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Comprehensive Guide to Diabetes: Types, Complications, and Effective Prevention Strategies

Health, healthcare and medical professional test senior diabetic woman insulin levels

What is Diabetes? 

Diabetes is a lifelong condition. It affects the body by causing a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. According to the latest IDF Diabetes Atlas, approximately 537 million adults are living with diabetes; however, 1 in 2 adults suffer from diabetes but are undiagnosed worldwide.

Diabetes can affect people of any age group. There are two types of diabetes, and insulin is at the root of both. If your body does not produce enough or react to it, too much blood sugar will stay in your bloodstream, leading to dangerous health problems such as heart or kidney disease.  

Uncontrolled Diabetes may lead to the following complications: 

  • • Kidney disease (diabetic nephropathy) 
  • • Eye disease (diabetic retinopathy) 
  • • Nerve-related problems (diabetic neuropathy) 
  • • Diabetic foot (leading cause of foot amputation) 
  • • Increased risk of heart disease and stroke 
  • • Increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s  

What causes diabetes? 

Both environmental and genetic factors can cause diabetes, although the exact cause is unknown. An inactive lifestyle and being overweight are the two most common causes of type 2 diabetes. 

What is type 2 diabetes? 

Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1. This is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. Insulin is vital as it helps your body use glucose for energy.

This is a lifelong condition, and it is often linked to one’s weight, lack of exercise or a family history of this type of diabetes. 

The most prominent symptoms of this type are feeling thirsty a lot of the time, as well as tired and needing to pee very often.  

What is type 1 diabetes? 

In this type of diabetes, your blood glucose levels are too high as the pancreas cannot produce the hormone insulin; you have to inject it to control blood glucose levels.

Your body will continue to break down carbohydrates from the food and drink that enters your body and turn it into glucose, however, there is no insulin to allow it into your body’s cells.

This in turn causes a build-up of glucose in your bloodstream that causes high blood sugar levels. 

Research is ongoing to determine the cause of type 1 diabetes, as it is not directly related to diet or lifestyle. 

How to prevent diabetes 

There are no lifestyle changes to make that lower your risk of type 1 diabetes; however, for type 2, healthy eating and exercise can contribute to lowering the risk. 

  1. 1. Take prescribed medicines. 
  1. 2. Manage blood sugar level and bodyweight.  
  1. 3. Avoid fried, processed food and sweet beverages. 
  1. 4. Exercise regularly and sleep well. 
  1. 5. Say no to smoking and alcohol. 
  1. 6. Regular health check-ups. 

Christel Oerum, CEO of Diabetes Strong commented: “This data offers a fascinating insight into the concerns and questions that people have about diabetes.

There are hundreds of thousands of searches on the topic each month, demonstrating that the public are keen to find out as much as they can about the condition.

The goal of Diabetes Strong is to provide a platform where people living with any type of diabetes can find all the information they need to live healthy and active lives.” 

Diabetes affects over half a billion people worldwide, with many people concerned about the impact it can have or is having on their lives, and now new research has revealed the most Googled questions related to the disease. 

The study by diabetes website Diabetes Strong analyzed thousands of diabetes-related search terms to see which is Googled the most, with the most common enquiries asking what diabetes is and what causes it. 

The data indicated that “what is diabetes” is Googled 71,000 on average per month globally.  

“What causes diabetes?” is the second most common phrase, with an estimated 64,000 average monthly searches worldwide. 

In third place is “What is Type 2 diabetes?”, which received 44,000 searches per month, on average. 

“How to prevent diabetes?” is Googled 37,000 times a month worldwide, making it the fourth most Googled diabetes-related question. 

“What is Type 1 diabetes?” ranks as the fifth most Googled question, with an average monthly search volume of 25,000.  

Other widespread searches included, “What foods to avoid with diabetes?”, “What causes low blood sugar without diabetes?” “What is diabetes mellitus?” and “How to know if you have diabetes”. 

The World’s Most Googled Diabetes Questions  
Question  Search Volume  
What is diabetes?  71,000  
What causes diabetes?  64,000  
What is Type 2 diabetes?  44,000  
How to prevent diabetes?  37,000  
What is Type 1 diabetes?  25,000  
What causes low blood sugar without diabetes?  18,000  
What foods to avoid with diabetes?  16,000  
How to know if you have diabetes  15,000  
How do you get diabetes  12,000  
What is diabetes mellitus?  9,500