Diabetes: World’s 7th Most Deadly Noncommunicable Diseases

Diabetes is now at 7th position in the list of the world’s top 10 death-causing diseases, says WHO’s 2019 Global Health Estimates. The data based on which these conclusions are made are from 2000 to 2019 inclusive.

A trend has been estimated over the last 2 decades in mortality and morbidity caused by some deadly diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. The organizations clearly highlight the need for an intensified global focus on preventing and treating such diseases.

These above-mentioned new estimates are another reminder that we need to take care of and control such diseases. In the list of top 10 deadly diseases, heart disease is at the apex for the last 20 years. The condition is at the 7th position in the list and has been noted to have increased by 70% globally between 2000-and 2019. 

80% rise in deaths among males has been noted because of diabetes. In the Eastern Mediterranean, the death rate because of the disease has increased to more than double and more, especially in all WHO regions.

What exactly is the condition?

The disease is the leading chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas fails to perform its function properly; either it fails to secrete enough insulin or fails to use the produced insulin by the body. Hyperglycaemia or increased blood pressure is a common symptom of diabetes. 

Insulin is required to dissolve the sugar content present in the body in order to produce, store or use energy. In the case of diabetes, the body fails to either produce enough insulin or use it as required. Consequently, the sugar level will keep on increasing with the passing time. This can result in high blood sugar and high blood glucose and damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.

There isn’t a cure yet, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being physically active can help reduce complications. Additionally, a diabetic person is recommended to remain in regular touch with the doctor and keep monitoring their sugar levels until it gets normal

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation. Not all diabetic people need to have to suffer from such complications, it depends on the person; these complications can be easily resolved with regular physical exercise, maintaining the ideal weight as per your body. 

However, the treatment of diabetes depends on the severity of its type; let’s see how?

What Are The 3 Types Of Diabetes?

As discussed earlier, the disease is caused either when the body fails to use insulin well in order to dissolve sugar content or the body itself fails to produce enough insulin. Based on these parameters, the disease is categorized into three categories, such as:- 

Type-1 Diabetes: The type of diabetes that occurs as a result of an autoimmune reaction in which the body itself stops making insulin is called type-1 diabetes. Among all the diabetic persons (5-10)% of them have type-1 diabetes. 

The symptoms of this type of diabetes usually occur quickly and are often seen in children, teens, and young adults. People with type-1 diabetes have to take insulin every day, and it is yet not clear how to prevent it.

Type-2 Diabetes: This is the type of diabetes that occurs when the body is unable to use produced insulin properly. This is the most common type of diabetes in (90-95)% of diabetes cases.

This type of diabetes occurs over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults, often after many years. Type-2 diabetes may not show symptoms until it gets severe so it is important to go for regular blood sugar tests. Type-2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with regular healthy lifestyle habits, such as physical workout, a healthy diet, and regular 8 hours of sleep.

Gestational Diabetes: It is a type of diabetes that develops in pregnant women who never had diabetes. This type of diabetes usually get resolved after the baby’s birth, but the risk often passes on to the child. The born child is more likely to develop obesity, high cholesterol, or type-2 diabetes later in life.

Also Read: Know 7 Natural Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

What Does A Diabetic Attack Feel Like?

The most common symptom that a diabetic person faces is high blood sugar and also includes:-

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sores that don’t heal

Apart from this, men with diabetes may also face a decrease in sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and poor muscle strength. In the case of women, they may face urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin.

However, the symptoms depend on their type, such as:-

Type-1 Diabetes

  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiredness

Type-2 Diabetes

  • Increased hunger and thirst
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Tiredness
  • Sores that don’t heal

Gestational Diabetes

Women with gestational diabetes often do not show any symptoms, it usually gets detected during a routine blood sugar test or glucose tolerance test. But these tests should be performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.

What Is The Main Cause Of Diabetes?

The main cause of the condition is the inappropriate absorption or production of insulin. This can be due to an undissolved layer of cholesterol on the blood cells that absorb insulin. This layer of cholesterol prevents the blood cells from absorbing the insulin and consequently causes diabetes.

However, the other causes of cholesterol depend on the type of diabetes, like:-

Type-1 Diabetes: The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is not known even to doctors. The human immune system, for some reason, mistakenly attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. However, genes may also play a role in the occurrence of type-1 diabetes.

Type-2 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs as a result of a combination of genetics and healthy lifestyle factors. Being overweight will put you at an increased risk of developing the condition. This condition of developing the disease runs in the family as well, therefore you must have noticed diabetes is termed hereditary.

Check Out Medicines for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Metformin(Glycomet), Linagliptin(Trajenta), or Glibenclamide(Semi Daonil).

Gestational diabetes: is a result of hormonal changes at the time of pregnancy. The uterus organ; the placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cell less sensitive to the effects of insulin and may lead to high blood sugar. 

What Are The Risk Factors And Complications?

Certain factors increase the risk of developing the disease, such as:-

Type-1 Diabetes

  • If you are a child and have parents and siblings with diabetic conditions or you carry certain genes linked to the disease.

Type-2 Diabetes

The risk of getting the infection increases if:-

  • You are overweight 
  • You are of 45 years and above
  • Your parents or siblings have/had the condition
  • You are physically inactive
  • You have had gestational diabetes
  • Have prediabetes
  • Have hypertension, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides

Gestational Diabetes

The risk of gestational diabetes increases if:-

  • You are obese
  • You are above the age of 25 years
  • You had gestational diabetes during a past pregnancy
  • You have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • You have a family history of type-2 diabetes
  • You have polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS)

If the condition is left untreated, it can lead to other harmful effects; complications, such as:-

  • Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • Neuropathy
  • Nephropathy
  • Retinopathy
  • Vision & hearing loss
  • Sore foot
  • Bacterial or fungal infection
  • Depression
  • Dementia

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes complications can lead to life-threatening effects for both mother and the child and may also lead to:

  • Premature birth
  • Increased weight of the baby
  • Increased risk of type-2 diabetes later in life
  • Jaundice
  • Stillbirth
  • Low blood sugar

After giving birth, the mother may develop high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, or require a cesarean delivery.

The Bottom Line

The disease can lead to multiple health complications, but all such complications can be resolved with medications and lifestyle changes.

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Julain Carter is mental health expert for Goodrxmedicine.com. He is an experienced clinical mental health counsellor with recognition in cognitive behavioural therapy. Julian’s sharp behavioural observations reflect in both his personal and professional life.

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