Diabetes and Its Complications
Diabetes is becoming more a common medical condition nowadays, and this problem is a product of stress and unhealthy eating. In diabetes, there is a problem with which the body metabolizes glucose from the foods that we eat. The food that we eat provides glucose to the body which in turn can fuel up our processes in the body that use up energy. The problem with diabetes is that it leads to numerous dangerous complications such as stroke, heart attacks, atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome.
Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger and unexplained weight loss. The urine may show ketones, which are by-products of muscle and fat breakdown. Other signs and symptoms include fatigue, high blood pressure, slow-healing wounds, blurred vision and infections such as urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, gum infections and skin infections.
Type 1 diabetes is usually caused by problems in the immune system of the body. Normally, our immune system fights off harmful bacteria and viruses. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the body's cells in the pancreas, the ones that produce insulin. This makes the pancreas produce little or no insulin at all, so that sugar piles up in the bloodstream and causes numerous adverse effects on the body. The cause of the destruction of cells in the pancreas is mostly unknown although a lot of experts have theorized that genes and environmental factors may play a role.
On the other hand, pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes is caused by the resistance of body cells to the action of insulin. In these conditions, the pancreas is unable to make insulin to overcome this resistance in body cells. Blood sugar also builds up in the bloodstream as found in type 1 diabetes mellitus. Genetic and environmental factors may also play a role in type 2 diabetes.
Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which manifests itself as elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This may be due to the action of the placenta which causes hormones that causes resistance of the body cells to the action of insulin. In this condition, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance.
Risk factors for Type 1 diabetes include genes, environmental factors, viral illnesses, the presence of autoantibodies in the immune system of the body, dietary factors, race and geography. As for type 2 diabetes, risk factors include excess weight, being sedentary, family history, race, old age, gestational diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and other factors.
Diabetes and Cognitive Function
There are many complications of diabetes, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, skin and mouth disorders, osteoporosis, dementia and cancers. Cognitive decline is one consequence of diabetes, which may be due to reduced brain volume and increased white matter lesions on imaging procedures of the brain. In the past, cognitive decline was theorized to be attributed to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. However, lately, a new study has shown that blood pressure lowering and cholesterol lowering were not associated with reduced risks for cognitive decline in diabetics. This study, done by researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C, studied more than 2000 subjects without baseline cognitive impairment or dementia and with hemoglobin A 1C levels less than 7.5 percent. These subjects were assessed at baseline, 20 and 40 months. There were no differences in cognitive function with blood pressure lowering and blood cholesterol lowering. More studies are needed in the future to determine what factors are responsible for cognitive decline among diabetics.
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