How Does Diabetes Affect The Body
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Both types of diabetes are chronic diseases that affect the way your body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Glucose is the fuel that feeds your bodys cells, but to enter your cells it needs a key. Insulin is that key.
People with type 1 diabetes dont produce insulin. You can think of it as not having a key.
People with type 2 diabetes dont respond to insulin as well as they should and later in the disease often dont make enough insulin. You can think of it as having a broken key.
People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes may also have numbness and tingling in their hands or feet. Good glucose management significantly reduces the risk of developing numbness and tingling in someone with type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association .
Although many of the symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are similar, they present in very different ways.
Many people with type 2 diabetes wont have symptoms for many years, and their symptoms often develop slowly over the course of time. Some people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all and dont discover they have the condition until complications arise.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes may have similar names, but theyre different diseases with unique causes.
Can Symptoms Appear Suddenly
In people with type 1 diabetes, the onset of symptoms can be very sudden, while in type 2 diabetes, they tend to come about more gradually, and sometimes there are no signs at all.;
Symptoms sometimes occur after a viral illness. In some cases, a person may reach the point of diabetic ketoacidosis before a type 1 diagnosis is made. DKA occurs when blood glucose is dangerously high and the body can’t get nutrients into the cells because of the absence of insulin. The body then breaks down muscle and fat for energy, causing an accumulation of ketones in the blood and urine. Symptoms of DKA include a fruity odor on the breath, heavy, taxed breathing and vomiting. If left untreated, DKA can result in stupor, unconsciousness, and even death.
People who have symptomsof type 1 or of DKAshould contact their health care provider immediately for an accurate diagnosis. Keep in mind that these symptoms could signal other problems, too.
Some people with type 1 have a “honeymoon” period, a brief remission of symptoms while the pancreas is still secreting some insulin. The honeymoon phase usually occurs after someone has started taking insulin. A honeymoon can last as little as a week or even up to a year. But its important to know that the absence of symptoms doesn’t mean the diabetes is gone. The pancreas will eventually be unable to secrete insulin, and, if untreated, the symptoms will return.
Your Cuts And Bruises Take Forever To Heal
Reduced sensation in your extremities makes you more prone to injuries. Youre less likely to notice a cut because you cant feel it, which means youre less likely to take care of it and its more likely to get infected, says Goundan.
Then, once you do have an injury, uncontrolled diabetes can make it harder for your body to heal. High blood sugars provide a good environment for bacteria to grow, she says. That’s because diabetes is also often accompanied by high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and the resulting plaque buildup can narrow blood vessels, reducing blood supply and leading to slow healing.
Diabetes can also weaken the T-cells that make up your immune systemyour bodys defense against infection. When you have high blood sugar, its like delaying your bodys army to go to the wound to heal it, says Kellis.
Being Overweight Or Obese
You’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re overweight or obese with a body mass index of 30 or more.
Fat around your tummy particularly increases your risk. This is because it releases chemicals that can upset the body’s cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Measuring your waist is a quick way of assessing your diabetes risk. This is a measure of abdominal;obesity, which is a particularly high-risk form of obesity.
Women have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if their waist measures 80cm or more.
Asian men with a waist size of 89cm or more have a higher risk, as do white or black men with a waist size of 94cm or more.
Exercising regularly and reducing your body weight by about 5% could reduce your risk of getting diabetes by more than 50%.
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Tingling Numbness Or Pain In The Hands Or Feet
High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation and damage the bodys nerves. In people with type 2 diabetes, this can lead to pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
This condition is known as neuropathy, and it can worsen over time and lead to more serious complications if a person does not get treatment for their diabetes.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:
- Family history: People with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing it themselves.
- Age: Type 1 diabetes can appear at any age, but its most common among children and adolescents.
- Geography: The prevalence of type 1 diabetes increases the farther away you are from the equator.
- Genetics: The presence of certain genes points to an increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Youre at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:
- have prediabetes, or slightly elevated blood sugar levels
- are carrying excess weight or have obesity
- are Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or Alaska Native
- have an immediate family member with type 2 diabetes
Your Vision’s Getting Increasingly Blurry
Blurry vision is a commonand often ignoreddiabetes symptom in women. What does diabetes have to do with your vision? Kellis explains that fluid can form in your eye’s lens as sugar levels increase .
Diabetes can cause significant, unexplained weight loss. Think: 10 or 20 pounds.
A buildup of fluid in the eye blurs vision, causes nearsightedness, and sends many people to the optometrist for a new glasses or contacts prescription.
Fortunately, getting your blood sugar levels under control can clear up blurred vision, she adds.
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Causes Of Type 1 Diabetes
The bodys immune system is responsible for fighting off foreign invaders, such as harmful viruses and bacteria.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakes the bodys own healthy cells for foreign invaders. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. After these beta cells are destroyed, the body is unable to produce insulin.
Researchers dont know why the immune system sometimes attacks the bodys own cells. It may have something to do with genetic and environmental factors, such as exposure to viruses. Research into autoimmune diseases is ongoing.
You’ve Got Weird Dark Spots On Your Skin
Darkening skin around the nape of your neck, under your armpits, or even in your groin area is a surprising and common early sign of insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetesthe medical name for the condition is acanthosis nigricans .
We see this often in women with polycystic ovary syndrome , says Kellis, who notes that women with PCOS are at an increased risk of insulin issues. If you notice new dark spots on your skin, they’re worth checking out with your doctor.
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Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
You’ll be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater taken two hours after having the sweet drink indicates diabetes.
A second test must be done in all cases . Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education. Diabetes Canada also has many resources to help you understand diabetes better and live a long and healthy life. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and managing the disease is not easy. But it is important to know that you can live a long and healthy life by taking a number of steps including keeping your blood sugar levels in target range.
What Type Of Diabetes Do I Have
When you were diagnosed, your clinician probably said you had either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Clear-cut and tidy. Since diabetes typically occurs in two types, you have to fit into one of them. Many people fit clearly into one of these categories, but others do not. And those who fit one type when diagnosed may find these clear lines begin to smudge over time. Are there only two types? Are you the type they said you were? Could you have more than one type of diabetes? Is your original diagnosis still correct after all these years?
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Who Should Have A Urine Test For Diabetes
A urine test may be given as part of a routine checkup. A lab may test your urine for the presence of glucose and ketones. If either are present in the urine, it could mean that youre not producing enough insulin.
Some diabetes medications such as canagliflozin and empagliflozin cause an increase of sugar to spill into urine. For people taking these medications, glucose levels shouldnt be tested by urine but testing ketones is still okay.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose is your main source of energy. It comes from the foods you eat. A hormone called insulin helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. The glucose then stays in your blood and not enough goes into your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. But you can take steps to manage your diabetes and try to prevent these health problems.
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Complications Of Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems. It’s the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age.
Everyone with diabetes aged 12 or over should be invited to have their eyes screened once a year for diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetes is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure;and lower limb amputation, other than accidents.
Read more about the complications of type 2 diabetes
Foot Pain And Numbness Can Be Signs Of Diabetic Neuropathy
Over time, a prolonged exposure to high blood sugar level can damage the nerves throughout the body, called;diabetic neuropathy. Some people may not have any symptoms of the damage, while others may notice numbness, tingling, or pain in the extremities.
Diabetic;neuropathy usually starts in the feet and then it progresses upward, says Ovalle. Although most common in people who have had type 2 diabetes for 25 years or more, it can occur in people who have prediabetes as well. When it affects the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, its termed peripheral neuropathy.
Numbness in the feet can increase their risk of infection: If you don’t feel a cut or scrape on your foot, you might not notice or properly treat it, he says.
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How Do I Know If I Have Diabetes
Work through a series of simple questions designed to deduce whether you’re showing the common symptoms of diabetes.
Can’t see the quiz?;
Diabetes is on the rise, with 4.6 million adults currently diagnosed with the condition in the UK alone, according to Diabetes UK. Around 10% of sufferers have type 1 diabetes – an autoimmune condition in which the body stops producing insulin. However, 90% of cases are type 2 diabetes,;usually caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices .
Early Signs Of Diabetes
Both types of diabetes have some of the same telltale warning signs.
- Hunger and fatigue. Your body converts the food you eat into glucose that your cells use for energy. But your cells need insulin to take in glucose. If your body doesn’t make enough or any insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin your body makes, the glucose can’t get into them and you have no energy. This can make you hungrier and more tired than usual.
- Peeing more often and being thirstier. The average person usually has to pee between four and seven times in 24 hours, but people with diabetes may go a lot more. Why? Normally, your body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through your kidneys. But when diabetes pushes your blood sugar up, your kidneys may not be able to bring it all back in. This causes the body to make more urine, and that takes fluids. The result: You’ll have to go more often. You might pee out more, too. Because you’re peeing so much, you can get very thirsty. When you drink more, you’ll also pee more.
- Dry mouth and itchy skin. Because your body is using fluids to make pee, there’s less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Dry skin can make you itchy.
- Blurred vision. Changing fluid levels in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell up. They change shape and canÃ¢â¬â¢t focus.
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You Get A Surprising Number Of Yeast Infections
High blood sugars create an environment in your vagina thats ripe for yeast infections. Glucose is fuel for yeast. The more thats around, the more they can multiply, says Kellis.
If youre having two to three yeast infections every few months or if the standard treatments just arent working, its time to see a doctor. Once blood sugar is controlled, the frequency goes down, says Goundan.
Does Your Diabetes Type Ever Change
Even ignoring the high numbers of people with Type 1.5 who are initially misdiagnosed as Type 2, the lines between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes often get blurred over time. Due to aging and weight gain in those with Type 1, the progressive nature of beta-cell failure in Type 2, and the mixture of obesity and antibodies in young people, those with one type of diabetes often tend to take on characteristics of the other.
With less exercise and more weight around the middle, some Type 1s become not only insulin-deficient but also insulin resistant. They can develop the cardiac risks associated with Metabolic Syndrome and benefit from medications that lower cholesterol and blood pressure. More insulin is required to control glucose levels, while certain Type 2 medications, like Glucophage and GLP-1 agonists, may benefit their control.
On the other hand, as Type 2 diabetes progresses, insulin production may diminish to a point where it can no longer maintain normal glucose levels. Insulin will be required to keep glucose levels under control. Some people with Type 2 eventually become dependent on insulin and can go into ketoacidosis in stressful situations. In fact, ketoacidosis is about twice as common in Type 2 diabetes as it is in Type 1.
Lab Tests Used for DiagnosisA variety of lab tests and clinical signs help to provide the information needed to determine which type of diabetes a person has correctly.
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Back Upremind Me What Diabetes Is Again
Diabetes isn’t just one disease. There are actually three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Most people with diabetes have type 2it happens when your body doesn’t use insulin well and is unable to keep your blood sugar stable, per the CDC.
Type 1 diabetes is much less commononly about 5 percent of those with diabetes have type 1and it’s essentially an autoimmune disease where your body stops making insulin at all .
And gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant womenit usually goes away after you give birth, but it can increase your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes later on, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases .
All three types of diabetes can easily be detected though a blood test. The test, essentially, checks to see if your blood glucose is too high. But be warned: You can’t diagnose yourselfnot even with an OTC blood glucose meter, per the NIDDK.
Unfortunately, many people are walking around with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes because the symptoms are super-subtle, says Poorani Goundan, M.D., an endocrinologist at Boston Medical Center.
These sneaky diabetes symptoms might indicate that it’s time to head into your doctor’s office for a test.
Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes
You might notice:
- Unplanned weight loss. If your body can’t get energy from your food, it will start burning muscle and fat for energy instead. You may lose weight even though you haven’t changed how you eat.
- Nausea and vomiting. When your body resorts to burning fat, it makes ketones. These can build up in your blood to dangerous levels, a possibly life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach.
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