Diabetes is a disorder in which blood sugar, and specifically glucose, is constantly too high. Glucose is an important molecule as it is the primary source of energy for cells, and by extension the entire body, including the brain. Most foods break down into some glucose after it is eaten and digested. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, and then is transported to cells. For glucose to get into cells so that it can be used, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. When people eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into the cells. In persons with diabetes, something goes wrong.
a) Enough insulin is not produced by the pancreas or
b) Enough insulin is produced but the cells cannot use the insulin that is produced. This is called insulin resistance.
Glucose therefore builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body in the urine, causing the body to lose a part of its vital energy supply. Apart from this loss, however, too much glucose in the blood can lead to other serious health conditions.
Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People who monitor themselves carefully at the prediabetic stage may avoid getting full blown diabetes later on.
Symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. In fact, many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realizing it. In Type 1 diabetes, symptoms usually surface quickly and are more severe.
Although type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, it typically appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age and is often preventable.
Signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes tend to be largely similar and include the following:
Risk Factors for Type 2 diabetes
Researchers don't fully understand why some people develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and others don't. It's clear that certain factors increase the risk, however, and include:
For further reading and research into the causes, nature and risk factors of Diabetes, you may visit the links below, among others.