Diabetes – types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment

Diabetes is a disease that occurs due to the body’s inability to process blood sugar leading to high blood sugar in the body. This happens as the pancreas either produces insufficient insulin or the body develops resistance to insulin.

diabetes - types,causes,symptoms,diagnosis,treatment


There are approximately 4 different types of diabetes and they include;

  • Type 1 diabetes – This is the most common type of diabetes. It occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. What triggers the attack has not been established so far.
  • Type 2 diabetes – This one occurs when the body develops resistance to insulin thus causing sugar levels to build up and increase.
  • Prediabetes – occurs when the blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough for type 2 diabetes diagnosis
  • Gestational diabetes – This one occurs during pregnancy when insulin blocking hormones are produced by the placenta.


Among the causes of diabetes, the main factor is increase in blood sugar levels due to insulin reduction or impairment. There are risk factors that can also accelerate diabetes.

Each type of diabetes has its own risk factors that can increase the persons ability of getting that particular type. Below are the risk factors for each type;

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes

  • Age – This type is more prevalent in children and teenagers than in adults.
  • Family history – if a parent or sibling has type 1 diabetes, there is a very high risk you will also suffer from it
  • Geography – This type is very common in Finland and Sweden

Possible risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

No actual causes of these types of diabetes have been established but the following factors have been found to be able to increase a person’s possibility to suffer from them;

  • Weight – Fat people tend to suffer from this disease at a higher percentage because their bodies develop more resistance to insulin than people who are not overweight.
  • Family history – If there is a family member suffering from this type of diabetes, there is a very high likelihood another person from the same family will suffer the same disease.
  • Age – These types tend to increase as a person ages but type 2 diabetes is also very common in children, teenagers, and younger adults.
  • Race – According to research, it has been established that these types are very common in some races such as black people, Hispanics, American Indians, and Asian Americans but no supportive scientific evidence as to why this happens has been established.
  • Inactivity – Not involving yourself in either vigorous or simple exercises increases your chances of contracting this type of diabetes.
  • High blood pressure – Having high blood pressure increases your chances of suffering from type 2. This is the reason why some people might be diagnosed with high blood sugar and high blood pressure at the same time
  • Suffering from gestational diabetes – Women who developed gestational diabetes when pregnant have a higher risk of suffering from prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • Having high triglycerides – Triglycerides is another type of fat in the body. Increased levels of triglycerides increase your possibility of suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

  • Weight – Being overweight before pregnancy increases your chances of contracting this type of diabetes when pregnant.
  • Age – This type tends to be more common in women above the age of 25 years.
  • Family history – If any family member has ever suffered from this type of diabetes, there is a very high possibility you will also suffer from it.
  • Having suffered from gestational diabetes in the past pregnancy
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome (POS)


Diabetes can show different signs and symptoms depending on the type. The following are the common symptoms;

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst due to dehydration
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Sores/bruises that don’t heal faster
  • Irritability

Symptoms in children

  • Frequent urination
  • A child who doesn’t wet bed starting to wet the bed again
  • Drinking too much water
  • Becoming tired quite often
  • Frequent illness
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

  • Extreme hunger
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Urinating always
  • Frequent thirst
  • Weight loss

Symptoms of diabetes (type 2)

The symptoms of diabetes type 2 include;

  • Sores and bruises that don’t heal easily
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Frequent urination
  • Tiredness


This disease can cause different complications if not controlled. Some of the general effects of diabetes include;

  • Heart diseases
  • Kidney damage
  • Eye damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Depression
  • Foot complications due to nerve damage or poor blood circulation to the feet
  • Hearing problems
  • Increased risk of skin infections
  • Increased risks of dementia


Gestational diabetes develops complications in both the mother and the baby. The complications may include;

  • If not treated it can cause the death of the baby
  • Premature birth
  • Jaundice
  • Can develop into type 2 later in the life of the baby
  • Causes low blood sugar
  • Can cause subsequent gestational diabetes
  • Birth of an overweight baby
  • Preeclampsia – this is a condition characterized by high blood pressure, excess protein in urine and swelling of legs and arms


There are three major diagnosis tests that the American Diabetes Association (ADA) sees to be very vital and can easily detect this disease. The diabetes diagnosis methods include;

  • A1C TEST – This one is used to measure a person’s average sugar consumption for 2 – 3 months. This test does not require a person to drink anything or fast and this is why is seen as being very appropriate. It displays the results in percentages and if it shows a percentage that is equal to or greater than 6.5, it means you have diabetes.
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FTG) – This test is usually carried out early in the morning before breakfast or after a person has fasted for 8 hours. No taking anything for 8 hours if this test is to be carried out on you. Results will be displayed in mg/dl and if the value is equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl, the person is diabetic.
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – This test is carried out two times. The doctor measures your blood sugar level 2 hours before taking a sweet drink and then measures again 2hrs after you have taken a sweet drink. This test is used to establish how your body processes sugar. Results are displayed in mg/dl and if it is equal or more than 200 mg/dl, the person is diabetic.
  • Random/Casual Plasma Glucose Test – This one can be carried at any time of the day if the person has chronic symptoms. Its results are similar to the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test.


Treatment depends widely on the type the person is suffering from. Below are the methods that can be used in the treatment of diabetes;

  • Using insulin – For people with type 1 and type 2, insulin injection or inhalation can be recommended for them. It can also be administered to people with gestational diabetes. Insulin types are grouped according to how long their effects last. They can include; rapid-acting insulin, regular, long-acting insulin, and intermediate. Insulin cannot be administered orally due to the presence of stomach enzymes. Depending on your condition, a doctor might recommend more than one type of insulin for you to us throughout the day.
  • Healthy eating – A person diagnosed with diabetes can be advised to reduce or even stop sugar intake for some time in order to reduce their blood sugar level. I have witnessed this being recommended on many people while undergoing other methods of treatment.
  • Monitoring blood glucose level – Checking your blood sugar level frequently while on treatment will help in keeping your blood sugar level under control. This is highly recommended for people who are in insulin treatment. There are several methods doctors might prefer to be used in checking the blood sugar level regularly which might include the use of an A1C test.
  • Pancreas transplant – This is a new development in the field of medicine and it is very appropriate. People who undergo pancreas transplant no longer need insulin treatment.
  • Physical exercise – This is highly recommended for diabetic people too but you must first consult your doctor for appropriate advice. Exercise helps in reducing blood sugar levels by breaking it down in cells to produce energy. It also increases a person’s sensitivity to insulin.
  • Other medications – Doctors might also recommend other medications that will help in reducing blood sugar levels. Some medications may be used to increase insulin production in the pancreas while others can be used to inhibit insulin production. Some medications can also inhibit glucose production and release from the liver.


Preventing a disease from occurring is more important than curing it.

Below are the several things you can do to prevent diabetes;

  • Practice healthy eating by reducing sugar and carbohydrates intake
  • Regularly exercising can help to prevent diabetes
  • Taking water regularly
  • Quit smoking
  • Try to lose weight if overweight or obese
  • Consume a high fiber diet
  • Increase consumption of foods containing vitamin D in order to optimize vitamin D levels in your body
  • Reduce intake of processed foods
  • Taking black tea or coffee




Leaving a decent lifestyle, that is, consuming healthy foods and regular exercise can be a very big boost to escaping this disease. If you are not diagnosed with this disease at the time of reading this article, try practicing those two lifestyle behaviors and you will never regret.

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