In today’s world, many people are realizing that they need to get educated about the reality of disease. In addition to gaining basic knowledge about conditions they may be susceptible to, individuals need to develop prevention strategies that can empower them to lead profoundly healthy lives. One condition that more and more people are striving to learn more about is diabetes. Learn more about this condition and some of its severe outcomes, including the diabetic coma, by reviewing the information found below:
SO… WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is an illness that takes place when an individual’s blood sugar (blood glucose) is too high. Blood glucose is the body’s primary source of energy and it is found in the foods we consume. Insulin, a hormone manufactured by the body’s pancreas, enables the glucose from food to enter our cells. The food is then used for energy. If the body doesn’t make enough insulin or utilize it effectively, the glucose remains in the blood and never reaches the cells. In some cases, individuals refer to diabetes as “borderline diabetes” or “a touch of sugar.” These phrases indicate that the individual doesn’t really have diabetes or is grappling with a less critical illness. Nevertheless, any and every case should be recognized, evaluated, and monitored.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF DIABETES?
The three most common kinds of diabetes include type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Individuals who have type 1 diabetes find that their bodies do not create insulin. Instead, their immune systems attack and destroy the pancreatic cells responsible for the production of insulin. Typically, this form of diabetes is diagnosed in young adults and children. However, it can appear at any stage of life. Individuals who have type 1 diabetes must take insulin each day to live.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Individuals who struggle with type 2 diabetes find that their bodies are not making or using insulin effectively. People can acquire this form of diabetes at any stage of life, including childhood. However, the condition is most common amongst elderly and middle-aged people. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the condition.
Gestational diabetes surfaces in some women during their pregnancies. Generally, this form of diabetes ends once the baby is born. Yet if you endure gestational diabetes, you are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes later on. In some cases, the form of diabetes diagnosed during a woman’s pregnancy is type 2.
OTHER FORMS OF DIABETES
One less common form of diabetes is monogenic diabetes. This is a form of diabetes that individuals inherit. Another less common form of diabetes is cystic fibrosis-related diabetes
IS DIABETES COMMON?
In 2015, 30.3 million US individuals had diabetes. This is 9.4% of the population. Over 1 in 4 of these individuals were unaware that they were grappling with the condition. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 individuals who are over 65. About 90-95% of adults who have diabetes are dealing with the type 2 form.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
There are multiple symptoms which can indicate that an individual is struggling with diabetes. Some of them include:
• Increased urination and thirst
• Increased hunger
• Numbness in the hands or feet
• Blurred vision
• Inexplicable weight loss
• Sores that will not heal
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES?
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a wide range of factors, including genes and lifestyle. Some considerations:
OBESITY, BEING OVERWEIGHT, AND PHYSICAL INACTIVITY
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and are currently obese or overweight, you are more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. In some cases, carrying excess weight can cause insulin resistance. Also, the location of the body fat matters. Specifically, excess fat in the abdominal region is linked to blood vessel disease, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. You can utilize BMI charts to determine whether your current weight is increasing your susceptibility to this condition.
Typically, type 2 diabetes starts with insulin resistance. This is a condition in which fat cells, liver, and muscle do not utilize insulin effectively. As a consequence of this bodily shortcoming, the body requires more insulin to ensure that glucose can enter the cells. In the beginning, the individual’s pancreas will create more insulin to compensate for the added demands. Over the course of time, the person’s pancreas will not produce sufficient amounts of insulin. This in turn causes her or his blood glucose levels to rise.
GENES AND FAMILY HISTORY
Unfortunately, there are some genes that can make an individual more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. The condition tends to become prevalent within families. Additionally, it occurs most frequently within the following ethnic/racial communities:
• African Americans
• American Indians
• Alaska Natives
• Asian Americans
• Pacific Islanders
• Native Hawaiians
Also note that an individual’s genes can increase their susceptibility to type 2 diabetes by increasing their risk of becoming obese or overweight.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE DIABETES?
Over the course of time, individuals who have too much glucose in their blood can begin to experience health complications. Some of them include:
• Heart Disease
• Foot Problems
• Eye Problems
• Kidney Disease
• Nerve Damage
• Dental Disease
Another health issue that an individual can experience as a result of diabetes is the diabetic coma. This type of coma is a state of unconscious resulting from either hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).
There are many symptoms which can indicate that an individual is experiencing this type of coma. Symptoms for those with hyperglycemia include:
• Abdominal pain
• Increased urination
• Shortness of breath
• Weak pulse
• Increased thirst
• Walking unsteadily
• Dry mouth
• Rapid heart rate
• Fruity smell on the breath
Symptoms for those with hypoglycemia include:
• Fast breathing
• Problems communicating
Other risk factors include:
• Poor diabetes management
• Using illegal substances
• Insulin delivery problems
• Skipping doses of insulin
• Drinking alcohol
insulin injection diabetic coma
When individuals go into a diabetic coma, they require immediately treatment. If there is a delay in treatment, the person could suffer from death or brain damage.
If the individual’s blood sugar was too high, treatment will include:
• Intravenous fluids
• Supplements of potassium, sodium, and phosphate
If the individual’s blood sugar is too low, treatment will include:
• 50% dextrose solution
• Intravenous fluids
• Glucagon (a hormone that increases the person’s blood sugar)
There are multiple strategies that can be implemented to reduce the individual’s susceptibility to a diabetic coma. Some of them include:
• Checking and recording your blood sugar according to the times recommended by the designated medical professional
• Knowing the symptoms for low and high blood sugar
• Learning about foods that impact your blood sugar levels and designing a customized meal plan that promotes blood sugar balance
• Not skipping meals
In today’s world, millions of people struggle with diabetes. To ensure that you can avoid the condition or treat it properly, it’s important to learn as much about it as possible. Review the information outlined above so that you can retain a clear, concise understanding of what this condition is and how it operates in the body. Also, share this information on social media so that more people can become conscious of the role that diabetes may play in their lives or that of a loved one.
Keith E. Barker