Last updated date: 11-Mar-2024

Originally Written in English

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a silent killer

  • CloudHospital

  • Diabetes

  • General Health

According to the CDC, diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar), for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use its own insulin as efficiently as it should. This causes sugar levels to build up in your blood. Diabetes can cause serious health problems including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the world. According to Statista, in 2019 China tops the world with 116 million diabetics, followed by India with 77 million cases and the United States with 31 million suffering from it.

What are some of the symptoms of diabetes? They might have some or none of the following symptoms:

  •     Frequent urination
  •     Excessive thirst
  •     Unexplained weight loss
  •     Extreme hunger
  •     Sudden vision changes
  •     Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  •     Feeling very tired much of the time
  •     Very dry skin
  •     Sores that are slow to heal
  •     More infections than usual 
  •      Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany the above symptoms.

What are the types of diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, previously called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, may account for 5 percent to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors are less well defined for Type 1 diabetes than for Type 2 diabetes, but autoimmune, genetic, and environment are typical factors of this type of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes was previously called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for about 90 percent to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity. 

Gestational diabetes develops in 2 percent to 5 percent of all pregnancies but usually disappears when a pregnancy is over. Gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and people with a family history of diabetes than in other groups. Obesity is also associated with higher risk.  Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for later developing Type 2 diabetes. In some studies, nearly 40 percent of women with a history of gestational diabetes developed diabetes in the future.

Other specific types of diabetes result from specific genetic syndromes, surgery, drugs, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses. Such types of diabetes may account for 1 percent to 2 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is a silent killer as most patients may show little to no symptoms. It is a widely spared disease that impairs a person’s life and negatively affects a person’s bodily functions. People with diabetes may also experience a silent heart attack. It can happen to anyone, but diabetes increases the likelihood to experience one. A diabetic person may not feel anything at all. Or it could feel like a mild heartburn, odd ache, or pain. It is a serious disease than can negatively affect the body in a quiet manner.

Treatment for Type 2 diabetes Treatment typically includes diet control, exercise, home blood glucose testing, and in some cases, oral medication and/or insulin. Approximately 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes require insulin injections. Can diabetes be prevented? A number of studies have shown that regular physical activity can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes is also associated with obesity. Is there a cure for diabetes? In response to the growing health burden of diabetes mellitus (diabetes), the diabetes community has three choices: prevent diabetes; cure diabetes; and take better care of people with diabetes to prevent dangerous complications.

If you are concerned about potential diabetes symptoms, it is imperative that you see a doctor to properly identify the disease and follow through with any applicable recommendations. This silent killer is a major disease of the modern world and is unlikely to simply go away due to our increasingly sedentary lifestyle as well as high caloric intake of modern processed foods.