes are comparable to diabetes, but earlier. They include insulin resistance and metabolic disturbances due to hyperglycemia.

According to CDC, 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes. 

& Over 80% of people with prediabetes are undiagnosed. According to other research, 5 to 10 % of patients with prediabetes develop diabetes yearly. Prediabetes increases the likelihood of developing type 2, heart disease, and stroke.

Typically, prediabetes has no signs or symptoms. Darker skin in various body regions is a probable indicator of prediabetes. This condition can also affect the neck, armpits, and groin.  Following ae the risk factors that has been documented

Age Over-45s are more likely to have prediabetes.
Race According to research, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans are at a greater risk of developing prediabetes than other races.
Genetics Your chances increase if a parent, sibling, or cousin has it.
Body Weight & BMI Prediabetes screening may be recommended for people with a BMI above 25 as it increases the risk. 
Processed foods Regular eating of red meat, processed meat, and sugary drinks may raise the risk of prediabetes, per 2022 research
Smoking In addition to raising the risk of insulin resistance, smoking may be linked to an increase in waist circumference, another risk factor for prediabetes.
Medical Conditions Sleep apnea, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol or triglyceride levels may raise insulin resistance and prediabetes risk.

4. Gestational Diabetes (GBM):

Gestational diabetes is elevated blood sugar (glucose) that develops during pregnancy and often resolves after delivery. It affects around 10% of pregnant women in the United States annually. Pregnant women who have never been diagnosed with diabetes are most vulnerable to it. The screening for gestational diabetes is done between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

The fundamental cause of each form of diabetes differs. However, regardless of your kind, it can result in high blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the blood can cause severe health issues. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are chronic forms of diabetes. Prediabetes and gestational diabetes are reversible kinds.

Signs and Symptoms. Diabetes Cartoon Illustration

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) lists the following as possible symptoms,

  • Abnormal thirst.
  • Frequent or uncontrollable urinating.
  • High levels of fatigue.
  • Exceptional level of hunger.
  • Unclear or blurred vision.
  • Weight reduction without trying.
  • Abrasions or wounds that require longer to heal.
  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet. (Common in type 2)
  • Darker skin in various body parts. (prediabetes)
  • Dry and Itchy Skin.
  • Ketones in the urine (a byproduct of muscle and fat breakdown when insulin is low) indicate type 1.

Diagnosis.

Individuals get tested because they exhibit symptoms that may serve as early warning indications. This testing should be done at a hospital or lab. If your blood glucose level is exceedingly high or you have high blood glucose symptoms in addition to a positive test, a second test may not be needed to establish the disease. Laboratory findings such as blood tests are always used to verify a diagnosis and are often returned within a few days.

Tests for Type 1, Type 2, and Prediabetes
  1. HbA1c Test: This non-fasting blood test shows your two- to three-month average blood sugar level. It quantifies the amount of blood sugar linked to red blood cell hemoglobin. Higher blood sugar means more sugar-bound hemoglobin. Two independent A1C values of 6.5% or above suggest diabetes. Prediabetes is 5.7 to 6.4% A1C. Normal is 5.7. HbA1c is a solid indicator of persistent hyperglycemia, but it also corresponds strongly with the risk of long-term complications of diabetes.

2. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test: It measures overnight fasting blood sugar. After drinking a sweet beverage, blood sugar is monitored for two hours. Following results can correspond upon receiving the report.

  • Normal 
below 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L).
  • Prediabetes
140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8-11.0 mmol/L)
  • Diabetes
200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L)

3. Fasting Blood Sugar Testing: In this test, a blood sample is taken after an overnight fast. Less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal. 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes. On two different tests, 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or greater indicates diabetes.

4. Random Blood Sugar Testing: It is similar to a fasting blood test, but the blood sample is taken randomly regardless of when you had your last meal. A blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) indicates diabetes.

The following table summarizes the results of all the testing mentioned above methods and their values per authentic sources.

Result* A1C Test Fasting Blood Sugar Test Glucose Tolerance Test Random Blood Sugar Test
Diabetes 6.5% or above 126 mg/dL or above 200 mg/dL or above 200 mg/dL or above
Prediabetes 5.7 – 6.4% 100 – 125 mg/dL 140 – 199 mg/dL  N/A
Normal Below 5.7% 99 mg/dL or below 140 mg/dL or below  N/A

If your doctor suspects type 1 diabetes, your blood may be checked for autoantibodies (substances that signal your body is fighting). Testing is done for autoantibodies of islet cell (ICA), Glutamic acid decarboxylase autoantibodies (GADA), Insulinoma-associated-2 autoantibodies (IA-2A), and Insulin autoantibodies (IAA). If you have high levels of one or more of these antibodies, you may have type 1 diabetes. Or it might indicate a risk of getting the disease. These antibodies often appear years before the onset of symptoms; thus, it makes it a good test for testing risk in families. Type 2 diabetics don’t have these antibodies. Hence the test can also determine their type.

Tests for Gestational diabetes

Early in your pregnancy, your doctor will likely assess your risk factors for developing gestational diabetes. If you are at high risk for GDM — for instance, if you were obese at the beginning of your pregnancy; if you had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy; or if your mother, father, sibling, or child has diabetes — your doctor may test you for diabetes at your first prenatal visit.
If you have a moderate risk of developing GDM, you will likely have a screening test between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

gestational diabetes testing

Diagnosing gestational diabetes also requires measuring plasma glucose levels during the OGTT. The blood sugar level is measured four times throughout the test. You have gestational diabetes if your blood sugar levels are over average at least twice throughout the test.

Complications of Diabetes: 

High blood sugar may impact practically every organ in the body if it isn’t correctly managed. That is why you may hear about diabetic complications from your medical team. It is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease, blindness, renal failure, and lower limb amputation in high-income countries and affects their quality of life.

Acute Problems are hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia.

  • Hypoglycemia: Rapid onset of hypoglycemia happens when blood glucose levels are too low below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L). Variable symptoms include disorientation, vertigo, hunger, mood swings, and perspiration. It can be caused by insulin overdose, excessive alcohol intake, physical exercise, and meal skipping. Symptoms of this condition are blurry vision, rapid heartbeat, headache, shaking, and dizziness. Hypoglycemia can lead to unconsciousness in severe cases due to deficient levels of sugar. According to a 2019 study, 54.7% of people reported having hypoglycemia with type 2 DM.
  • Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia occurs when glucose levels in the blood are very high. It can be induced by both physical and mental stress, as stress hormones raise the glucose level in the blood. It may also be caused by a lack of medicine, an illness, or the consumption of an excessive amount of carbohydrates. Hyperglycemia doesn’t induce symptoms until glucose readings are sufficiently increased — generally above 180 to 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 10 to 11.1 millimoles per liter (mmol/L). It is also differentiated from normal diabetes (DM) as hyperglycemia is defined as a blood glucose level of more than 125 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) when fasting (without eating for at least eight hours; a person with a blood glucose level greater than 125 mg/dL while fasting has diabetes).

Hyperglycemia symptoms develop gradually over several days or weeks.  If left untreated, hyperglycemia can develop into ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening condition primarily affecting those with type 1DM, with adolescents and young adults at the most significant risk.

Chronic complications include conditions that can lead to severe consequences if not addressed and treated on time.  Long-term problems can be avoided with self-care, keeping a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining frequent contact with health care providers.

  • Heart Problems: Diabetes can cause damage to the blood arteries, resulting in heart attacks and strokes. It is frequently accompanied by elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease, and inactivity are other risk factors. According to the CDC, heart disease due to diabetes is the most common cause of death in the United States.
  • Gastric Problems: Blood glucose levels that remain elevated for extended durations induce nerve damage throughout the body. Chronically high blood sugar levels also harm the blood arteries that nourish and oxygenate the body’s neurons and organs. That is why diabetics shouldn’t overlook nausea, heartburn, or bloating. This high blood sugar can induce gastroparesis, which inhibits digestion and causes satiety, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Gastroparesis is sometimes wrongly diagnosed as an ulcer, heartburn, or an allergic reaction. 5-12% of diabetics suffer gastroparesis symptoms.
  • Eyes Problems (Retinopathy): Diabetic retinopathy, a disorder that affects the eyesight of some diabetics, can occur. If retinopathy is discovered, it can be treated, and vision loss can be averted. One-third of diabetics develop retinopathy.  Another eye-related problem is macular edema. The macula helps you see clearly. When retinal blood vessels are injured, fluid can accumulate and cause swelling. This damages the macula and blurs vision. It has been reported in a study that 27% of DM1 patients had macular edema within 9 years of diagnosis.  Cataracts also occur when the eye’s lens becomes clouded, causing foggy, distorted, or glare-sensitive vision. Diabetics are two to five times more prone to develop this. Glaucoma also affects people with and without diabetes; however, it is twice as prevalent among diabetics. The pressure in the eyes can be the cause behind it. In the early phases of eye injury, most people have no symptoms. However, some signs require prompt examination. Visit a doctor if you see flashes of light, floaters, blots, or dots.
  • Foot Issues: Damaged nerves and high blood sugar can alter the sensation in your feet, making it more difficult for wounds and sores to heal. Without enough blood flow, you may have difficulty healing wounds and cuts. If you detect a change in the appearance or feel of your feet, don’t hesitate to notify your doctor. Untreated diabetic foot issues might result in amputation.
  • Nervous Issues: High blood glucose levels can cause diabetic neuropathy or nerve damage. Diabetic neuropathy affects 50% of diabetics. Several forms of neuropathy can affect any body component. Diabetes patients frequently develop peripheral neuropathy. It affects the hands and feet. Combined with insufficient circulation, this contributes to inadequate wound healing. Infections and ulceration are a possibility. Without prompt treatment, tissue death may develop, necessitating amputation.
  • Kidney Problems:   Diabetic nephropathy is also known as kidney disease. It develops over time, has high sugar levels, and can damage the kidneys, making it more difficult to eliminate excess fluid and waste from the body. This is due to excessive blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which might impair the kidneys’ capacity to filter waste from the body. According to research by CDC, 33% of diabetics have chronic renal disease.
  • Gum & Dental Problems: Diabetes decreases the mouth and gums’ capacity to heal and fight infections. Having a lot of sugar in your blood might cause your saliva to be full of sugar. When this happens, bacteria are spread throughout the mouth, causing acid to destroy the tooth enamel and cause gum disease. Gum disease can be exacerbated if the blood vessels in the gums are compromised. Patients with poorly controlled diabetes are at higher risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease. Periodontal disease affects 22% of diabetics.
  • Depression: Diabetes and depression frequently exacerbate each other when they exist together, and research has also found a correlation between them. Living with a chronic disease may be a cause, but they may also have related causes. Common other mental issues related are stress and anxiety. Diabetic doubles or triples the risk of depression. 25-50% of diabetics with depression are detected and treated.
  • Skin Conditions: Due to the destruction of tiny blood vessels and nerves, diabetics may feel very dry skin. Diabetics frequently experience very dry skin on their feet. Included among them are bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. It has been estimated that 1 in 3 diabetics (Type 1 or Type 2) suffer a skin rash or other skin condition.
  • Infections: Diabetics are more susceptible to infections. Compared to people who do not have diabetes, recovery time is prolonged, and symptoms worsen faster. Ear, nose, and throat infections are prevalent. Diabetics nearly always get nose and throat infections. Pain and discharge are a few symptoms. Severe complications may result if an infection is untreated. Generally, people should do their best to prevent contracting any disease.
  • Sexual Problems: Damage to the nerves that regulate sexual stimulation and response might hinder sexual responses in both women and men. Damaged blood arteries might also lead to erectile dysfunction in men as soon as 15 years earlier than those who are non-diabetic. Women on the other hand are more prone to getting thrush or an infection of the urinary system. Sexual dysfunction is frequently observed in women as well. However, research in this area is lacking to determine whether this is due to menopause-related hormonal changes or diabetes.
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis: One of the most serious complications of diabetes that can be life-threatening is diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Ketoacidosis occurs when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to let blood sugar into your cells for energy utilization. The body begins breaking down fat at an abnormally rapid rate, and the liver converts fat into a fuel known as ketones, which makes the blood acidic.  Type 1 diabetics are more likely to get DKA, but it can also occur in people with type 2. The most common reasons include underlying infection, interruption of insulin therapy, and new-onset diabetes. Symptoms include rapid, deep breathing, dry mouth and skin, redness on the face, stomachache, fruit-scented breath, headache., and muscle soreness or stiffness. This condition requires immediate medical attention.
    Diabetes complications

Diabetes is a condition with multiple effects: whether you have the disease, your body cannot maintain a healthy blood sugar level. However, the complications might intensify over time. The condition can cause significant, even life-threatening complications from head to toe. Make an appointment with your doctor to determine if you have diabetes or prediabetes. To manage diabetes, have a look at some effective treatment options and methods to live a better life with diabetes and to Prime with Time.

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Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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