Diabetes: Types, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Complications, Symptoms and Treatments

It represents a group of metabolic diseases where the patient has high levels of glucose in the blood.

This is due to improper production of the hormone insulin or when the body’s cells do not respond or cannot use it.

When the body converts the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), insulin is released to help transport this energy into the cells.

Its chemical message tells the cell to receive glucose.

If little or no insulin is produced or if it is resistant to insulin, this will cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal in those with diabetes.

Types of diabetes

Various types of diabetes are known, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

There is also a pre-diabetes stage called prediabetes. Also known as impaired glucose tolerance.

During this period, the level of glucose in the blood rises to a level higher than normal, but is low enough that it can be considered as diabetes.

Prediabetic individuals have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if they are not controlled in time.

Diabetes type 1

Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes.

People with this condition usually get it before the age of 20, as it is often diagnosed in children or adolescents.

This type represents 5 to 10 percent of people with diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body cannot make insulin.

All people with type 1 diabetes should be treated with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not make enough insulin, or when cells cannot use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes is commonly called “adult-onset diabetes” since it is diagnosed later in life, usually after age 45. It is the most common type of diabetes.

Although in recent years, type 2 diabetes has been diagnosed in younger people, including children, more often than in the past.

It is considered as a disease triggered by sedentary lifestyle, overweight individuals who consume excessively calories and sugar.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is one that women can suffer during the third trimester of pregnancy.

About 4% of pregnant women develop this condition and it disappears after the baby is born.

There appears to be a link between the tendency to have gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and many women who have had gestational diabetes develop type 2 diabetes later on.

Once you have gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance that gestational diabetes will occur in future pregnancies.

In some cases, women during pregnancy are diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle changes can help prevent diabetes after gestational diabetes occurs.


The cause of diabetes is not known with certainty.

Diabetes is thought to be caused by a combination of some genetic and environmental factors.

Daily diet, obesity, a large waistline, being of Caribbean African, Black African, Chinese, or South Asian descent, and lack of exercise can all play a role in the development of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes.

Also when you suffer from the disease of the immune system that normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses, it attacks the cells that produce localized insulin in the pancreas, resulting in little or no insulin, and instead of being transported glucose in the cells , sugar builds up in the bloodstream.

Another probable cause is that it is a genetic element for type 1 diabetes, and it can develop at any age, but it usually appears before the age of 40, and more commonly in late childhood.

In prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, the body’s cells become resistant to the effect of insulin and the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance.

Risk factor’s

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes

  • A family history of diabetes.
  • Environmental factors.
  • The presence of harmful cells of the immune system called autoantibodies.
  • Dietary factors.
  • The geography.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

  • The weight.
  • The sedentary lifestyle.
  • A family history of diabetes.
  • Age.
  • Gestational diabetes.
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • Have abnormal levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.


Four common tests are normally used to diagnose diabetes such as:

Glycated hemoglobin test: it is a measurement of blood glucose control, this test indicates the average level of sugar in the person’s blood during the last 2 to 3 months. It quantifies the level of glucose in the blood that is bound to hemoglobin.

The use of this test to diagnose diabetes is controversial, as the test may not be accurate if the patient has some type of hemoglobin mutation, severe anemia, is receiving blood transfusions, or has treatments to increase red blood cell production. .

Random or casual plasma glucose test – A random blood sample is taken. A random blood sugar level of 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg per dL) or more suggests that the person has diabetes. To confirm the test results, the test should be done on another day or a fasting glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.

Fasting blood sugar test: This blood test is performed by taking a blood sample, after not consuming food and drink (except water) for 8 hours.

A fasting blood sugar level of less than 100 mg per dL is normal, while 100 to 125 mg per dL is considered prediabetes. If it is 126 mg per dL or more in two separate tests, diabetes is diagnosed.

Oral glucose tolerance test: This also involves an overnight fast. The patient must refrain from consuming food and drink (except water) for 8 hours.

Your blood will be drawn before you drink the glucose mixture.

This mixture contains a known amount of glucose, usually 75 grams and 2 hours later, a new sample will be taken.

Fasting glucose levels are normally less than 100 mg per dl. When values ​​that vary between 100mg per dl up to 126 mg per dl are observed, they are indicative of prediabetes.

Fasting glucose levels equal to or greater than 126 mg per dl are indicative of diabetes.

Complications of diabetes

Over time, high blood sugar levels (also called hyperglycemia) can lead to kidney disease, heart disease, and vision loss.

Too much sugar in the bloodstream can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes and kidneys, and can harden or narrow the arteries.


The most common symptoms include:

In type 1 diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes can suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Feeling very thirsty (polydipsia).
  • Urinating more often than usual, particularly at night (increased urination).
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle mass.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Slow healing of cuts and scrapes.
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Nausea.
  • In women, frequent vaginal infections occur.
  • Itchy skin usually in the groin area.

In Type 2 diabetes

The main symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to those of people with type 1 diabetes.

However, while type 1 diabetes symptoms generally develop rapidly within a few weeks, type 2 diabetes symptoms are often mild and develop gradually over several years.

  • However excesiva.
  • Increased urination especially at night.
  • Unusual weight gain or loss.
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Diabetes affects the circulation in your feet and the small blood vessels in your eyes.

Treatments and medications

Within the objectives of diabetes treatment, the following can be summarized:

  • It’s about keeping your blood sugar as normal as possible, without causing serious highs or lows in your bloodstream.
  • Avoid damage to target organs and tissues caused by too much sugar in the bloodstream.

Normal blood sugar values ​​are between 60-100 mg / dl at night or before meals, and below 140 mg / dl after ingestion of food.

Pregnant women will have lower blood glucose levels.

Treatment for type 1 diabetes

This type of diabetes requires a very strict regimen.

There is no cure for diabetes, so treatment to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible and to control symptoms follows key principles of medical management such as:

  • Self-monitoring of blood sugar and ketones, as part of daily life.
  • Insulin injections.
  • Coping with the daily problems of diabetes, how to make adjustments in the diet and in the doses of insulin to be supplied, thus avoiding high or low blood glucose.
  • Understand difficulties and how to detect, evade and face them.
  • Daily blood glucose must be monitored to be aware of whether the treatment is adequate and to adjust the insulin dose as needed.
  • Ketone control is important if you have symptoms of diabetic acidosis.

There are two ways to test the body for ketones:

  • Urine analysis.
  • Blood test.

The normal level of ketones should be less than 0.6 mmol per liter.

Treatment for type 2 diabetes

Treatment includes a special diet, an exercise program, home blood glucose tests, and in some cases, in addition to oral medications, insulin injections are recommended.

Lifestyle changes can be incredibly beneficial in managing symptoms and improving the health of people with type 2 diabetes.

The first steps are to observe your diet and lifestyle to make sure you are following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and losing weight if you are overweight, to prevent complications.

The patient should have regular diabetes monitoring (2 to 3 tests per year).

In addition, it is crucial to avoid smoking, which increases the risk of various diabetic complications such as kidney disease and nerve damage.

Treatment for gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs, usually around week 24.

This diabetes can be especially difficult because the burden of diabetes can affect both mothers and babies.

Gestational diabetes requires specialized treatment throughout pregnancy.

Blood glucose values ​​are around:

  • Before a meal ≤ 95 mg per dl.
  • 1 hour after a meal ≤ 140 mg per dl.
  • 2 hours after a meal ≤ 120 mg per dl.

Once labor occurs, most women return to normal blood sugar levels.