If you’re familiar with diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, you may be aware of the two common forms, type 1 and type 2. However, did you know that there are other types out there? These include gestational diabetes and a form that is often called type 1.5. These are just the main forms as diabetes covers a huge group of metabolic disorders, with most of them possibly causing long-term damage if untreated.

What all these conditions have in common is that the body does not have sufficient insulin to use the energy from food. Insulin is required to convert the sugar available from food into fuel that is carried to all cells in the body.

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus?

Most forms of diabetes have similar traits. These are related to the body’s inability to use energy from food and causing excess sugar in the blood. 

You can have diabetes and not even know it, much like 7.2 million people in the US. Or you may have prediabetes, like a whopping 84.1 million, according to statistics.

That is why it is important that you are familiar with the many indications of diabetes, such as:

  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Weight loss
  • More hunger, despite eating normally
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry skin
  • Slow-healing wounds, infections, or sores
  • More dental problems, including bad breath and cavities
  • Pain, numbness, tingling in the feet

If you have one or more of these symptoms, even if you attribute them to something else, do consider getting a blood sugar test. Diabetes is best treated in the early stages so that you can take appropriate steps to prevent any later complications. 

Causes of Different Types of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is quite a variable disease as people might not necessarily attribute to one specific type – they might have combined symptoms. As of today, these are the few most commonly discussed and experienced forms of diabetes: 

Type 1 Diabetes

This is an autoimmune disease and affects a small percentage of people with diabetes. The immune system damages the pancreas in such a way that it is unable to manufacture insulin. It was earlier known as juvenile diabetes because it’s more prevalent among the younger population, including children.

Type 2 Diabetes

This form of diabetes occurs in the majority of people with diabetes. It is also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) and is diagnosed predominantly in adults. It develops due to two reasons: either the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body’s insulin sensitivity decreases, so it is unable to use the insulin efficiently. Sometimes both factors co-exist. 

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnancy causes many hormonal changes in a woman. These can disrupt the normal balance of sugar and insulin and cause high blood sugar, resulting in gestational diabetes. If gestational diabetes is not diagnosed and managed, it puts the mother and the baby at risk for various complications.

Type 1.5 Diabetes

Often called type 1.5 diabetes mellitus, it is known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA). It is a combination of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and may be mistakenly diagnosed as only the latter.

It actually occurs when the immune system kills the insulin-producing cells (much like type 1 diabetes). It can be diagnosed with a blood test known as the GAD antibody test. If it is positive, your doctor may diagnose LADA. 

Treatment Options 

The good thing about diabetes is that it can be treated, regardless of its type. Patient compliance is very crucial to treat diabetes. No matter which form or combination you have, you have to achieve a balance between your sugar levels, your diet, and your activity. And you have to take your insulin or medications as prescribed by your doctor. If you neglect even one aspect, you can face minor or major diabetes complications. 

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes requires external insulin. You can take this in the form of injections at regular intervals or get an insulin pump attached to your body, which will release the insulin (usually rapid-acting insulin) in preset quantities at programmable times. You can also get pre-filled insulin syringes to use. 

Now there are many different kinds of insulin available, making it easier to control your condition. You can get:

  • Rapid-acting insulin – it works between 2.5–20 minutes of injection, and its effects last up to 5 hours. 
  • Long-acting insulin – this starts working after about 30 minutes. This insulin can be taken once (rarely twice a day) as its effects last for 24 hours.
  • Intermediate-acting insulin – this is background or basal insulin. It takes effect 60–90 minutes after injection and can last for up to 24 hours. 
  • Mixed insulin – many different premixed variations of rapid or short-acting insulin with intermediate-acting insulin are available. 

Depending on a variety of factors, including your sugar levels, your doctor may prescribe one or more insulin types.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Your doctor may prescribe one or more medications for treatment to get the sugar levels under control. These may include:

  • Metformin – works by reducing the liver formation of glucose and improving glucose sensitivity.
  • Sulfonylureas – increase the formation of insulin.
  • Glinides – help the pancreas make more insulin faster than sulfonylureas.
  • Thiazolidinediones – enhance insulin sensitivity.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors – work by reducing blood sugar levels.
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists – work by slowing digestion and lowering sugar.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors – stop the return of glucose from urine into the bloodstream.

As a last resort, you may be prescribed some insulin if the medicine is not helping you sufficiently. 

Treatment for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes can put both the mother and baby at risk. When diagnosed, it is usually treated by a combination of diet and exercise. However, if sugar levels do not meet the required criteria, you may be prescribed metformin or insulin injections. 

At the same time, blood sugar monitoring on a regular basis is necessary since sugar levels fluctuate as the pregnancy advances. After the birth of the baby, gestational diabetes usually resolves on its own. Although the blood sugar levels often return to normal after the birth of the baby, women with a history of gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in subsequent years, so attention to prevention with lifestyle modification is very important for women who previously had gestational diabetes. 

Treatment for Type 1.5 Diabetes

This kind of diabetes is usually treated with non-insulin medicine initially. As the disease progresses, it can advance to type 1 diabetes, when you need insulin instead of or in addition to the non-insulin medication. This form takes a long time (many months or even years) to turn from type 1 to type 2. 

No matter the kind of diabetes you have, diet and exercise have an essential role to play in managing the disease. Additionally, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial so that you catch any signs of high blood sugar at an early stage and modify your treatment measures, insulin intake, or diet as required.

Uncontrolled blood glucose levels can lead to many complications, including neuropathies that are often irreversible and cause organ damage. Diabetes mellitus is also a causative factor in cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke. 

Key takeaways:

  • Diabetes affects millions – you may have undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes without knowing it.
  • Be knowledgeable about the common symptoms of diabetes – different forms are still present with similar symptoms.
  • Different types of diabetes can be managed – taking the right medications or insulin at the correct timings, watching your diet, and indulging in exercise are healthy ways of managing the condition. 
  • Beware of its complications – diabetes mellitus, if not well-controlled, can cause organ damage, neuropathies and put you at greater risk of many serious diseases.  

Hypoglycemia is a condition that is defined by low blood sugar levels in your blood. If you have diabetes, you need to know what exactly low glucose levels are and how you can deal with them. Low sugar levels can be debilitating, if not downright dangerous. 

How Hypoglycemia Occurs

Diabetes is diagnosed when blood sugar levels are very high. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will have to take insulin externally. If you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor will prescribe medicine to increase your insulin naturally. 

You may be given one or more medications, depending on various factors such as whether your body produces less insulin or your body is not sensitive to the insulin it makes. The overall aim is to regularize blood glucose levels.

Hypoglycemia, or when the blood sugar goes below normal, is a risk for all people with diabetes as their insulin levels are artificially controlled. For most people with diabetes, the blood glucose level lower than 70mg/dL signals the condition, although it can vary.

You can get diabetes-related hypoglycemia if you:

  • Have not eaten enough
  • Have taken too much insulin
  • Have eaten a low carbohydrate meal
  • Drank alcohol without eating for a long time
  • Took medications that interact with the food/insulin and cause low sugar
  • Increased or intensified physical activity like exercise
  • Are sick and eat less
  • Are more sensitive to temperature changes in the weather
  • Are under stress

Often just one factor or a combination leads to hypoglycemia. 

How to Know When Your Sugar Levels Are Low

When you have diabetes, it is important that you balance the insulin available in your body with your food intake. It makes eminent sense that you test your sugar levels regularly. At the same time, you should be aware of the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as:

  • Shakiness or tremors
  • Sweating
  • Extreme hunger
  • Palpitations
  • Arrhythmia
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty in focusing or concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Mood changes
  • Skin tingling
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Insomnia or restless sleep

If hypoglycemia is not immediately treated, you can suffer from fainting, seizures, or even go into a coma as sugar levels drop. 

What Is a Hypoglycemic Attack?

The brain is the center of all thoughts and the management of bodily processes and systems. So when you feel confused, shaky, or experience other symptoms of hypoglycemia, it signifies that the brain is not getting the glucose it needs. Additionally, you may have extra adrenaline in your body because of this, which can cause sweating, anxiety, and rapid heartbeat. 

When you experience one or more symptoms of low blood sugar, you have a hypoglycemic attack or episode. If you have diabetes, it is important that people you generally interact with, such as your family, friends, work colleagues, are aware that you have diabetes. 

If you suddenly have a hypoglycemic attack that causes you to faint or have seizures, they should know what to do. Hypoglycemia can be easily taken care of in the early stages; however, it’s best to go to the emergency room at a hospital in the later stages.

How to Take Care of an Episode of Hypoglycemia

If you catch hypoglycemia early enough, you can take care of yourself. If possible, check your blood sugar level first, but you can still take steps to get over the episode if you don’t have the monitor. You should:

  • Have a half cup of any sweet fruit juice or beverage with sugar
  • Take 3–4 glucose tablets (you should always carry these with you)
  • Take instant glucose gel, 1 tube 
  • Have some fresh or dried fruit
  • Snack on a granola bar
  • Have some pretzels or cookies

You should be getting 15–20g of carbohydrates, and this should be sufficient to stabilize your sugar levels. If you test after 15 minutes and the glucose levels are still low, you should consume more drinks or food till you feel normal. 

If you suffer from frequent hypoglycemic attacks, you should talk to your doctor about getting a glucagon kit. This is an injectable form of glucagon for when you are unable to swallow. You and your family should know how to use this in an emergency. 

How You Can Prevent Hypoglycemia 

Whether or not you are prone to lower sugar levels, it’s essential to know how to prevent hypoglycemia. Normally, a person with diabetes attempts to normalize sugar levels through insulin or medicine that increases insulin in the body. The vital word here is “normalize” – you don’t want high sugar levels (hyperglycemia). And you definitely don’t want low blood glucose.

To keep your diabetes at bay and prevent it from its extremes, you should:

  • Monitor your sugar levels regularly.
  • Change medicines or dosage or medicines, if required, under medical advice.
  • Eat food at regular intervals.
  • Ensure that you have carbohydrates.
  • Don’t keep long gaps between meals.
  • Avoid alcohol or restrict its intake as far as possible.
  • Don’t undertake an intensive exercise or weight loss program without consulting a doctor.
  • If you go to any doctor or hospital for an unrelated medical problem, inform them about your diabetes so that necessary precautions are taken and you don’t suffer from hypoglycemia due to wrong medications.
  • Keep glucose tablets and snacks handy for longer gaps between meals.
  • Take your diabetic medications regularly.
  • Be consistent with your meals and medicine intake.
  • Go for regular medical check-ups.

It can be a delicate balance between medicine, food, and activities that keep your sugar levels under control. And you need to ensure that you can maintain the balance so that you don’t get hypoglycemia. 

Key takeaways: 

  • People with diabetes who take medication that can cause hypoglycemia (insulin, sulfonylureas, or glinides) are at constant risk of low blood glucose levels. You need to fine-tune the balance between food, insulin, activity, and medicine. When these are not in sync, your sugar levels can go down.
  • Be knowledgeable about low blood sugar symptoms – shakiness, tremors, weakness, hunger, mental confusion are some of them. If sugar levels go drastically low, you can faint or even go into a diabetic coma. 
  • Keep sweets handy – glucose tablets or fruit juice can help combat symptoms of low blood sugar quickly and effectively if you take them immediately.
  • Manage your diabetes – monitor glucose levels regularly and go to a doctor if you are prone to hypoglycemia. 

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a dangerous and possibly fatal complication of diabetes. If you have type 1 diabetes and take insulin, you are at greater risk of developing this condition when sugar levels go high. However, it might also occur for people with other diabetes forms and might even be one of the first symptoms for those who haven’t been diagnosed yet. 

On average, there are over 200,000 cases of ketoacidosis annually in the United States. It is not to be taken lightly – it should be rightly treated as a medical emergency. You need to be under hospital treatment if you have symptoms of DKA.

What Happens When You Have Diabetic ketoacidosis and Why?

When you have this complication of diabetes, you will have high blood sugar and ketones in the urine and blood. This can happen quite suddenly over a period of 24 hours or less. 

If you have type 1 diabetes and have not taken insulin in a sufficient quantity or missed one or more doses, you are at risk of DKA. When you don’t have enough insulin, the glucose available from food cannot be used for energy. This causes the liver to break down fat into ketones in an effort to use the energy from fat. 

As ketone production goes up, the ketones are excreted in the urine, and the blood turns acidic. This happens rapidly and causes ketoacidosis. Under normal circumstances, when your diabetes is under control, or you don’t have diabetes, the liver breaks down fat very slowly, and the ketones produced are actually used by the heart and muscles. 

High blood sugar, too fast breaking down of fat, high production of ketones all contribute to DKA. 

What Causes Ketoacidosis in Diabetes?

You are diagnosed with diabetes when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal. There are many causative factors of this serious and life-threatening condition. 

Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur due to varied reasons such as: 

  • Not enough insulin in the body
  • Certain medications that trigger DKA (steroids, antipsychotics)
  • You don’t know that you have type 1 diabetes – DKA can be the first sign of insulin-dependent diabetes
  • You experience some physical stress like infection or illness
  • Stroke, heart attack, or pancreatitis can also cause DKA
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol 
  • Indulging in high doses of narcotic drugs like cocaine

If you have undiagnosed diabetes, you must look out for signs and symptoms that could potentially signal this condition. In case you’ve already been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should be aware of the warning signs of DKA, so you can take action quickly. 

At any time, if you are ill or have a serious infection, do inform your doctor about your diabetes. You should also be wary about taking medicine and supplements on your own, even supposedly natural and herbal products, as they can interact with any diabetic medications and cause problems. 

What Are the Warning Signs of Diabetic ketoacidosis?

Even though diabetic ketoacidosis can develop suddenly, if you experience some of the symptoms together and you know you have diabetes, do contact your medical service provider or rush to the hospital. Some of the signs are:

  • Sudden abdominal pain 
  • Extremely frequent urination
  • Severe thirst
  • Smelly urine that signifies the presence of ketones
  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Red or flushed face
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid breathing or panting for breath
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion 
  • Falling blood pressure

If you don’t know whether you have diabetes, you should also take greater care and, at the first signs, check with your medical advisor or do a blood sugar test. 

What Organs Are Affected by Ketoacidosis?

Your body and your brain can be affected by DKA. As you continue to urine often, you can get dehydrated, and this can affect your kidneys and cause organ damage. DKA also affects the brain, causing confusion and irritability. You may act as if you are drunk and lose your sense of balance and control over your emotions. Your mental state may also be affected. 

Internal swelling can happen in your brain due to excess fluid build-up, resulting in cerebral edema or fluid in the brain. Fluid build-up can also affect your lungs, causing heavy breathing and shortness of breath. 

As ketones increase, you can suffer from a heart attack or stroke, or you can also fall into a coma. 

Before any of these complications happen, take steps to normalize your blood glucose levels. If you are in a bad state, rush to the emergency room or call 911. 

Prevention of Diabetic ketoacidosis

It is absolutely crucial that you manage your diabetes, no matter the type. As far as possible, avoid getting your sugar levels too high or too low. As a matter of course, you should:

  1. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. If you’re doing fine on your medications and insulin but experience any kind of stress or trauma, check your sugar. If you overeat, miss a meal, drink alcohol, or do anything that will affect your glucose levels, just check. You can get really small and portable monitors that you can keep with you. You can even get ones that use smartphones for checking and tracking. 
  2. While exercise is very good to manage diabetes, make sure that you suddenly don’t over-exercise or indulge in strenuous physical activity. 
  3. Eat regularly and have meals that are generally with a low glycemic load. 
  4. Check ketone levels via a urine test, available at most pharmacies. Any time you feel that you are urinating very often or have ketones in the urine, just check. 
  5. Adjust insulin intake if necessary. Or talk to your doctor if you note any symptoms of high blood sugar.

If you feel that your sugar levels are high, you don’t have access to a sugar monitor or insulin and experience symptoms of DKA, just go to the emergency room. 

How Is Diabetic ketoacidosis Diagnosed?

Apart from testing your blood sugar levels, you will probably have to undergo a number of tests for a definitive diagnosis: 

  • Blood sugar test to check the levels of blood sugar
  • A urine test may show ketones in the urine
  • Arterial blood test for gas in the blood may show that the blood is acidic
  • Electrolyte level check
  • Blood pressure is a basic test
  • A chest x-ray for breathing-related problems and to rule out pneumonia
  • Electrocardiogram to check the effect of ketoacidosis on the heart
  • Kidney function test

These tests may be repeated as required and as your condition stabilizes and improves. 

What Are the Treatment Options of DKA?

Even if you’re treated in a hospital, you should be aware of the treatment protocols. The aim of the treatment is to get you out of diabetic ketoacidosis as quickly as possible. So you will be given fluids, either orally (if you can take them) or via I.V. so that your body is no longer dehydrated. Hydration is an important method to reduce hyperglycemia.

You will be given insulin so that your blood sugar levels normalize. These should be below 240mg/dL.

Electrolyte imbalance often occurs with DKA. As sodium and potassium levels are not normal, they can affect the functioning of your body. You will be given electrolytes, again via I.V. 

Key takeaways:

  • Diabetes invariably carries some risks – diabetic ketoacidosis is a complication when you are severely hyperglycemic. It can occur if you have undiagnosed or poorly controlled diabetes.
  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of DKA – when you know what the signs of this complication are, you can take steps to save your health and prevent organ damage or worse.
  • Always aim to keep blood sugar levels under control – balance your insulin or medications, your diet, and activity levels and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, several times a day, if necessary, so that you can manage your diabetes better.

Prolonged exposure to high blood sugar levels and high levels of fats for people with diabetes may lead to a serious nerve damage disorder called diabetic neuropathy. Although it is definitely preventable, not properly taking care of your condition and lifestyle can lead to irreversible damage.

Diabetic neuropathy is specific in the sense that it can differ due to the affected body part. It’s quite dangerous for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes because each nerve damage has different symptoms and can seem hidden until it’s too late.

In this article, we’ll look at the 4 types and symptoms of this nerve disorder and discuss the possible options of how to avoid it.

Peripheral Neuropathy

Typically damaging the feet and legs, peripheral neuropathy is the most common nerve damage type, with almost 50% of people with diabetes affected. Its symptoms include:

  • Pain or burning sensation
  • Cramps
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Loss of sensation
  • Greater sensitivity to touch
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness
  • Hot or cold feelings in the feet and legs
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Sores and ulcers in the feet and toes

In rarer cases, this type can affect the arms or hands and is dangerous as you might not feel pain or sores straight away. It’s essential for people with especially low blood circulation to periodically visit their health care provider for a medical check-up.

Proximal Neuropathy

The pain and sensations in the mid-region, upper legs and thighs, buttocks, abdomen, lower back, and even chest are signs of proximal neuropathy. Although much less common than peripheral neuropathy, this type can cause severe pain, affects only one side of the body, and can make it difficult to even stand up. The most typical symptoms are:

  • Pain in hips, thighs, buttocks
  • Weakness in thighs and legs
  • Pain occurring when you stand up
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Muscle wasting, more so in the thighs and legs
  • Weight loss

Fortunately, this type is usually treatable and, in some cases, can disappear after a few years.

Autonomic Neuropathy

This nerve damage type affects the function of your internal organs. It’s especially dangerous as people with autonomic neuropathy might not notice that their blood glucose levels are low, resulting in hypoglycemia. Depending on which organs are affected, you can experience these symptoms:

  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bladder or urinary infections
  • Digestive problems like bloating, vomiting, heartburn, poor digestion
  • Vision problems
  • A heart rate that does not increase with activity
  • Excessive sweating or no sweating

Focal Neuropathy

Focal neuropathy is also known as mononeuropathy. Unlike other types, this one is limited to only single nerves. As it affects only one part of the body, you should be on the lookout for symptoms like:

  • Vision disturbance or double vision
  • Pain behind one eye
  • Face paralysis on one side 
  • Hand weakness, making holding things difficult
  • Frequent tripping
  • Hearing problems
  • Chest, stomach, lower back, pelvis, or flank pain

Why Does Diabetic Neuropathy Occur?

As it is a progressive disease, its symptoms only worsen with time. Initially, when you are diagnosed with diabetes, you are probably more vigilant and keep your sugar levels under control. As time passes, you may not even be aware that your sugar levels are constantly high unless you monitor them regularly, depending on your diabetes type.

High blood sugar levels can disturb the oxygen and nutrient supply into your nerves, and over several years, this can damage the nerves slowly and steadily.

As many as 70% of people with diabetes may suffer from diabetic neuropathy over the course of managing the disease for more than 10 years. 

What Are the Stages of Diabetes Neuropathy?

It’s vital that you familiarize yourself with the initial signs and symptoms of neuropathy so that you can get the required treatment. In the early stages, it may be possible to reverse the damage or at least put an end to the progression. 

Here are the 5 stages you should be aware of that will help differentiate when you actually need to seek medical attention:

  1. Stage one – you may feel occasional numbness or pain in your feet or legs, a slowing of reflexes, or other problems. As this may occur once in a while, you may not even relate it to diabetes. You may go for weeks or months without any symptoms. 
  2. Stage two – when the sensations become more constant, and you realize something is off, by then you are in stage two. If you still ignore the symptoms, you are likely to face irreversible damage. 
  3. Stage three – when the pain increases and you experience many symptoms together, you really need medical advice if you have ignored the signs. Constant pain, numbness, loss of sensation, poor wound healing, frequent infections are all signs of diabetic neuropathy. 
  4. Stage four – if you feel a constant loss of sensation and more numbness but very little pain, you are in this stage. This is dangerous and shows that your nerves are damaged, probably beyond repair. You may have already suffered some organ damage.
  5. Stage five – when you have lost feeling in your legs and feet, when you find it difficult to walk and require a wheelchair, perhaps, you are in this stage. By this time, it will be impossible to reverse any damage, and you may even need amputation if your nerves are badly affected.

How Fast Does Diabetic Neuropathy Progress?

This complication of diabetes can take place over several years before you notice any symptoms. As much as 50–70% of people with diabetes may develop different kinds of neuropathies from between 10–20 years after diagnosis.

People with type 1 diabetes are at 20% risk of developing neuropathy after 20 years. This is possibly because they have to monitor their blood sugar more closely and balance it with the insulin injections. Those with type 2 diabetes, however, are at 50% risk of developing diabetic neuropathy after 7–10 years or earlier.

What is more surprising, and you need to be aware of this, is that even if you have not been diagnosed with any form of diabetes, you can still suffer from diabetic neuropathy if you just have pre-diabetes. In this case, the damage can also take place over months or years.

The earlier the damage is diagnosed, the greater the chances of controlling or even reversing the harm. 

What Are the Treatment Options of Diabetic Neuropathy?

There are many treatment options, depending on the stage of neuropathy and where it occurs. Many are directed at the particular part of the body or organ that it affects. Your doctor usually suggests a multidisciplinary approach and may give you:

  • Anti-depressants for nerve pain
  • Analgesics for pain
  • Bladder training for urinary problems or antibiotics for infections
  • Medicine to treat erectile dysfunction in men
  • Lubricants or hormonal creams for women with vaginal dryness
  • Various types of medicine or a change in diet for digestive issues
  • Hot and cold patches or treatment such as baths or soaks
  • Topical application of creams, lotions, gels for pain relief
  • Compression stockings for dizziness or hypotension
  • Physical therapy and stretching exercises to relieve pain and strengthen muscles
  • Medicine for high blood pressure, if that is an issue

Most of these offer symptomatic relief. It is important to manage the problems and the pain and prevent them from worsening.

Measures to Prevent It

As there is no known cure for diabetic neuropathy, it is best that you adopt all the measures to prevent it. Some important steps to take:

  • Keep sugar levels under control.
  • Monitor your sugar levels regularly and adjust insulin or medicine dosage.
  • Lose weight if required.
  • Get in some exercise regularly.
  • Make dietary changes, eating more whole foods, fruit, vegetables, and include some white meat and fish in your diet, reducing your dependency on red meat and processed foods.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you have high blood pressure, make sure to keep it under control

You can also try alternative remedies like acupuncture, natural supplements, and herbal remedies after checking with your doctor. Do take conventional remedies and change your diabetic medicines if called for. And always be aware of the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.

Key takeaways:

  • Diabetic neuropathy is not inevitable – if it is caught early enough, it can be manageable as long as you ensure that your sugar levels are under control. 
  • Even occasionally, feeling “off” can be a sign of neuropathy – in the initial stages, you may feel some pain or numbness or poor reflexes or loss of balance once in a while. One or more symptoms signal the start of neuropathy.
  • Keeping your sugar levels at bay is crucial – higher than normal blood sugar levels can damage organs and nerves. 
  • Diabetic neuropathy is largely irreversible – symptoms can be managed with various treatments, and the damage controlled or reversed. 

The basal rate is crucial for body functioning and health. It defines how much background insulin a body requires for efficient use of energy for basic bodily processes. 

Breathing, blood circulation, brain function, heart beating, digestion, and other activities require energy. And it is insulin that helps to use the food for energy. 

The basal rate in the body is not fixed. It varies from person to person. When you eat food, you need more insulin. When you are incredibly active, you may require less. In a healthy person, this activity carries on in the background quite efficiently as the body releases insulin as required. 

How Does Insulin Occur 

The all-important pancreas has beta cells that produce insulin and release it into the body. This hormone enables glucose from the foods you eat to be used by the body. When your body does not produce insulin at all or not enough of it, you need insulin by external means.

If you don’t get the insulin you need, the sugar from foods will circulate and build-up in your bloodstream and eventually damage organs. You will feel hungry constantly, thinking that you have not eaten enough and experience other symptoms of diabetes. 

How Is Insulin Used in the Body

After you eat and the food is digested, the sugar levels in your body rise. This is a sign to the pancreas to release insulin to use this sugar. This hormone tells the cells to open and enable the glucose to enter. This metabolic process enables the cells and the entire body to use the energy. 

Excess glycogen is stored in the liver for future use. The kidney, too, has a role to play in all this – in a typical person, it makes sure that no glucose is excreted in the urine. In a person with diabetes, with a shortfall of insulin, sugar is released in the urine. 

A person who does not know he has pre-diabetes or even diabetes will pass urine more frequently and drink more water – these are common symptoms of diabetes.

Without insulin, the body simply cannot use the energy. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you need insulin in the body. You either need to take insulin via injections or a pump or take medicines so that the pancreas can make more insulin (in type 2 diabetes). 

The Basal Rate in Diabetes

The basal rate is the amount of insulin that is continuously supplied to the body, also known as background supply. This constant flow is approximately 50% of the requirement of a person with diabetes. It is also how the human body works – there is some continuous supply to manage body processes, and the rest is covered by increases after you eat. 

You have to take larger doses of insulin when you have type 1 diabetes during meals. When you have type 2 diabetes, you may be required to take medicines at specific times so that insulin production is maintained in your body or your insulin sensitivity increases. 

With an insulin pump, you can set doses and times and program the pump accordingly. This will vary according to your physical activity level and your food intake, health, and many other factors. If you are injecting insulin and not using a pump, your healthcare provider will explain the kind and amount of insulin to take and at what times of the day. 

Long-acting insulin will act for the basal processes, whereas short or rapid-acting insulin will be needed during meal times. 

Insulin and Type 2 Diabetes

When you have type 2 diabetes, you are usually on one or more medicines to enable the pancreas to make more insulin or improve insulin sensitivity to regulate your blood sugar. But there are some conditions when you may need some insulin as well. These include:

  • When you are having surgery or in the hospital for any other reason
  • When taking some medications that interfere with insulin production
  • When your diet and exercise plans and medicines are not enough to normalize the blood sugar levels
  • When there is an emergency situation, and your blood sugar levels have to stabilize fast
  • When you are not able to meet your treatment goals via oral medicines

Diabetes might progress and, if you have type 2 diabetes, oral medicines may not suffice. Over time, these may not be enough to improve insulin sensitivity or produce more insulin. In such a scenario, you will either need to complement your medicines with insulin or switch over to insulin completely, depending on several factors. 

The basal rate is covered around 50% via basal insulin if you have type 1 diabetes and a varied percentage for type 2 diabetes with oral medication. 

There may be a situation when you need to take bolus insulin. This is a dose of fast or rapid-acting insulin taken before, during, or after a meal to balance the extra calories you take while eating. 

  • People who have type 1 diabetes will take long-acting insulin once or twice a day, which will supplement the basal rate. They will take fast or rapid-acting insulin at mealtimes. The dose will have to balance the sugar intake. 
  • People who have type 2 diabetes may start with basal insulin (if necessary) and then take bolus insulin if that is not sufficient in addition to oral medicines. 

When you take insulin injections via pump or pre-filled pens, you should ideally always keep some sugar or sweet with you. If you feel hypoglycemic or experience low sugar symptoms because you took too much insulin or did not eat enough carbohydrates, immediately take the sugar or sweet to balance the insulin intake. 

In any case, if you have diabetes, you do need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels and go for regular medical check-ups. When you watch your diet, exercise as required, and eat regularly, you can live a long and healthy life despite diabetes. 

Blood sugar testing is a vital part of diabetes management, and your basal rate may be too low if your blood sugar increases by 35-40 mg/dL, or the basal rate may be too high if your blood sugar decreases by 35-40 mg/dL. In either case, you will need to adjust your insulin or medicine dosage. 

Key Takeaways

  • The basal rate is the rate at which insulin is slowly released by the body. Insulin is vital for the body to function, for breathing, blood, heart, brain, and all organs working, regardless of whether you are active or sedentary. 
  • Insulin is necessary for the cells to function. All bodily processes require energy in the form of glycogen to carry out their activities, and this energy can only be released and used thanks to insulin. 
  • Bolus insulin is rapid-acting insulin taken around meal times – this helps balance the extra calorie intake from meals and normalizes blood sugar levels. This may be taken by people with type 1 and even type 2 diabetes (if called for).

Did you know about the connection between stress and blood sugar? If you have diabetes, you must be aware of how eating specific foods affect sugar control. 

But food is not the only cause of high sugar levels. Stress is also a factor.

In fact, stress impacts your health in many ways. It can cause digestive disturbances, headaches, mood swings, and increased sugar levels. For improved health, you have to learn to manage your stress levels.

What Is Stress?

Stress is the way you experience any change. It can impact your body and health physically, psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and chemically. You may suffer from work-related, environmental, financial, or health stresses at different times. Sometimes you may have more than one stressor. 

The highest stress-causing events are death, divorce, disease, or loss of a job. Basically, any type of loss or change can be stressful. 

Different kinds of stress are: 

  • Acute stress – this occurs for a short period. If you face a dangerous situation or an event where you feel powerless, you may experience the flight or fight response. Humans experience this from time immemorial as it was part of a survival mechanism when they faced danger from the wild and from others. This kind of stress usually resolves when the threat has passed. 
  • Chronic stress – when a stressful situation continues over a long period, you can suffer from chronic stress. This can happen if you are in an unhappy relationship, you are not satisfied with your job, or you have a health condition that may or may not be resolved, or any other reason. Occasionally acute stress can turn chronic if you cannot deal with the stressor and get on top of it. 
  • Traumatic stress – a traumatic event can cause this kind of stress. If you face danger to your life during the war, accident, or natural disaster, you can feel highly stressed, and this may take time to resolve. Some people suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) that impacts their life in many ways. This needs professional help.

When any form of stress impacts your life, it also affects your health. 

Is All Stress Bad?

While stress has negative connotations, all stress is not bad. If you had no stressors in your life, you would not be able to get lots of things done. For instance, if you do not have deadlines, you may keep procrastinating. Stress that has positive effects is known as eustress. 

If you are in a new job, relationship, house, or state, you may feel stressed, but in a good way. You will feel excited and look forward to new situations and being able to cope with them. This kind of stress improves your physical and mental well-being.

Similarly, when you exercise or adopt a new fitness regimen, you expose your body to stress. Every time you lift weights, you are stressing your muscles, bones, and even your skin. This helps keep you fit and tones your body. 

The Connection Between Stress And Blood Sugar 

Any time you face a stressful situation, your body releases hormones to deal with it. 

The three main stress hormones are:

  • Adrenaline – also known as the flight or fight hormone and is released by the adrenal glands. It allows you to feel focused, gives you more energy and strength to deal with a situation. Once the incident is over, you may feel your heartbeat has increased, and you are sweating more than usual. You may also feel exhilarated at coming out of the situation or feeling nervous about what you just faced.
  • Norepinephrine – this chemical is released by the adrenal glands and the brain. It works similarly as adrenaline but is a back-up hormone. It can work alongside adrenaline or instead of it if your body does not release sufficient adrenaline. 
  • Cortisol – this is actually the stress hormone. It is released slower than adrenaline and norepinephrine. When a lot of cortisol floods the system during acute stress or a constant stream is released during chronic stress, it increases blood sugar levels in the body. 

Since the body’s reaction to any stress requires more energy from you, it releases more sugar into the system. This is how stress and blood sugar are connected. 

What Is Diabetes Distress

Do you know there is something known as diabetes distress? This is yet another form of stress that is experienced by people who have diabetes. This kind of stress is an example of the direct connection between stress and blood sugar. 

A diagnosis of diabetes can up-end your entire life. Suddenly you have to be aware of what you eat, how much you exercise, how much medicine or insulin you need to take. You must have a great deal of knowledge and information on how to tackle your diabetes, more so when there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. 

This self-management can also cause stress, and this is what is known as diabetes distress. Daily testing, daily changes, not being able to eat the foods you want, restricting or eliminating alcohol, sweets, sodas, and eating only low glycemic index foods to manage your diabetes can also cause stress.

Diabetes distress can result in poor sugar management and increased sugar levels in your body. Apart from stress releasing more sugar into your body, poor management aggravates the sugar levels, and this tells you how stress and blood sugar are connected. It can cause exhaustion and even lead to risk-taking behavior that can increase sugar levels further, becoming a vicious cycle. 

How Can You Overcome Stress

When you have diabetes, you have all the more reason to take care of your stress. It is vital to managing your diabetes better and not letting it permeate all parts of your life. 

Here are some things you can do to overcome stress (or make it work for you):

Exercise – even brief periods of walking can help relax you and enable you to deal better with stress. If you can exercise in a gym or join an exercise class, you are away from whatever troubles you, and you can just focus on your physical fitness. This decreases stress levels in your body and reduces blood sugar levels in more ways than one.

Meditation – any kind of meditation can help. Whether it is spiritual meditation, cognitive therapy, or even mindfulness while exercising (yoga, tai-chi), controlled breathing. All these have a positive effect of reducing stress. 

Journaling – keeping a gratitude journal or writing your thoughts down in a diary will prove to be a stress-buster. If you write down all that you are grateful for daily or any positive things that happened to you every day, you will calm your brain down and release positivity. This will decrease stress and improve blood sugar control. 

Hobby – develop a hobby that takes your focus away from you and what is distressing in your situation. You can also simply relax, read a book, listen to music, or take some quiet time and de-stress.

When you know how stress and blood sugar are connected, it is up to you to stay on top of stress and keep your sugar levels under control. 

Key Takeaways

  • Stress is part of modern life – you must learn to manage your stress levels and not permit it to negatively affect your health.
  • For people with diabetes, stress can be dangerous – stress and blood sugar have a strong cause and effect connection. 
  • Stress hormones cause the body to release more sugar for quick energy, and this increases sugar levels in the body. 
  • Stress has several positives associated with it since it improves focus and concentration, but constant or chronic stress can be debilitating. Managing diabetes can by itself become a stressor for some people. 
  • Once you manage stress, you can stay on top of your sugar levels – you really don’t need any extra work to manage your diabetes and high blood sugar levels, so keeping stress at bay using any form of relaxation is essential for people with diabetes.

YES Foods

All meat & fish (including but not limited to)

  • Beef
  • Buffalo
  • Chicken
  • Clams
  • Duck
  • Eggs
  • Game meats
  • Salmon
  • Goat
  • Halibut
  • Lamb
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Mussels
  • Pork
  • Red Snapper
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
  • Swordfish
  • Tuna

Vegetables (including but not limited to)

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery/Celery Root
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic, Ginger
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce/Salad mixes
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsnips
  • Peppers
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Snow/Snap Peas
  • Spinach
  • Tomato
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini

Nuts/Seeds &Butters

  • Almond butter
  • Coconut butter
  • Chia&Hemp seeds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Pumpkin, Sunflower and Sesame Seeds
  • Tahini

Fats& Oils

  • Animal Fats, Butter
  • Ghee
  • Avocado
  • Coconut oil/milk
  • Flax oil
  • Olive oil
  • Sesame oil

Dairy

  • Milk (whole-raw if possible)
  • Heavy cream
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Yoghurt/Kefir

Beverages

  • Water, mineral water
  • Club soda
  • Coffee, espresso
  • Unsweetened teas: green, black, herbal
  • Coconut milk (full fat)
  • Almond milk (unsweetened)

NO Foods

Vegetables

  • Corn, Peas
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams
  • White Potatoes
  • Winter squash

Fruit of all kinds

See sometimes list for exceptions

Nuts/Nut Butters

  • Cashew
  • Peanut

Refined Carbohydrates

  • Bread
  • Bagels
  • Breadsticks
  • Brownies
  • Cake
  • Candy
  • Cereal/Granola
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Couscous
  • Crackers
  • Croissants
  • Cupcakes
  • Muffins
  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Pastries
  • Pita
  • Pizza
  • Popcorns
  • Rolls
  • Tortillas
  • Tortilla Chips

Beverages

  • All alcohol
  • Coffee “drinks” or shakes that are pre-sweetened
  • Juice
  • Milks;
  • Soda
  • Sweet-tasting drinks (besides herbal teas)
  • Protein powder

Sauces/Dressings

  • Soy sauce (You can use coconut aminos)
  • Bottled salad dressings (use the recipe in the book)

Supplements

  • Anything that includes sugars

Anything diet/sugar-free or artificially sweetened food or beverage items of any kind is NO. This means no gum either!

Did you know that you may have high blood sugar after exercise? If you suffer from diabetes, this is important because you should know how to deal with it. 

At the same time, you cannot do without exercise. It is crucial to keep yourself physically fit, keep your weight under control, and improve your health. When you have diabetes, you should ensure that you do the right kind of exercise and at the correct time.

The relationship between sport and blood sugar

People with diabetes have to manage their food intake, their insulin levels, and their physical activity. It is a delicate balance. 

When you exercise, your blood sugar levels fluctuate. This fluctuation varies among individuals and depends on the amount of insulin or medications you need, your physical fitness, and the intensity of exercise. Exercise usually reduces blood sugar levels over 24 hours. 

Your body reacts to exercise in different ways.

Exercise uses sugar (calories). So it reduces blood sugar levels in the body. If the sugar in the bloodstream is not enough, the liver releases glucose from its stores to make up for any deficit. This does not have any adverse effect on an average person or one who has controlled blood sugar levels. 

If you have diabetes that is not well-controlled, exercise may not be an option till your sugar levels are lower. Intense exercise, when you start, can actually release stress hormones, spiking sugar levels further. 

If your body does not have enough insulin to balance sugar levels, then the liver will release more sugar, increasing sugar levels further. You may suffer from diabetic ketoacidosis if there are ketones released, which may happen if the body turns to fat for energy. This can be dangerous as it can lead to coma.

That is why you must carefully time your food intake and exercise routine to avoid high blood sugar after exercise.

It is a good idea to exercise one to three hours after eating so that your body has enough available sugar to carry out physical activities. Research says that one and half hours after eating is the best time to exercise. 

Avoid exercising before a meal and even after dinner, as your blood sugar may go drastically low when you are asleep. 

Hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia

Knowing about the symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia is a must. When you notice any of them, you can take corrective action fast and avoid any severe consequences. 

Exercise can cause hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia in people whose blood sugar levels are not well-balanced and who may over-exercise. 

Symptoms of hyperglycemia or high blood sugar include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Higher frequency of urination
  • Weakness
  • Blurring of vision
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness or anxiety

Symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar include:

  • Lightheadedness or feeling faint
  • Hunger
  • Feeling shaky
  • Sweating
  • Reduced concentration or focus
  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Seizures

Depending on the sugar levels you have, the medicines or insulin you are taking, and the exercise, you may feel more than one symptom. 

High blood sugar after exercise

When you exercise, you use energy, so it seemingly does not make sense why there should be high blood sugar after exercise. Say your blood sugar is under control under normal circumstances. Why should it spike after exercise, which is supposed to have the opposite effect?

Here’s why it can happen.

If you exercise hard or for a long time, the body releases adrenaline. This hormone increases blood sugar levels. At the same time, the insulin in the body is not enough to utilize the available sugar. The liver and kidney will release more sugar in response. 

This becomes a double whammy. Low insulin and high blood sugar can be dangerous. 

How to deal with high blood sugar after exercise

Exercise has many health benefits for everyone, even more so for people with diabetes. If you are worried about high blood sugar after exercise or have already experienced it, here are 3 things you should do.

Test

You should know your blood sugar levels to control them before, during, and after exercise. This is particularly true if you are just starting out to exercise after a diabetes diagnosis. 

  • If your blood sugar is 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L), it is too low, and you need to balance it by taking some glucose tablets, a sweet, or a snack.
  • When your blood sugar is 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9mmol/L), you are in the safe pre-exercise range.
  • With a blood sugar of 250 mg/dL (13.9mmol/L) or more, it is high, and you should test your urine for ketones. 
  • If your sugar levels are over 300 mg/dL (16.7mmo/L), your urine test will reveal ketones, and you will need to take some insulin or medicines and then wait and test again. Only when there are no ketones is it safe to exercise. 

Recheck your blood sugar levels after exercising and several hours later so that you don’t suffer from low sugar levels when you are asleep. 

Rest

Avoid exercising till your sugar levels have stabilized. And then start slowly and don’t do strenuous exercise. A steady rate of cardio is better than short but intense bursts of activity if this causes sugar spikes. Once your sugar levels are under control, you can do some more strenuous exercise.

Hydrate

Drinking more water helps remove high blood sugar. Even minor dehydration can affect sugar levels in people with diabetes and lead to 50-100 mg/dL higher sugar levels. Exercising in summer can increase your water requirement, so make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses or more of water daily. 

Apart from this, you must check with your health care practitioner what kind of exercise is suitable for you. They will advise the best course of action given your age, weight, physical fitness levels, diabetic management goals, and blood sugar levels. 

Always listen to your body. If you show any signs or symptoms that something is wrong, get checked. 

Key takeaways 

  • Contrary to the widespread perception that exercise reduces sugar levels, some forms of exercise can cause high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. This happens when your body’s insulin levels are not enough to use up the sugar, and the adrenaline released increases sugar stores even further.
  • Balance your exercise, insulin (or medicines), and food and water intake. They will help prevent high sugar levels after exercise and prevent any health problems. 
  • Test your blood sugar often enough – it is easy enough to test your sugar yourself, thanks to the monitors available. And don’t forget to follow medical advice before starting any new exercise and diet routines. 
  • Take the correct action to avoid hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Eat the right foods at regular intervals and drink sufficient water instead of soda and sweet beverages to prevent sugar spikes and crashes. 

Meal plan: Meat Lovers

Day 1

Breakfast : Tomato-Basil Quiche with Bacon and Spinach

Lunch: Tandoori Roasted Cauliflower Soup and 3-ingredient Massaged Kale, Avocado Salad

Snack: Anti-inflammatory Herb Tea + Handful of almonds and blueberries

Dinner: Chicken Meatballs + Mint Citrus Snap Peas with Pistachios

Post dinner snack: Sugar-free Almond Bark

Day 2

Breakfast : Brain-Boosting Protein Avocado Green Smoothie

Lunch: Leftover Chicken meatballs on top of Easy Salad Bowl

Snack: Veggie Chips

Dinner: Crispy Salmon Arugula Salad

Post dinner snack: Cinnamon Spiced Apple Slices

Day 3

Breakfast : Cacao Protein Power Smoothie

Lunch: Easy Salad Bowl/Leftover Tandoori roasted Cauliflower Soup or Tomato Basil Quiche

Snack: Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Slices

Dinner: Turmeric-Spiced Chicken Drumsticks + Creamy Cauliflower mash

Post dinner snack: GMO-Free Popcorn with Cinnamon Melted Coconut oil

Day 4

Breakfast : Two hard boiled eggs and 1/2 cup of blueberries or raspberries

Lunch: Quick and Easy Salad Protein Bowl/leftovers

Snack: Edamame

Dinner: Herbed Chicken and Sweet Potato Casserole

Post dinner snack: 3-ingredient 85% Cacao Chocolate Fondue with Strawberries

Day 5

Breakfast : Scrambled Eggs and Avocado Buckwheat Pizza

Lunch: Leftovers from Yesterday

Snack: Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Slices

Dinner: Roasted Tomato and Shrimp Zucchini Spaghetti Squash

Post dinner snack: Salami Slice with Rice Cakes

Day 6

Breakfast : Sweet Potato Crusted Sausage Quiche Casserole

Lunch: Butternut Squash Lentil Carrot Soup or Delicious Avocado Hemp Salad

Snack: Anti-Inflammatory Herb Tea + Handful of cashew nuts and raspberries

Dinner: Almond Flour Cottage Pancakes with Blueberries

Post dinner snack: Celery Stick with Hummus

Day 7

Breakfast : Leftovers (Sweet Potato Crusted Sausage Quiche Casserole or Cottage Pancakes)

Lunch: Chicken Steak with Low-Carb Veggies

Snack: Edamame

Dinner: Lamb Stuffed Zucchini with Greek Spices

Post dinner snack: Salami Slice with Rice Cakes

Do you know what the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is? When you hear about diabetes, you may have some vague idea that it is a severe disease but can be managed with lifestyle changes, diet modifications, and medicines. 

Both types of diabetes have the same diagnostic tests and symptoms. However, their causes and treatments are very different. Let’s see what the differences are.

What is type 1 diabetes?

To understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, you should know what these variants are. 

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease. At one time, it was commonly called juvenile diabetes because it affects youngsters more frequently than adults. It is also called insulin-dependent diabetes.

That is because the immune system in the body destroys the cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production. Usually, there is no insulin in the body that can be used for this reason.

The reasons that this variant develops are not very clear. It may occur due to genetic reasons or even an attack by viruses, as some people develop type 1 diabetes after an illness. Some babies may even be born with this disease. 

Typically, it can be found in children between the ages of 4 and 14, though it can occur at any age. Often, it happens without warning and quite suddenly.

The symptoms

Among the symptoms of type 1 diabetes are:

  • Extreme thirst and hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive problems and nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Repeated infections in the skin or genitals
  • Mood swings
  • Bed wetting in older children or smaller kids who have been dry for long
  • Smelly urine or breath, often a fruity smell that comes from ketones

Most symptoms occur very quickly, so when several symptoms are suddenly present, it is wiser to get checked. 

The risks

Poorly controlled type 1 diabetes carries many risks, no matter the patient’s age. Diabetes can cause:

  • Kidney disease
  • Cardiovascular problems (heart disease and stroke)
  • Dental problems with the gums getting affected
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Eye disease and vision disorders
  • Persistent skin infections
  • Foot problems like ulcers or tingling

You will need to maintain normal blood sugar levels to fight it.

Treatment options

Your body needs insulin at regular intervals. It can be done via injections given 3 times a day or more frequently as advised. 

Alternatively, the insulin can be delivered with an insulin pump, which delivers calibrated doses of insulin at timed intervals. The actual pump is worn outside the body, while the needle is usually inserted in the abdomen. 

Different types of insulin, such as short-acting, rapid-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting, may be combined. It depends on your body’s response to it. Regular blood sugar monitoring is also necessary, and you may have to take your blood sugar 4 times a day. Some pumps can do all this automatically.

At the same time, you must watch what you eat, have more fruits and vegetables and whole foods and grains instead of processed foods. It is also essential to balance your intake with adequate amounts of exercise. 

What is type 2 diabetes?

When you want to know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, you should know more about the variations. This is the form of diabetes that affects 90% of all patients with diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance in the body. Either the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or the body cannot use the insulin it makes. Since the sugar is not used by the cells, it stays in the blood and increases sugar levels in the body. And high sugar levels, because of diabetes, can cause many health problems.

Research has not found any definitive cause for Type 2 diabetes. Risk factors include age (over 45), high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, low diet, lack of physical activity, obesity, family history, and race. Usually, a combination of factors results in Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is often not diagnosed in the early stages as symptoms are easy to overlook and often creep up slowly. Some people may not even have many symptoms or put them down to other causes. 

The symptoms 

Among the many symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are:

  • Frequent need to pee, particularly at night
  • Thirst
  • Hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Dry skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Moodiness
  • Slow healing of cuts, wounds, and sores
  • More than normal infections

Unlike type 1 diabetes, where many symptoms appear quickly, undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes can be more dangerous in the long run. 

The risks

When excess sugar is in the bloodstream constantly, it can damage organs and cause many health problems. Uncontrolled or poorly controlled type 2 diabetes can cause:

  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Foot problems
  • Neuropathy
  • Vision problems (including vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy)
  • Urinary problems, including frequent urinary tract infections
  • Gum disease and dental issues
  • Sexual problems (loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and more)

It is vital to manage the sugar levels optimally to avoid these severe health problems.

Treatment options

Type 2 diabetes affects each person differently. As there are many medications available to treat this, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Your doctor will have to personalize your combination of drugs. This depends on how your body reacts to the medicines and your sugar levels. 

Medicines for type 2 diabetes have diverse ways of working; they include:  

  • Metformin – lowers blood glucose levels, improves the body’s response to insulin.
  • Sulfonylureas and meglitinides – improves insulin production and stimulate pancreas.
  • Thiazolidinediones – improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists – improve blood sugar levels by slowing digestion.
  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors – don’t allow the kidneys to reabsorb glucose into the blood and sending to the urine.

Depending on your sugar levels and how you react to the medicines, your doctor may put you on one or more drugs to manage your diabetes or offer you insulin injections. Any change in medication and dosage must be closely monitored until your sugar levels stabilize.

Type 2 diabetes is not just another disease that will yield to medicines. You have to be on top of it and balance your diet, exercise, physical activity, and medicine to achieve balance and normalize blood sugar levels. It is also crucial that you lose weight if you are overweight, reduce stress levels, and be physically active (150 minutes of exercise a week is recommended).

Key Takeaways

  • Type-1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, often affecting younger people – it can occasionally affect older people.
  • Type-2 diabetes is more common, affecting 90% of patients.
  • Know the symptoms and seek medical advice as soon as you feel something is not right. 
  • Both types of diabetes can be managed—type 1 with insulin injections and type 2 with insulin or other medicines and lifestyle interventions.
  • Knowing the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabeteswill enable you to take steps to stay healthy.