All this while we have learnt how to deal with the various effects of diabetes, how to manage our food habits according to it and how insulin works; but how exactly did the disease diabetes originate? Why did it originate, when did it all start? Why does it affect only the human population? Let us find out.
Diabetes as we all know is a genetic disorder and it impacts our lifestyle the most. In simple terms, genes are the traits in our character, behaviour, also physical traits which we have carried over from our forefathers. So, someone must have had diabetes in our lineage for us to have the same disease. But, it begs the questions – how did it all start? When and why did it start?
Researchers have discovered that diabetes was first discovered approximately 5000-6000 years ago. Coincidentally, it was around the same time humans discovered different agricultural practices. These two major issues are related to each other, more than we think they are. Prior to agriculture being discovered by humans, food had to be either hunted or gathered and humans would eat only when they were hungry; agriculture gave rise to the idea of storing food over a prolonged period, which was not the case earlier. Now, is it possible for us to delay the onset of this disease if we go back to the lifestyle where we only eat when we are feeling hungry and not eat because of some sort of compulsion?
A study was conducted to confirm this theory. A group of 50-60 people with diabetic markers in their genes were only allowed to eat when they felt hungry. The study showed that even though they were genetically inclined to have diabetes, the lifestyle modification delayed the onset of diabetes by 15-20 years. Hence, diabetes is as much a lifestyle disease as it is a genetic disease. Lifestyle habits like exercise, food habits, mental attitude, etc. also play a major role in the onset of a disease like diabetes.Now that we have had an idea about the history of diabetes and it’s; let us focus on the present and the future of this disease. One of four people with diabetes do not know that they have this disease. Do you want to know if you are too? Let us find out!
As we know, there are broad three different kinds of diabetes- Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and Gestational Diabetes. However there are some other varities of diabetes but specially important for medical professionals like LADA, MODY etc. For keeping it simplier lets focus on three main varities which every common people must know.Type 1 Diabetes usually starts at a very early age. The pancreas stops working and producing insulin. The contributing factors of Type 1 Diabetes are :
- Family History: If someone has relatives who have diabetes, chances are higher for them to get it too. Anyone who has a mother, father, sister, or brother with type 1 diabetes, they should get themselves checked. A simple blood test can diagnose it.
- Diseases of the Pancreas: Diseases affecting the pancreas slow down its ability to make insulin.
- Infection or Insulin: Some infections and illnesses, mostly rare ones, can damage your pancreas.
In Type 2 Diabetes, you are faced with ‘insulin resistance’; this means that the body is unable to utilise the insulin that it produces. It is generally seen in adults but can begin at any time.the contributing factors are:
- Obesity or being Overweight: Obesity or being overweight is the top reason for type 2 diabetes.
- Impaired Glucose Tolerance: Prediabetics is a milder form of type 2 diabetes, a simple blood test should reveal if you have it. If you do then there is a strong chance that you may get type 2 diabetes.
- Insulin Resistance: Type 2 diabetes often starts with cells that are resistant to insulin. In this case the pancreas has to work extra hard to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.
- Ethnic Background: Some ethnic backgrounds are more prone to type 2 diabetes than others. They are more affected by this gene than others.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: If the frequency of exercise is less than three times a week, it makes you more prone to type 2 diabetes.
- Family History: If there exists a family history of diabetes then you may be at risk.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women who have PCOS are at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than others.
Gestational Diabetes strikes when a woman is pregnant. It is caused by hormones that the placenta makes or by too little insulin. High blood sugar in the mother causes high blood sugar in the baby which can lead to growth defects if left untreated. Things that can lead to Gestational Diabetes are:
- Obesity or being Overweight: Extra weight for the mother can lead to Gestational Diabetes.
- Glucose Intolerance: Having glucose intolerance or gestational diabetes in the past makes you more prone.
- Family History: If a parent or a sibling has had gestational diabetes,then you may be at risk for gestational Diabetes.
- Age: If you get pregnant at an older age, there is a higher risk of you getting Gestational diabetes.
Even though there are substantial risks of diabetes in our daily lives, there is always a way for us to combat those. For diabetes there is a lot you can do to delay or prevent diabetes, like:
- Manage our blood pressure levels; we should monitor our blood pressure levels regularly to keep it under control.
- As we have discussed earlier, more than once, weight gain or being overweight is one of the top contributors of diabetes . We should keep our weight within or near a healthy range.
- Weight gain and exercise have an opposite relationship with each other. If we keep at least thirty minutes of exercise everyday it helps us by keeping our weight under check. Hence, we can keep two things under control with just one step.
- Diet plays a major role along with exercise. Hence, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet plays a major role in the delay or prevention of diabetes.
Get an answer to all the questions about diabetes in my online course. I will be back again with a new and interesting topic for everyone to discuss. Thank you.
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