What is Diabetes – Understanding the Basics and Beyond

Well Heeled

What is Diabetes & What can cause Diabetes?

Most of us know at least one person who is suffering from diabetes. Although this health condition is one of the most common today, we don’t really know much more than it involves insulin injections. However, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes rises every year, so learning more about the disease is beneficial. Here at Well Heeled, we have tried to take a close look at what is diabetes. Please do feel free to share your own story or comments below!

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that relates to the way your body transforms food into energy. Food is turned into glucose when you eat. The glucose goes into the bloodstream, and your blood sugar rises, which causes a release of insulin by the pancreas. Your body needs insulin to allow your cells to use the blood sugar as energy. This is why diabetes is such a problematic health condition because it either results in insufficient amounts of insulin or improper use of insulin. Not having enough insulin or having cells that don’t respond to insulin could result in severe health problems because you end up with an excess amount of blood sugar in your bloodstream. Although this might not sound like something serious, it can lead to severe health conditions.

What are the types of diabetes?

People can be diagnosed with one of three types of diabetes. The three types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is more common among children, teenagers, and young adults. It is seen as being an autoimmune reaction that results in the body no longer producing insulin. As a result, people with type 1 diabetes need to have their insulin monitored and receive insulin every day. Unfortunately, it is still unclear how type 1 diabetes can be prevented. You can read more about Type 1 Diabetes in our blog article.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most diagnosed type of diabetes. It is a condition that develops over a long period. It is caused by insufficient use of insulin in the body that results in irregular blood sugar levels. It is possible to delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes by combining all of these:

getting to a healthy body weight
following a well-balanced diet
living an active lifestyle
What is gestational diabetes?

Pregnant women who have never had symptoms of diabetes can develop gestational diabetes. It is most definitely a condition that we want to avoid since babies could be at higher health risk if the expectant mother develops gestational diabetes. The good news for expecting mothers with gestational diabetes is that it usually passes after pregnancy. However, these women are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with type diabetes later on. In addition, if a pregnant mother develops gestational diabetes, the child is more likely to be obese later in life.
What does it mean to be pre-diabetic?

If someone is pre-diabetic, the person’s blood sugar levels are much higher than what is considered normal, but it isn’t high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Being pre-diabetic is a concern because a pre-diabetic person is more likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or suffer a stroke. However, there is good news if you have been diagnosed as being pre-diabetic. Changing your lifestyle can make a big difference, and you can reverse it by making healthy changes in your life. Be sure to follow a balanced diet, exercise daily, and try to lose weight.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

These are the most common symptoms of type 1 and 2 diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes could show after a long time, so that is why it is imperative to see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

Frequent urination, especially at night
An unquenchable thirst
Sudden and unexpected weight loss
Extreme hunger
Changes in vision, especially experiencing blurry vision
The feet or hands feel numb or tingle
Experiencing dry skin
Cuts or bruises take a lot longer to heal
Frequent infections

However, there are hardly any symptoms regarding gestational diabetes, so only your doctor will pick it up. That’s why all pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes between their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

Does diabetes lead to any health complications?

Diabetes can lead to several health complications. Therefore people who have diabetes must have a stable and supportive health team. These are the possible health complications that people with diabetes might experience:

Vision and eye problems

It isn’t uncommon for people with diabetes to struggle with unclear vision. However, a severe eye disease can develop in people with diabetes. The eye disease is called diabetic retinopathy, and fortunately, it is treatable.

Foot issues

People who have diabetes need to take extra special care of their feet because diabetes can result in severe foot conditions that can lead to amputation if ignored. Therefore, it is recommended that people with diabetes visit their podiatrist regularly.

Higher risk for heart attacks or strokes

Having high blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels. This leads to people with diabetes being more likely to have heart attacks or strokes.

Issues with the kidneys

It isn’t uncommon for people with diabetes to struggle with kidney problems known as nephropathy. The reason for this is because diabetes could result in kidney damage. If your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, it will be difficult for the body to get rid of waste or fluids.

Struggling with nerve damage

Some people who struggle with diabetes might develop neuropathy which is nerve damage. In addition, it makes it more challenging to know when you have cuts, bruises, or sores, so it can easily lead to infections.

Mouth and gum issues

Those who have diabetes need to take extra good care of their teeth because high blood sugar levels can result in excess sugar in the saliva. This can lead to weak tooth enamel and damaged gums.


Our health is priceless and extremely valuable. Of course, not all health conditions can be prevented, but we reduce the odds of developing severe health conditions with a healthy lifestyle.

About Me

Founder of Well Heeled - I have a great interest in diabetes and the effect on those diagnosed as well as those around them. With over 20 years in health and social care, as a qualified social worker and as a passionate educator within the health and social care sector, I wanted to bring further information to others around diabetes and other issues.

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