Diabetes Risk Factors: Signs and Symptoms

Diabetes can be diagnosed at any age, owing to heredity, lifestyle and habits. But, usually type 1 diabetes is known to be more frequent in children and adults.

The cases of diabetes are on a rise every day and all of us should be informed about how to tackle type 1 diabetes to track symptoms and fight the disease.

Type 1 diabetes, commonly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition where no insulin or very little insulin is produced by the pancreas.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to allow glucose to enter cells to produce energy. A more common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes.

This condition develops in an individual when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce required amounts of insulin.

Various factors contribute to an individual being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, like exposure to certain viruses, genetics, lifestyle choices etc.

Those with type 1 diabetes are usually not obese and initially show symptoms of diabetes ketoacidosis (DKA). These patients are dependent on exogenous insulin to counter low levels.

Autoimmunity plays a major role in the pathopysiology of type 1 diabetes. An individual prone to type 1 diabetes through genetics may generate the production of antibodies against a viral protein trigger in an autoimmune response against antigenically similar beta cell molecules.

In most people, the individual’s immune system that normally fights harmful bacteria and viruses destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. An individual’s exposure to certain environmental factors such as viruses may also trigger the disease.

Diabetes Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms:

Symptoms at the time of the fist clinical presentation can usually be traced back several days to weeks. The destructing of beta-cells may have started months or even years, before the onset of clinical symptoms.

Neuropathy affects up to 50 per cent type 1 diabetes but symptomatic neuropathy develops in the later stages, usually after years of chronic and prolonged hyperglycemia.

Peripheral neuropathy is seen as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet and is bilateral, symmetric and ascending.

Also Read: What is Diabetes and Its Types

Risk Factors:

• Family history – Any individual with a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes has an increased risk of developing the condition.

• Genetics – A ready indicator is the presence of certain genes, which increase the chances of developing type 1 diabetes.

• Geography – The incidence of type 1 diabetes tends to increase as a person moves away from the equator. People living in Finland and Sardinia are at a higher risk of developing type 1 diabetes, about two to three times higher than those living in the US and 400 higher than people living in Venezuela.

• Age – The onset of diabetes can appear in children aged between 4-7 years or 10-14 years.

May other possible factors for type 1 diabetes have also been investigated, although none have been proven? Other possible risk factors that may contribute to the diabetes include the following.

  • Exposure to certain viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackie virus, mumps virus and cytomegalovirus.
  • Early exposure to cow’s milk.
  • Insufficient levels of vitamin D.
  • Drinking water contaminated with nitrates.
  • Early (before four months) or late (after seven months) introduction of cereal and gluten.
  • A mother who had preeclampsia during pregnancy.
  • Infants afflicted with jaundice.

“Those with type 1 diabetes are usually not obese and initially show symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). These patients are dependent on exogenous insulin to counter low levels.”

If you suspect that you or your child might have type 1 diabetes, get a medical checkup immediately. A simple blood test can let your doctor know if you need further evaluation and treatment.

Once the diagnosis for type 1 diabetes is done, a follow-up is mandatory until the blood sugar levels stabilize and a doctor determines the most effective type and doses of insulin. A doctor who specializes in hormonal disorders generally coordinates diabetes care.

Healthy eating and regular exercise plays an important role in combating diabetes. Patients with diabetes also need foods rich in nutrients to meet the demands of their body.

Therefore, plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be eaten. Limit animal products and sweets. Make physical activity a part of your routines as it helps improve glucose levels, regulates blood pressure, prevent weight gain and keep the heart healthy.

Be aware that any physical activity can lower blood sugar levels and it is important that you talk to your doctor before beginning any new activity. Always, monitor changes in your blood sugar levels as you may need to adjust your diet plan and insulin dosage accordingly.

SOURCE: B-Positive Health Magazine

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