All about diabetes:
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although it has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy.
What are the different types?
The most common types are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type.
Develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes.
What health problems can people develop?
Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye problems
- Dental disease
- Nerve damage
- Foot problems
What are the symptoms?
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
What tests are used to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes?
Health care professionals most often use the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or the A1C test to diagnose diabetes. In some cases, they may use a random plasma glucose (RPG) test.
Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test
The FPG blood test measures your blood glucose level at a single point in time. For the most reliable results, it is best to have this test in the morning, after you fast for at least 8 hours. Fasting means having nothing to eat or drink except sips of water.
The A1C test is a blood test that provides your average levels of blood glucose over the past 3 months. Other names for the A1C test are haemoglobin A1C, HbA1C, glycated haemoglobin, and glycosylated haemoglobin test. You can eat and drink before this test. When it comes to using the A1C your doctor will consider factors such as your age and whether you have anemia or another problem with your blood. The A1C test is not accurate in people with anemia.
Random plasma glucose (RPG) test
Sometimes health care professionals use the RPG test to diagnose when diabetes symptoms are present and they do not want to wait until you have fasted. You do not need to fast overnight for the RPG test. You may have this blood test at any time.