Odds are, everyone in the United States knows someone with diabetes. It’s a condition that affects millions of Americans, and a diagnosis, unfortunately, is often for life. Finding out you have diabetes can be quite a shock. While some people with diabetes can attribute their diagnosis entirely to lifestyle, for others, it’s not that simple. Sometimes, the pancreas stops working, and your body can no longer produce insulin in the right amounts or at all. Other times, your body can’t process sugars efficiently, and your blood sugar levels suffer.
Struggling with diabetes can be very taxing. Many people experience bouts of stress and frustration regularly when they feel like they can’t get their sugar levels under control. As you may know, blood sugar levels have a significant impact on the way we think and our health. They influence our moods, energy levels, ability to focus, and whether we can exercise as much as we’d like to.
Living with diabetes requires relatively strict adherence to diet, frequent exercise, and regular monitoring of blood sugar levels. Thankfully, life is much easier today for diabetics than in past generations. In recent years, there have been meaningful developments in medicine and medical technology that automatically monitor blood sugar levels and things like insulin pumps that remove the need for self-administered insulin shots.
There’s a lot to know. If you’re worried about the potential for diabetes, or you’re new to the condition, read on to learn more about what causes diabetes and other interesting facts.
Type 1 Vs. Type 2 Diabetes
Most people understand that there are two different types of diabetes, though they may not know all of the particulars about what separates them. Here’s a basic overview:
Type 1 – This kind of diabetes affects people of all ages, genders, and races. People are diagnosed as having type 1 diabetes when their body doesn’t produce any insulin. When you are without insulin, your body can’t break carbohydrates down into blood sugar, or glucose, that it uses for energy. The hormone insulin extracts glucose from the bloodstream and feeds them efficiently into the cells.
People with type 1 diabetes have to learn to manage their sugars and administer insulin to keep their sugar levels in a healthy range. Typically, a diagnosis comes as a shock, especially for children and otherwise healthy individuals, and type 1 diabetes is an irreversible condition. However, it’s still possible to live a full, healthy life.
Type 2 – Type 2 diabetes is much more common in the United States and everywhere else in the world. This occurs in people whose bodies have trouble managing sugars and insulin levels properly. Typically, people with type 2 diabetes need insulin and other medications to manage their condition. A big part of effective management is through diet. Obese people and overweight people have type 2 diabetes more than average, and cutting down how many calories you eat, limiting sugars, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are all keys to limiting the effects of diabetes.
A Bit About Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant people are also sometimes diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy. There are certain risks associated with gestational diabetes, like having a larger baby than average, but the condition is still manageable, and most babies are born very healthy. It happens to millions of women every year, so it’s not something to be ashamed of at all. For some reason, the parent’s body develops a resistance to insulin, so doctors can prescribe additional insulin for as long as symptoms persist.
Early Treatment Key
Unfortunately, likely thousands of people suffer from serious symptoms related to diabetes without recognizing the underlying cause of their pain. Some people faint, lose feeling in their hands and feet, are constantly thirsty, or have trouble with how often they use the bathroom without knowing they have diabetes.
Early recognition and prompt treatment are keys to limiting the effect of symptoms on your life. For the most part, people with diabetes can live a healthy, full, and active life. They just have to pay attention to the food they eat and keep their blood sugar levels in a healthy range more than your average person does. Luckily, medical experts are much better at spotting pre-diabetes than they were in the past. Now, doctors can screen for blood sugar levels and other signs you may be borderline diabetic before you experience severe symptoms.
Melanotan 2 and Diabetes
While there is no cure for diabetes, there are several long-term treatments and prescription medicines available to lessen the impact of symptoms and make life easier. Keeping your weight in a healthy range, avoiding eating excess sugar, and watching your blood sugar levels with a finger prick monitor or a newer monitor that attaches to your body help.
Research into Melanotan 2, or MT-2 for short, shows that it produces similar effects to leptin in animal models. Leptin is known to help control blood sugar by regulating melanocortin receptors. In animal models, MT-2 showed that it crossed the blood-brain barrier more readily than leptin and produced similar effects. Leptin signaling is an area of emerging study as an alternative diabetes treatment.