Diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus, can be defined as groups of metabolic diseases or conditions. One who has Diabetes is not able to properly process the food they eat and turn it into energy. When we eat food, the majority of it is broken down by the digestive track and turned in glucose, or sugar, for the purpose of giving our body energy.
Our pancreas, which is located behind the stomach, produces a hormone called insulin that helps our glucose absorb into our cells in order to produce this energy. In the pancreas, there are cells called Islets, and within these Islets, beta cells make insulin and release it into our bloodstreams.
Someone who suffers from Diabetes is unable to make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces, as it should. As a result of this, glucose, or sugar, builds up in your blood rather than being absorbed into your cells. This can lead to Diabetes or Pre diabetes; these two categories of Diabetes differ.
One who has Diabetes has high levels of glucose compared to what the average should be; the cells in your body do not receive the energy even though your body contains high levels of glucose. Someone who faces Pre diabetes has high levels of glucose but not high enough levels to be considered diabetes.
High blood sugar, or Diabetes, can cause a variety of complications for individuals over periods of time. These complications can range from minor to serious. Some of these conditions include skin conditions, kidney failure, heart disease, and hearing impairments; diabetes can also cause blindness, nerve damage, strokes, dental diseases, and lower-extremity amputations.
There are two main types of Diabetes; the two types are Type 1 and Type 2. There is an additional type of Diabetes, called gestational diabetes, which develops in some pregnant woman.
Different types of Diabetes can be caused by several factors and defects such as genes, pancreas disease, drugs or chemicals, infections, and different conditions. It is possible for individuals to show signs and symptoms of both main types of Diabetes at once. Some of the symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, weight change, and more.
Type 1 Diabetes, in the past, has been referred to as Juvenile or Insulin-dependent Diabetes; this type is an autoimmune disease and is characterized by the immune system attacking and killing the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 Diabetes most often occurs in children and young adults; although this is the most common age group Diabetes occurs in, it can occur at any age and stage of life.
Generally, those without Diabetes have immune systems that are able to protect their body from infection or sickness; this is done when the immune system identifies and gets rid of the infection. In Type 1 Diabetes, like stated above, the immune system attack’s your body’s cells and destroys them. Due to this, very small amounts of insulin, if any, are released into the body which results in the high levels of sugar in the blood and low levels of energy.
The type of Diabetes that occurs in adults, called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes, is a slowly developing type of Diabetes that typically occurs after the age of 30. Again, your body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells. Most individuals who face this type of Diabetes produce their own insulin, but many require insulin shots or pumps, in the future, in order to control their levels of glucose in the blood.
The genes you are born with may put one at greater risk of getting Type 1 Diabetes; these genes are inherited through a biological parent before and after the child is born. The genes that are inherited from the mother/father to the child consist of rules on how the body makes proteins, called Leukocyte Antigens, which are required in order for the cells in the body to function properly. These proteins are found on white blood cells and have been found and proven to be linked to the risk of developing this condition.
Genes called, gene variants, are variations in genes that affect more than 1% of people; some variants will lower your risk of developing Diabetes, and some will heighten your risk of developing Diabetes. When your body isn’t able to effectively create this protein, the immune system is unable to recognize as part of the body; it recognizes your cells as infections or other foreign and unwanted material.
Although gene variants are the main genetic factor that contributes to the risk of getting Diabetes, there are additional genes, or gene regions, that have been found to make someone more or less susceptible to the disease. These genes help scientists and doctors understand how Diabetes develops which allows them to come up with and implement targets for prevention, therapy, and maintenance/control of the disease.
Genetic testing can be completed in order to show which types of Human Leukocyte Antigen genes an individual has as well as other genes linked to the disease; this testing is most commonly completed in a research setting and cannot be completed on individuals. The testing that is done in the research settings is done with the purpose of coming up with and improving current strategies or preventing and treating Diabetes.
As stated above, with Type 1 Diabetes, your immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in your body that create insulin and energize the body. This happens before the symptoms of the disease begin to occur and will continue after the individual has been diagnosed. In many cases, it cannot be diagnosed until the immune system has destroyed the majority of a person’s beta cells. As a result of tis, a person will need to take a treatment of insulin daily.
Research that scientists have conducted states that the insulin in your body may be the trigger of the immune system’s attack on beta cells. With people who face Type 1 Diabetes, there are antibodies to the insulin and proteins produced by beta cells. These antibodies are tested in order to identify individuals who have an increased risk of developing the condition. Testing can also be completed in order to determine which type of Diabetes a person has, whether it is type 1, type 2, or another type of Diabetes.
There are various environmental triggers and factors that may put some at risk, or cause, Type 1 Diabetes. These triggers and factors can range from foods, stress, pollution, viruses, and more. Although they are seen to play a role; scientists and doctors have not yet determined their exact role. The current theory is that these environmental factors contribute to the immune system attacking and destroying beta cells in people who are genetically at risk; other theories claim that environmental factors play a role in diabetes even after an individuals as is diagnosed.
Although a virus cannot contribute to causing Diabetes, some individuals are diagnosed after, or during, a virus or infection; this suggests that there is a link between the two. Type 1 Diabetes often occurs during the winter months when it is more common for people to become sick; some of the viruses that are claimed to be linked to the diagnosing of Type 1 Diabetes include mumps, rubella, adenovirus, cytomegalovirus, and coxsackievirus. These viruses are known to be capable of damaging and destroying beta cells as well as causing autoimmune responses.
Scientists are conducing research and analysis in order to identify a virus that causes this type of Diabetes in order to create a vaccine that can prevent the disease.
The way a mother feeds their infant is another environmental factor that can cause Diabetes; these methods can lower or raise the risk of a child developing Type 1 Diabetes. Babies or infants who are receiving higher levels of Vitamin D, through breastfeeding, are less likely to develop Diabetes, but those who are being exposed to cow’s milk or cereal proteins have a higher risk of developing the disease. Although there is said to be a link between the two, additional research must be done in order to determine and explain how feeding practices affect the risk of getting Diabetes.