Diabetes: Definition, Causes and Symptoms

Eating foods high in sugar content can lead to weight gain, which is a risk factor for developing diabetes. Over 40 medications have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of diabetes. It’s beyond the scope of this article to review all of these drugs. Instead, we’ll briefly review the main drug classes available, how they work and present the names of a few drugs in each class. Your healthcare team will decide if medication is right for you. If so, they’ll decide which specific drug are best to treat your diabetes.

If you’re monitoring your glucose values at home, bring a record of the glucose results, detailing the dates and times of testing. Sharing your frustrations and triumphs with people who understand what you’re going through can be very helpful. And you may find that others have great tips to share about diabetes management. The most recent CDC guidelines suggest vaccination as soon as possible after diagnosis with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you are age 60 or older, have been diagnosed with diabetes, and haven’t previously received the vaccine, talk to your provider about whether it’s right for you. To keep your weight in a healthy range, work on long-term changes to your eating and exercise habits.

Diabetes also increases the risk of having glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye problems. It is recommended that people with diabetes visit an eye doctor once a year. Damage to the kidneys, known as diabetic nephropathy, can lead to tissue scarring, urine protein loss, and eventually chronic kidney disease, sometimes requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Doctors treat diabetes with a few different medications. Some are taken by mouth, while others are available as injections. Type 1 occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Type 2 develops when insulin production or effectiveness can no longer meet the body’s needs. Various types of insulin are available, and most are grouped by how long their effect lasts. There are rapid-acting, short-acting, intermediate-acting, long-acting, and mixed insulins.

We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy. While self-monitoring blood glucose machines vary, they will generally include a meter and test strip for generating readings. It will also involve using a lancing device to prick the skin for obtaining a small quantity of blood.

The number of people who are diagnosed with diabetes increases with age. More than 26% of adults age 65 and older have diabetes. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach. Your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin acts as the “key” that unlocks the cell wall “door,” which allows glucose to enter your body’s cells.

Generally, those with type 1 diabetes will need lifelong insulin therapy. There are many different types of insulin and more are being developed that are more efficient. Again, your doctor will help you navigate what’s right for you.


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A specialist can help people living with diabetes lead an active, balanced lifestyle and manage the condition. A person living with type 2 diabetes may or may not need insulin. In many cases, medication along with changes in exercise and diet can help manage the condition. Also known as juvenile diabetes, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone responsible for breaking down the sugar in the blood for use throughout the body.

The Burmese, Russian Blue, Abyssinian, and Norwegian Forest cat breeds are at higher risk than other breeds. Several countries established more and less successful national diabetes programmes to improve treatment of the disease. The Latin word comes from mell-, which comes from mel, meaning “honey”; sweetness; pleasant thing, and the suffix -ītus, whose meaning is the same as that of the English suffix “-ite”. It was Thomas Willis who in 1675 added “mellitus” to the word “diabetes” as a designation for the disease, when he noticed the urine of a person with diabetes had a sweet taste .

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , this is the most common type of diabetes, and it has strong links with obesity. People living with type 1 diabetes need to administer insulin on a regular basis. Individuals may do this with injections or an insulin pump. Write down key personal information, including major stresses or recent life changes.

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