People with diabetes have blood sugar levels that are too high. Having high blood sugar is a problem because it can cause serious health issues. High blood sugar can damage the vessels that supply blood to your organs and can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and vision problems.
There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2, and each type causes high blood sugar levels in different ways.
Type 1 Diabetes
People with type 1 diabetes don’t make insulin because their bodies immune system destroyed the cells in the pancreas that make it. Once a person has type 1 diabetes it is for life. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose you eat to get into your cells. Your cells then use the glucose as fuel for energy.
Type 1 diabetes has several symptoms, however, they are not always obvious.
- Urinating a lot. – This is because your body is trying to get rid of the extra sugar in your blood.
- Drinking a lot. – To replace the fluids you lose going to the bathroom all the time.
- Eating a lot. – Your body isn’t getting energy from glucose, so it tells you that you are hungry.
- Losing weight without trying. – When the body can’t get energy from glucose, it’s backup fuel is fat and muscle. This can cause you to lose weight.
- Feeling tired all the time.
People with Type 1 diabetes will have to take insulin, either by giving themselves a shot or by using an insulin pump.
When you first start taking insulin it will take you and your doctor some time to find the right dosage for you. You will need to check your blood sugar levels several times per day and take insulin as instructed by your doctor.
Once you have the right dosage, you will still have to check your blood sugar daily because your needs can change over time. Your insulin needs can also be affected by what you eat, changes in your weight, and how much exercise you get.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. People with type 2 diabetes don’t make enough insulin and/or their bodies don’t use it well. People who are older, are obese, have a family history of type 2 diabetes or don’t exercise are at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You may hear the term “Prediabetes”. Prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. People who are pre-diabetic may be able to prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes by changing their lifestyle and getting healthy.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are very similar to type 1.
- Being very thirsty
- Urinating often
- Feeling very hungry or tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Having sores that heal slowly
- Having blurry eyesight
The goal of treating type 2 diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels at normal or near-normal levels. This means that you will have to test your blood sugar levels several times a day. A normal blood sugar level is 100 mg/dl, but your doctor may set a different goal for you.
Your doctor may also prescribe a medicine called metformin. Metformin helps your body respond to insulin and can help lower your blood sugar.
The only way to tell for sure if you have prediabetes or type 1 or type 2 diabetes is through a blood test and talking to your doctor. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have diabetes, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gautam today.