Diabetes is becoming a global epidemic, but you can reduce your risk by learning about the features of diabetes, and adopting a healthier lifestyle. The World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) estimates that diabetes-related deaths will increase by more than 50% in the next 10 years, but people can greatly lower their risk with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and by not smoking. Diabetes features vary between the three types. In type 1 diabetes, there’s a lack of insulin production, and in type 2 (90% of all diabetes cases), the body does not use insulin effectively. Insulin in the hormone that helps bring glucose (sugar) into the body’s cells and converts it to energy. In the third type, gestational diabetes, there is an abnormally high blood sugar level (hyperglycemia), which is discovered during pregnancy, and which can affect the unborn child. It is reported that type 2 diabetes among children is on the rise, which makes it especially important to start a healthy lifestyle early.


Clinical Features of Diabetes Mellitus


Clinical features of diabetes type 1 (typically found in those under the age of 40) include excessive hunger and thirst, and increased frequency of urination. There can also be nausea, abdominal discomfort, blurred vision, and general weariness, and these symptoms (due to high blood glucose levels) can develop suddenly. Another of the diabetes features which may be present is an infection, which is often what leads to the initial diagnosis. Neuropathy (numbness and tingling in hands and feet) and weight loss are also notable features of diabetes. Clinical features of diabetes type 2 differ from type 1, in that it usually develops after age 40, and the person is typically overweight. Symptoms can develop over months or years, and while insulin levels are normal to high, the body cannot use it correctly.


Genetic Features that Contribute to Diabetes


According to the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), while genetic features of diabetes play an important role in determining who is more likely to develop the disease, environmental factors are what trigger the symptoms. Diabetes is not simply inherited. In type 1 diabetes, features that can contribute to its onset include: eating junk food, not exercising, being overweight, and smoking. It may be less common for people who were breastfed as infants, ate solid food at a later age, and who had healthier mothers. Infections and cold weather might also act as triggers. Type 2 diabetes is more strongly linked to family history, but it still depends on one’s environment and lifestyle choices. Even if diabetes “runs in the family,” it is possible to delay or even prevent it from occurring by living a healthy life.