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Endocrinology

Diabetes

Diabetes is characterized by chronic hyperglycemia, that is to say an excess of sugar in the blood and therefore a level of glucose (blood sugar) that is too high.

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, known as Diabetes, refers to a class of diseases that damage the way your body uses blood sugar (glucose). The function of glucose is vital for your health; it is an essential energy source for the cells that create tissues and muscles. Glucose is the main source of fuel for your brain.

There are different types of Diabetes, which can lead to excess sugar in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood can cause serious health problems.


Chronic Diabetic diseases include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Reversible diabetic diseases include prediabetes; this happens when the blood sugar level is higher than normal. However, it is not high enough to be classified as Diabetes. Gestational Diabetes occurs during pregnancy but can be cured once the baby is born.



Causes of Diabetes

  • Diabetes type 1 (once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes)


There's no exact cause for Type 1 Diabetes. The immune system fights off harmful bacteria or viruses, destroying the cells that make insulin in the pancreas, leaving your body with little or no insulin. Sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead of being transported to your cells.


  • Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes


Cells become strong to the action of insulin, and the pancreas cannot make the insulin it needs. Causing sugar to build up in your bloodstream, instead of passing into your cells necessary for energy.

It is believed that its a consequence of various genetic and environmental factors. Being overweight is one of the causes of the development of type 2 diabetes, but not all overweight people have diabetes.

Prediabetes means you have a high sugar level in your blood. It is not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes, but without a lifestyle change, adults and children with prediabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.


  • Gestational diabetes

In the period of pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to aid in pregnancy. Hormones allow your cells to become more resistant to insulin.

The pancreas generally produces less extra insulin to overcome this resistance. Despite this, sometimes the pancreas cannot keep up, causing insufficient glucose to reach your cells, remaining in your blood; this can cause gestational diabetes.


Symptoms of Diabetes


Symptoms vary depending on the type of Diabetes and the amount of rising sugar. In general, patients with prediabetes or type 2 Diabetes do not usually have symptoms at first. Symptoms in type 1 Diabetes usually appear quickly and are more severe. 


Following are the most common symptoms of type 1 and type 2 Diabetes:

 

  • Increased appetite 

  • Fatigue 

  • Slow-healing wounds 

  • Irritability Frequent infections

  • Excessive thirst 

  • Unexplained weight loss 

  • Ketones in the urine 

  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urge to urinate 

Type 1 Diabetes can appear at any age. However, it is most common during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 Diabetes is the most common Diabetes, it is more common in people over 40 years of age.

Risk factors of Diabetes

Diabetes type 1

  • Family background

  • Environmental factors

  • Cells of the immune system that cause damage

  • Geographic location, some countries, such as Sweden and Finland, have higher rates of type 1 diabetes

Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes

  • Family background

  • Age, as you get older, you have a high probability of developing it

  • Weight

  • High blood pressure

  • Race and people of Asian, African, Hispanic, and Indo-American descent are at higher risk for it

  • Physical inactivity

  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

  • Gestational diabetes, in case of having had gestational diabetes in pregnancy, the risk of having prediabetes and type 2 diabetes increases

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common disease, characterized by irregular menstrual periods, abundant hair growth and obesity

  • Gestational diabetes

Diagnosis for Diabetes


The Endocrinologist will perform a physical exam, asking questions about your symptoms, lifestyle, and medical history.
The class of tests to be performed will depend on the results of your Diagnosis.

Following are some of the possible tests that the endocrinologist could perform:
Most of these tests are done in a Laboratory.

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test indicates your average blood sugar level in the last two to three months. A result of an A1C level of 6.5% or higher on the test indicates you have diabetes. A level between 5.7% and 6.4% means that you have prediabetes. Below, 5.7 is considered normal.
  • Random blood sugar test, used in case the A1C test is not accurate or is not available.
  • Fasting blood sugar test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
  • Urine analysis
  • Gestational diabetes tests
  • Initial glucose load test

Treatment for Diabetes 

The treatment administered by your Endocrinologist varies depending on the type of diabetes you have. Common treatment options include: 

  • Medicines to control blood sugar 

  • Eat a healthy diet 

  • Eat vegetables and fruits 

  • Eat foods that are rich in fiber Reduce the consumption of saturated fat keep a healthy weight Exercise regularly 

Treatments for Type 1 and 2 Diabetes 

  • Insulin injections or an insulin pump, allow controlling the level of sugar in the blood, and the calculation of carbohydrates 

  • Take the A1C test at least every two or three months 

  • Medicines 

  • Pancreas transplant 

  • Bariatric surgery, people who suffer from obesity and with a body mass index greater than 35 can have good results with this type of surgery 

Treatment for Gestational Diabetes 

  • Maintain a healthy diet 

  • Do exercises recommended by your doctor 

  • Control of blood sugar level 

  • If it's necessary, the endocrinologist can prescribe insulin or oral medications 

Treatment for prediabetes 

  • Maintain a healthy diet 

  • Exercise regularly 

  • Medicines, such as metformin 

  • Medicines for Cholesterol control 

Living with Diabetes

When you have already been diagnosed with Diabetes, follow the treatment provided by your Endocrinologist. Living a healthy lifestyle can help you control this disease.

Some things to consider that could help improve the quality of life are:

  • Eat healthily, you can go to a Nutritionist to make a plan that suits your needs.

  • Go to your appointments with the Endocrinologist.

  • Reduce stress

  • Keeping up with your vaccines

  • In the case of consuming alcohol, do it moderately

  • Do not smoke

  • Do regular exercise 

¿When do you have to see a doctor?

Make your appointment with the Endocrinologist in case of presenting any of the characteristics and symptoms mentioned; or in case of detecting another abnormal symptom.

When consulting your Endocrinologist, we recommend keeping a record of your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Mention any medications that you are taking.

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