Symptoms and Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes is a type of endocrine disorder that is characterized by the process in which the body handles and breaks down glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is used by the body as its chief source of energy. Typically, food is turned into glucose and when it is needed, it is turned back into energy, but for those with diabetes, something goes wrong when it is turned back into energy.

Common Symptoms of Diabetes

Often, diabetes goes undiagnosed for a long time, until the symptoms are noted and a doctor is seen. Many times the symptoms of non-insulin dependent diabetes, or Type II Diabetes, are very mild, so it is more common for Type II diabetes to go unnoticed than it is for Type I Diabetes to go undiagnosed.

For those with Type I Diabetes, which is also referred to as Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, the symptoms are very likely to quickly occur. The symptoms of Type I Diabetes include hunger, weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue, irritability, and vomiting.

People with Type II Diabetes will often experience the same symptoms as those with Type I Diabetes, although they do so at a much slower rate. In addition, they will also often experience wounds that are slow to heal or recur, as well as bladder and gum infections. Itching, numbness, and tingling sensations are often felt in the feet and hands, as well as blurred vision and drowsiness.

Causes of Diabetes

In most cases, aside from secondary diabetes, which is caused by damage to the pancreas, the exact causes of diabetes are unknown. It is thought that with Type I Diabetes, viral infections are at least partly to blame and trigger an autoimmunity response from the body. An autoimmune response is when the body begins to attack itself, because it thinks that it is fighting an infection, when in reality it is destroying itself. In the case of diabetes, the autoimmune response would attack the pancreas, which is the gland that produces insulin.

Obesity is thought to play a big role in the development of Type II Diabetes, as those who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing this type of non-insulin dependent diabetes. Heredity could also play a role, but its link is not directly known.

In the case of insulin dependent diabetes, or Type I diabetes as it is most often called, there is no known way to prevent it. However, for type II Diabetes, maintaining a normal bodyweight has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing non-insulin dependent diabetes.

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