What is diabetes?

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a physical, chronic illness which is incurable. When you suffer from diabetes, your body does not produce sufficient insulin or is not sensitive enough to the effect of the substance. This has the consequence that the body has difficulties when it comes to processing sugar. Sugar has the goal of providing energy to different types of cells. Because of this process, a hypoglycemic effect takes place, meaning that the body has a very high blood glucose level. Together with this issue we also notice other disruptions when it comes to the blood, such as:

  • Disruption of the blood pressure
  • Disruption of the blood lipids

Diabetes is very present in our current society. Furthermore, diabetes often occurs in combination with the following physical problems/disorders:

  • Cardiovascular issues
  • Blindness
  • Deterioration of the kidneys

What are the different types of diabetes?

Diabetes can express itself in different ways. Below, you will find an overview of the different possible types of diabetes.

Diabetes type 1

Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a deterioration of the autoimmune system. Certain cells in the pancreas, the beta cells, are attacked by our body with the help of antibodies. Originally, these antibodies have the goal of protecting us from bacteria and viruses. This process causes a shortage of insulin. Receiving the diagnosis diabetes type 1 hence is a starting point for lifelong usage of insulin.

Diabetes type 1 most frequently occurs in children and adults, who are younger than 40 years of age. This does not mean, however, that this type of diabetes cannot occur at a later age. The symptoms, which manifest in this type of diabetes, are often short-lived, but very forthcoming. The following symptoms are the ones in question:

  • Having to urinate very frequently
  • Being thirsty very often
  • Losing a lot of weight
  • Being tired

While a lot is already known about the symptoms of type 1 diabetes, there still is no certainty regarding the causes of this type.

Diabetes type 2

This type of diabetes is characterized by the production of insulin, where this production is not sufficient. Furthermore, some sort of resistence occurs against the insulin which is produced. This type of diabetes is most common among people over the age of 40. The risk of getting this type is also increased when the person in question is overweight and does not get enough physical exercise.

Type 2 diabetes is also characterized by some symptoms, but usually people do not suffer much from these. It can thus happen that someone suffers from diabetes type 2 without knowing about it. The diagnosis is often made during a chance examination by a doctor. The following symptoms could be a first sign of type 2 diabetes:

  • Infections of van genitals
  • Problems with feet, such as a wound which heals poorly, or a cramp
  • Frequently reoccurring bladder infections

If the illness progresses over a long period of time, the symptoms of being thirsty, having to urinate a lot, and being tired occur often. Getting this type of diabetes can be linked to a genetic predisposition for the illness. Getting older, too, can increase the chances of this type occurring. A healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on this, especially when at a larger risk of getting this type.

Diabetes in pregnancy

Diabetes can occur during a pregnancy. Generally, this manifests itself during the second trimester. The development of this type is caused by hormonal changes. When suffering from this type of diabetes, chances are that the illness disappears again at the end of the pregnancy.

Special types of diabetes

The above types of diabetes are the most commonly occurring types of diabetes. There also are special types of diabetes. However, these are very rare. Each type has a special way in which the illness progresses and requires a specific approach to the disease.

How does a diabetes diagnosis proceed?

A diabetes diagnosis starts off with two blood samples, which are analyzed at the hand of a laboratory research. If your doctor takes blood at the hand of a finger stick, the data collected will not be enough to diagnose diabetes.

When a value is present which equals or exceeds 126 mg/dl at a fasting blood glucose level, this can indicate diabetes. If the value lies between 100-125 mg/dl the result is doubtful. The results above are only valid for blood glucose levels taken on an empty stomach. If this is not the case, then a value of at least 200 mg/dl must be present before diabetes might be considered.

A pre-diagnosis of diabetes?

As mentioned earlier, a fasting value between 100-125 mg/dl is doubtful. Here we sometimes speak of pre-diabetes. If this is confirmed in your case, there are certain measures which you can take, which eventually can prevent a diabetes diagnosis. For example, losing weight is a useful tip when excess weight is at play. A healthy lifestyle can eventually also help avoid a diagnosis. With this, we mean healthy eating and frequent physical exercise. Except for living a healthy lifestyle, it is useful to get one's blood checked every 6 month in order to follow-up the possible diagnosis.

Other ways to confirm a diagnosis?

Evaluating certain blood values is the most well-known way to reach a diabetes diagnosis. There are, however, other ways, such as measuring the glycosylated haemoglobin. This value makes up a part of the blood. If there is a value present that is higher than 48mmol/mol, this indicates diabetes. Just as is the case with blood, these values must be analyzed twice before a diabetes diagnosis may be confirmed. We should note that this type of diagnosis is not currently reimbursed in Belgium.

What are the consequences of diabetes?

Diabetes can, in a long-term perspective, lead to several health issues. Dehydration is one of the consequences of diabetes. Furthermore, as a diabetes patient you might suffer from fainting spells and heart disease. Blood issues are also common consequences of long-term diabetes.

Experiencing a chronic illness can also lead to certain intense psychological consequences. For example, people who suffer from a chronic disease often suffer from stress and depression. These two can in turn bring along vascular diseases and can even immobilize a person. This way, causes of diabetes can intensify, worsening symptoms. An important prevention factor is a healthy lifestyle, wherein physical exercise is an important factor.

If you are in time when treating diabetes, this can prevent several consequences.

Diabetes treatment?

When treating diabetes, it is useful to consider the following factors:

  1. Adopting a healthy lifestyle. With this we mean eating healthily and getting enough physical exercise. This can help both with treating the symptoms of diabetes as well as with preventing diabetes. Quitting smoking and losing weight is also helpful for many people in their battle with diabetes.
  2. Medical treatment, which consists of taking blood glucose reducing medication, medication for cardiovascular diseases, and medical follow-ups of diabetes.
  3. Eliminating other risk factors, which might add to the diabetes.

A medical treatment of diabetes is an important factor in treating the disease. A combination of prevention and leading a balanced life can, however, support this treatment to a very large extent. Leading a balanced and healthy life is both useful in the treatment of diabetes as well as in the prevention of the disease. With only taking medication, the desired effect is thus sometimes not received. Sometimes, more is needed.

"15Minutes4Me.com" was developed by doctors and psychologists and can serve as a support of the medical treatment, or to continue on with the positive effects of this type of treatment. It works both for the treatment of certain symptoms as well as for prevention thereof. The scientific techniques, which can be found in the program, can even be perpetually applied.

Diabetes test?

Would you like to know which factors keep your diabetes in place? Would you like to know more about the risk factors of diabetes? Then take the free diabetes test here! Furthermore, a video by Koeck, MD, follows up the test regarding a holistic approach to illnesses and symptoms.