Patient diabetes info
1. What is diabetes?
Diabetes is also often called “diabetes”. It is a metabolic disorder in which there is too much sugar in your blood. Too many sugars in your blood we also call a high “blood sugar” or “blood glucose”. The medical term for diabetes or diabetes is “diabetes mellitus”.
Your body regulates the blood sugar level yourself. Your body makes a hormone for this. This hormone is called insulin. Insulin is produced by cells in the pancreas. If you have too many sugars in your blood, insulin ensures that these sugars are removed from the blood. If you have diabetes, this works differently. The problem lies with the insulin; or you do not make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the insulin that has been made is insufficiently effective (type 2 diabetes). In both cases the cells do not absorb enough sugar (glucose), causing it to accumulate in your blood. Diabetes can have various causes, but unfortunately it can never be completely prevented. To limit the effects of diabetes as much as possible, it is important to be there as early as possible if you recognize the symptoms.
2. Diabetes type 1
With this form of diabetes, your body no longer produces insulin.
3. Diabetes type 2
This is also called “old-age diabetes” but also occurs more and more among young people as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle. In this form of diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin or the insulin does not work properly anymore.
4. Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women, usually during the second or third trimester. Women with gestational diabetes don’t have diabetes before their pregnancy, and after giving birth it usually goes away. In some women diabetes may be diagnosed in the first trimester, and in these cases the condition most likely existed before pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is usually diagnosed through a blood test at 24–28 weeks into pregnancy.
Women who have had the condition in previous pregnancies may be tested earlier. With good management of gestational diabetes, you can increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
What causes gestational diabetes?
The hormones produced during pregnancy can make it difficult for your body to use insulin properly, putting you at an increased risk of insulin resistance. And, because pregnancy places a heavy demand on the body, some women are less able to produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. This makes it difficult to use glucose properly for energy, so the glucose remains in the blood and the levels rise, leading to gestational diabetes.
This is a temporary form of diabetes that some women develop during pregnancy.
5. What are the symptoms of diabetes and how do you recognize diabetes?
The answer to this question is not easy: the symptoms can be different for each person. Not everyone has obvious complaints. People can walk around for years without being aware that they have diabetes. It is therefore good to realize that not all symptoms of diabetes mean diabetes by definition, and the other way around, you can also have it without being bothered by the most common complaints. To give you an idea, follow the most common symptoms of diabetes below.
6. Symptoms in diabetes type 1
People who have type 1 diabetes come here in most cases quickly behind. You feel very sick and a visit to the GP usually does not last long. The first symptoms of type 1 diabetes are:
- A lot of peeing and a lot of thirst.
- Lose a lot of weight without a clear reason.
- General feeling of malaise.
- Be sick, accompanied or not with vomiting.
- Much hunger or just lose all appetite.
- Blurred or poor vision.
- Symptoms in diabetes type 2
7. Symptoms in diabetes type 2
The symptoms in type 2 diabetes develop gradually and are therefore much less rapid. Type 2 diabetes is often only discovered at a later stage. Sometimes so late, that people are already suffering from complications. These complications can therefore sometimes be interpreted as the first symptoms. What you can notice:
- A lot of peeing and a lot of thirst.
- Weight loss, this can even occur if you have had the condition for years (whether or not unnoticed).
- Breathe that smells like acetone.
- Suffer from tiredness, shortness of breath, itching, eyesight (bad vision or double vision), numbness, tingling or pain in fingers, feet and / or toes, chest pain and bad healing wounds and infections.
- When to the doctor?
- Do you recognize one or more of the symptoms listed? It does not necessarily have to be diabetes! Still, if in doubt, you should visit your doctor.
8. A low blood glucose
If you have diabetes, it may happen that you have too low blood glucose at some point. We also call this a hypoglycaemia, also called ‘hypo’. This is nothing strange, because the amount of sugar in your blood constantly changes under the influence of, for example, diet, exercise, emotions, stress and general condition. However, too many changes in blood sugar levels can cause physical problems in the long term. It is therefore important to recognize the characteristics of a hypo in diabetes, so that timely action can be taken.
9. One of the first symptoms of a hypo is a feeling of hunger.
If you ignore the feeling of hunger, you may become pale and irritable, cold and suffer sweating, shaking, blurred vision, nausea, fatigue, shaking and sometimes palpitations. A clear signal that it is time to intervene.