What's diabetes

chinacdc.cn | Updated: 2022-04-08
Diabetes is a chronic disease, which occurs when one's pancreas can’t generate enough insulin or his or her body can’t effectively utilize insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycemia or elevated blood sugar is the result of uncontrolled diabetes, which will harm the various systems of the human body, especially the nerve system and the blood vessels.
Type I diabetes
The main characteristic of type I diabetes is a lack of insulin secretion capacity and the need to inject insulin on a daily basis. The cause of type I diabetes is unknown and the disorder is hard to prevent. 
The symptoms of type I diabetes include excessive urine secretion, thirst, a sense of hunger, loss of weight, hypopsia and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.
Type II diabetes
Type II diabetes is caused by the body's inability to utilize insulin efficiently. About 90 percent of diabetic patients around the world suffer from type II diabetes, which results from being overweight or a lack of exercise. 
Its symptoms are similar to type I diabetes and are not obvious. Diabetes may not be diagnosed until many years after the onset of the disease. 
Gestational diabetes mellitus
Gestational diabetes mellitus is a hyperglycemia that occurs in pregnancy. 
Gestational diabetes mellitus is similar to Type II diabetes, and is usually diagnosed by prenatal screening, not through reported symptoms.
Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT) and Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) are indicators of the human body’s blood glucose level between the normal value and diabetic blood glucose value. Patients with IGT or IFG face the risk of type II diabetes, although it is not inevitable.
Common consequences of diabetes
Diabetes may harm the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. 
Diabetes increases the risks of getting heart disease and stroke, which are the causes of death of about 50 percent of diabetic patients. It also raises the possibility of foot ulcers, which can eventually lead to amputation. 
Diabetic retinopathy is a major cause of blindness. It results from long-term accumulated damage to small retinal vessels. After 15 years, about two percent of diabetic patients will go blind and 10 percent of them will suffer severe vision loss.
Diabetes is a main cause of renal failure. About 10 to 20 percent of diabetic patients die from renal failure.
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage caused by diabetes that affects up to 50 percent of diabetic patients.
Generally speaking, the death risk of diabetic patients is double that of people of the same age without the disease. 
How to relieve the symptoms of diabetes

It has been shown that changing life style is effective for preventing or delaying the occurrence of type II diabetes. People should:
Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Take regular exercises with at least 30 minutes per session.
Keep a healthy diet. Have fruits and vegetables three to five times a day and reduce the intake of sugar and saturated fat.
Avoid using tobacco — smoking will increase the risk of getting cardiovascular diseases. 
Diagnosis and treatment
Diabetes can be diagnosed by blood tests at an early stage. 
The treatment of diabetes includes reducing blood glucose and other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Quitting smoking is also important for avoiding complications. 
1. The cost-saving intervening measures for developing countries include:
Adequate control of blood glucose. Type I diabetic patients need to inject insulin and type II diabetic patients can take medicine for treatment, but may also need to inject insulin;
Blood pressure control;
Foot care.
2. Other cost-saving measures:
Retinopathy screening and treatment;
Blood fat control (regulate cholesterol levels);
Screening for early symptoms of kidney diseases related to diabetes.
In addition to taking these measures, people should also maintain a healthy diet, take exercise, maintain a normal weight and avoid smoking.