While the exact cause of diabetes is yet unknown, the immune system that fights infections, suddenly begins to attack, and destroy the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin is needed to allow the cells in the muscles, fat and liver to absorb glucose in the blood. With low absorption of glucose and with high glucose content in the blood, multiple health conditions are caused including cardiovascular diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage and eye damage. Sometimes, even amputation of the limbs. A timely diabetes test can reveal the blood sugar levels in your blood and hence, can indicate whether you are prediabetic or diabetic. Appropriate treatment and care can be implemented afterwards. A blood sample will be taken by our phlebotomist and submitted to the lab. Some precautions may be advised before the blood sample is drawn.
The medical name for diabetes is diabetes mellitus. It is a metabolic disease. The ability of your body that turns your food into energy is impacted when you get diabetes. Your body gets this energy from sugar. It is also called glucose. The food that you eat is broken down into sugar and then released into your bloodstream. This sugar is then absorbed by your body by a hormone called insulin.
Although insulin performs many metabolic functions in the body, one of its main responsibilities is to regulate the consumption and level of glucose and fat in your blood. It informs your liver and other muscles on how to absorb sugar and fat so that the energy can be distributed throughout your body. If there is additional sugar available, insulin signals liver to store this additional sugar as glycogen so that when the body is not receiving energy externally, it can be obtained internally through the stored glucose. A timely diabetes test can reveal the levels of sugar in your blood and hence, confirm whether you have diabetes or not.
When something goes wrong with insulin, your body doesn’t know how to handle glucose, leading to symptoms of diabetes. Insulin is produced by the pancreas. In diabetes, either not enough insulin is produced, or the insulin that is present is incapable of absorbing sugar, leading to higher levels of sugar in the blood.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
There can be different symptoms for type I diabetes and type II diabetes.
Type I diabetes symptoms:
Constantly feeling thirsty.
Feeling very hungry even when you have just eaten.
Cuts and bruises are slow to heal.
Type II diabetes symptoms:
Urinating repeatedly at night.
Constantly feeling very tired.
Sudden weight loss.
Strange tingling in the feet that can be painful sometimes.
Cuts and wounds take a very long time to heal.
Blurry vision or even blindness in some cases.
Types of diabetes
Mainly there are three types of diabetes: type I, type II and gestational diabetes (diabetes when pregnant).
Type I diabetes
It is known to be an autoimmune disease. It means, the body begins to attack itself by mistake. In most of the cases, the body stops making insulin and you need to take insulin either through tablets or syringe. It is a less prevalent type of diabetes among the diabetes patients with around 5-10% people having type I diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and adults. In type I diabetes, you need to take insulin every day. It is not yet known how type I diabetes can be prevented.
Type II diabetes
Your body might be using insulin, but it doesn’t use the hormone well and cannot keep the levels of blood sugar in your blood in safe proportions. 90-95% of people who have diabetes have type II diabetes. It doesn’t manifest suddenly, and it may take many years to show the symptoms. Hence, it is very important to get your blood sugar level tested through the diabetes test even when you spend a normal lifestyle. Type II diabetes can be prevented or delayed by following a healthy lifestyle such as losing excess weight, regular exercise and eating healthy food.
This type of diabetes develops in pregnant women even if they have never had diabetes before. There can be health problems for the baby if the pregnant woman develops gestational diabetes. The diabetes goes away after the baby is born, but there is an increased risk of the child getting type II diabetes later in life. The child may also be obese in the early years or during teens.
Frequently Asked Questions
What symptoms indicate that I should get a diabetes test done?
The symptoms for type I and type II diabetes usually overlap with the difference that type I diabetes normally happens among children and young adults and type II diabetes develops in the later age. If you have been consuming unhealthy food and your live a sedentary lifestyle, even when you don’t show any symptoms, you should get a diabetes test. Otherwise, you should get a diabetes test if you experience the following symptoms: Slow healing wounds. Unexplained hunger even after eating food. Frequent urination. Sudden weight loss. Tingling sensation in your feet that doesn’t go away. Blurry vision or sudden blindness.
Why is getting a diabetes test done important?
When there is not enough insulin to absorb the sugar in your blood, it puts extra strain on your liver and kidneys. If despite the symptoms, you don’t get a diabetes test done, eventually your body may go into shock. Even if that doesn’t happen, your liver may get permanently damaged and the kidneys may stop working due to the extra work they need to do. Hence, it is very important that you get your diabetes test done as early as possible, either when the symptoms become apparent or for some time you have been living a lifestyle that can invite diabetes.
Are there different types of diabetes? Are all types of diabetes dangerous?
One can be prediabetic which means the blood sugar levels are higher than normal in the blood but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. If the blood sugar level is higher, you can be type I or type II diabetic. Type I diabetes is not very common among diabetics as only 5-10% of people who have diabetes have type I diabetes. Mostly children and young adults are afflicted with type I diabetes. Type II diabetes is more common. It normally comes later in life and there are many lifestyle factors that can attract type II diabetes such as being overweight or continuously consuming unhealthy food. An appropriate diabetes test can tell you whether you have type I diabetes type II diabetes. Gestational diabetes happens to expecting women. It lasts the pregnancy period and normally goes away. But, it can cause complications to the baby.
Should I take a diabetes test if I’m prediabetic?
Prediabetic symptoms are not as amplified as the symptoms of type I or type II diabetes. But yes, there are some indications that should raise red flags and you should promptly get a diabetes test done. It is only after the test you can find whether you are prediabetic or diabetic.
Is diabetes a lifestyle problem?
Whereas type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease and nothing much can be done, type II diabetes can be controlled with a healthier lifestyle. You should maintain a healthy body mass index. You should reduce the amount of saturated fat in the diet. Consume whole grain foods and increase the intake of vegetables. Other dietary fibers are also good. Adopt an active lifestyle. Go for a brisk walking. Do cycling on a relatively flat terrain. You can also do jogging or go swimming. If you are overweight, make losing extra weight a priority.
Even at the smallest of indications, you should get a diabetes test done so that you can make alterations in your lifestyle to stop the problem from aggravating.