Diabetes is a chronic condition that results from the inability of the human body to correctly process glucose, a type of sugar. This is sometimes caused by insufficient production of insulin, the hormone that allows us to absorb glucose from the blood into our cells. Sometimes, even if sufficient insulin is produced, the body can lose sensitivity to the insulin, leading to the same problem. Either way, this causes glucose to stay in the blood instead of reaching our cells. This is why the most common measurable manifestation of diabetes is high blood glucose.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not make insulin. Insulin is typically made in the pancreas, but in the case of Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells of the pancreas where insulin is made. People with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day through injections.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by the body either not producing enough insulin, or losing sensitivity to it. Type 2 diabetes can start affecting a person at any age, though it occurs more commonly in middle-aged and older people.
Gestational diabetes develops in some pregnant women and fades away after the baby is born. However, gestational diabetes increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later.
Over time, the consistently high blood glucose levels caused by diabetes can lead to
With current medical knowledge, Type 1 diabetes can be difficult to prevent, but Type 2 diabetes can. Here’s how:
The two types of diabetic emergencies are hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and hyperglycemia (high blood glucose).
Hypoglycemia can be identified through symptoms such as
Hyperglycemia can be identified through symptoms such as
For both kinds of diabetic emergencies, first aid involves
Type 1 diabetes can be treated by
Type 2 diabetes can be treated by
As more parts of the world including Singapore experience a rapidly aging population, diabetes is one of the most common chronic conditions that will need to be managed. Through a combination of prevention, first aid and long-term treatment, we can help more of our people manage it better and continue to enjoy a high quality of life.
Article reviewed by Dr Kenneth Koh Eu Min, Medical Director and Co-founder, OneCare Medical.