Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas isn't able to make enough insulin or makes insulin that doesn't work properly in the body. Insulin is needed to maintain glucose levels, allowing for the processing of sugars and fats. Sugars and fats can't be assimilated properly or at all when a person suffers from diabetes, and this can result in serious health issues. Diabetes is an incurable disease, but there are ways that it can be managed effectively to allow patients to live full and healthy lives.
Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in childhood. It may be tied to genetics, as parents who suffer from diabetes are more likely to have a child with the disease. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common type of diabetes. It's frequently diagnosed in adults who have certain risk factors, including being overweight and being physically inactive. The most significant difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 2 diabetes is usually preventable with the right diet and lifestyle choices. If not treated, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause serious health issues like nerve damage, kidney damage, heart damage, eye damage, gum disease, and chronic foot infections that can become severe enough to require amputation.
Type 1 diabetes may cause symptoms like intense thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, and sudden weight loss. Type 2 diabetes often has no symptoms in its early stages. Over time, symptoms may slowly accumulate until the patient has multiple issues that seem to happen suddenly. These may include wounds that heal slowly, increased thirst levels, chronic dry mouth, frequent urination, and tingling or numbness in the extremities.
Treatment depends on the type of diabetes and the individual patient. Both lifestyle changes and medication are needed to control diabetes symptoms. Patients can lose weight if overweight, adopt a healthy diet, begin exercising regularly, and stop smoking to help get their diabetes in check. Medication options include self-administered injected insulin, oral medication, and insulin pumps.