What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disorder characterized by high glucose levels which result from defects in the body’s ability to produce or use insulin.
Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas (a gland in the digestive system), which helps the glucose from food (we eat) enter the cells. This glucose is then used in the cells to give energy to the body. But in case of diabetic patients, due to the insufficient amounts of insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used by the cells. This results in the accumulation of too much glucose in the blood, which not only starves the cells but also affects certain organs and tissues exposed to high sugar levels.
Types of diabetes
Different types of diabetes are classified as below:
- Type 1 diabetes – Type 1 Diabetes is usually seen in children, teenagers or young adults. This condition arises when the body’s immune system gets confused and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin, resulting in the lack of insulin production.
- Type 2 diabetes– Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes which is often diagnosed in the people over 40. This condition may result from two reasons or sometimes both.
- Due to insulin resistance: Insulin resistance is the inability of the cells to respond or utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas. Since the cells are ignoring the insulin, they no longer take up the glucose and hence it builds up in the blood leading to high sugar levels.
- Pancreas unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin: In order to control the high blood sugars resulted from insulin resistance, pancreas work more to produce more insulin. This eventually makes them get tired quickly resulting in poor performance, thus leading to less insulin production. Less insulin production means more blood sugar levels, which finally results in Type 2 diabetes.
- Pre-diabetes – This is the condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition faced by many before developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes – This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in pregnant women with no history of diabetes. There is nothing to worry about this because it generally disappears after the child birth.
Check our next article to know about the causes and symptoms of diabetes.