Diabetes is a chronic disease that can be treated and controlled. It is caused by a shortage or deficiency of a hormone called insulin. There are different types of diabetes, namely, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and other, rarer types.
Type 1 diabetes appears most often during childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. It affects approximately 10% of people with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. It is characterized by an acquired failure to produce insulin. Therefore, type 1 diabetics depend on daily insulin injections or an insulin pump to ensure their survival.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes (90% of cases). It generally manifests in adulthood, in individuals aged 40 years and over. Unfortunately, in recent years, we have been seeing it appear in increasingly younger people, for example, in cases of childhood obesity. There are many causes for type 2 diabetes. Genetics and environment in particular can cause this chronic disease to develop. Most often, an interaction between these two factors triggers a resistance to how insulin acts to get glucose into the cells of our body. This causes an increase in insulin production which cannot be maintained over time. And so patients need to start self-injecting insulin to make up the shortage. The good news is that prevention is possible, by making lifestyle changes:
- Take your diabetes medications (insulin or oral medication) as prescribed to control your blood sugar.
- Rigorously manage your diet.
- Do physical exercise.
- Make sure you follow up with your doctor.
Remember that diabetes doubles the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.