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Diabetes: Information and Explanation

Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases where the amount of glucose (blood sugar) in your blood is too high either due to inadequate insulin production, or body cells that do not properly respond to insulin, or both. 

People with high glucose level usually experience polyuria or frequent urination, polydipsia or increased thirst, and polyphagia or increased hunger. There are three different types of diabetes, which are: Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes causes your blood glucose level to become higher than normal. Also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes occurs when your pancreas lost its ability to make insulin due to your own immune system attacking and destroying the cells in it. Once the cells in your pancreas are destroyed, it can never make the hormone insulin again.

About 10% of diabetes cases are Type 1 Diabetes. Having this type of diabetes requires you to take insulin injections for the rest of your life and you will need to have a special diet and regular blood tests to ensure that your body has the right amount of blood glucose level. 

Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Dry mouth or extreme thirst
  • Possibly increased hunger
  • Weight loss

Type 2 Diabetes

In Type 2 Diabetes or also known as Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes, your pancreas still has the ability to produce insulin, but your body is no longer responding to it normally (insulin resistance). This causes your blood glucose level to rise, making your pancreas to produce even more insulin. When this happen, your pancreas will eventually wear out from producing extra insulin, which overtime, will lose its capability to produce enough insulin to keep your body's normal blood glucose level.

There is about 90% of diabetes cases which are Type 2 Diabetes worldwide. And although this type of diabetes may be controlled by exercising, losing weight, having a healthy diet, and monitoring blood glucose level, it's still a progressive disease that may gradually gets worse and you may still need to take tablet form insulin.

Being overweight or obese makes you more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes as body fats, particularly belly fats, release chemicals that may destabilize your body's metabolic and cardiovascular systems. 

Experts say that aging also puts you at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes because you may tend to gain more weight and be less physically active as you age. It also runs in the family so having a relative with Type 2 Diabetes gives higher risk of developing the disease.

Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Spots of darkened skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Slow healing of wounds/sores

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects some women during pregnancy. It's considered as one of the most common health problems among pregnant women as 2 out of 10 mothers may develop this health condition.

Because there's an increased insulin demand during pregnancy, your pancreas may not be able to keep up with the demand, making your blood glucose level to rise too high.

Good thing is, women with gestational diabetes don't remain diabetic after the baby is born. However, when you've had this type of diabetes, you may still have it again in your future pregnancy.

Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurred vision

Because pregnancy causes frequent urination and increased hunger, experiencing symptoms of gestational diabetes doesn't always mean that you have the disease; speak with your doctor and yourself tested.

How Diabetes is Diagnosed

If you have been experiencing common symptoms of diabetes such as frequent urination, extreme thirst, and increased hunger, your physician may run a diabetes test to determine your condition. Such tests may be:

  • Fasting Plasma Glucose Test
  • Blood Glucose Test
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Hemoglobin A1c Test
  • Other Diabetes Tests (Dilated Eye Exam, Foot Exam, etc)

Treatment for Diabetes

Treatment for diabetes varies for every individual, depending on the type of diabetes that you have. Some of the most common treatments include: 

  • Medications that include glucose-lowering pills, insulin (injection or tablet form).
  • Regular exercise to control blood sugar level, weight, and high blood pressure.
  • Meal planning controlling the amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate intake.
  • Self-testing of blood glucose level
  • Foot care as your diabetes decreases your body's ability to fight infection.
  • Alternative medicine to control blood sugar level.

Diabetes Prevention

Prevention is always better than cure. If you know that you have higher risk of developing diabetes (i.e. with family history of the disease; overweight), prevention such as the following should be one of your priorities:

  • Get more physically active to lose weight, to lower blood sugar, and to boost your sensitivity to insulin.
  • Eat food rich in fiber 
  • Go for whole grains
  • Maintain proper weight
  • Have a healthy-eating plan (avoid fad diets)

When to Seek Medical Help

Symptoms of extremely low blood sugar level (hypoglycemic coma or severe insulin reaction) and symptoms of ketoacidosis should be taken more seriously and it's recommended to call your local emergency number if any of the following occurs:

Extremely Low Blood Sugar Level Symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Unconsciousness or convulsion
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination

Ketoacidosis Symptoms:

  • Deep and rapid breathing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Nausea
  • Extreme thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Sweet-smelling breath

Summary

Any type of diabetes that hasn't been treated may lead to other serious medical conditions including heart attack and stroke. That's why it's extremely important to be aware of your symptoms, your risk factors, and if possible, take the necessary steps to prevent it.

Enlarged Prostate: A Complex Health Problem

The image above shows the difference between a normal prostate and enlarged prostate. Notice that the image of enlarged prostate shows swelling, which actually causes the problems. 

Enlarged Prostate

The prostate gland is just about the size of a walnut, that is attached to the base of the bladder. The tube (Urethra) that carry out the urine out of the body goes through the prostate gland. 

Prostate gland grows slowly as most men age. This growth is called benign prostatic hyperplasia and not considered life-threatening like cancer. It only means tissue growth, which occurs in about 90% of men 70 years old and older.

In this case, many men, even without knowing it, may actually have enlarged prostate. They may not notice it until swelling occurs, which is the main cause of the problem. Because urine flows from the bladder through the urethra and the prostate wraps around the urethra, an enlarged prostate blocks the flow of urine out of the body. This causes the bladder to fill up, while harder to empty at the same time. 

Causes of an Enlarged Prostate

No one has fully understand yet the exact main cause of prostate to enlarge. However, there are factors linked to it such as age, hormone level, and other factors.

Age – As men get older, the risk of developing an enlarged prostate becomes higher. A lot of men 50 years and older may have enlarged prostate even without experiencing the symptoms.

Hormone levels – Again, as men get older, the balance of hormone in the body also changes. This may cause growth of the prostate gland.

Other factors – Studies show that obesity and diabetes among men gives a greater risk of developing an enlarged prostate. 

Symptoms

  • Slow urinary stream
  • Feeling of not fully emptied bladder
  • Frequent urination
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Urinary stream that starts and stops
  • Dribbling of urine
  • Straining to urinate

Problems Associated with Enlarged Prostate

Due to enlarged prostate, urine are not completely emptied from the bladder. This may cause urinary tract infections that may eventually develop to other problems such as incontinence, blood in the urine, bladder stones, or total inability to urinate (acute urinary retention).

Erectile dysfunction is also being linked to enlarged prostate. In more severe cases, kidney damage and renal failure may occur resulting to the need for dialysis.

What You Can Do

Understanding the symptoms of having an enlarged prostate is the key to keep you healthy. Remember that a sudden inability to urinate is a serious medical condition, so it's advisable to visit your physician immediately if you happen to experience this. It may not always obvious what's going on, but an enlarged prostate must be examined carefully to fully understand the severity of the problem. Generally, a prostate examination is performed by a gloved, lubricated finger into the anus for internal examination that is done by your doctor.

Treatment

Treatment for enlarged prostate may differ from person to person; treatment for a 65 years old man may not be applicable to a 90 years old. This is because the age, the size of the prostate gland, and the overall health are to be considered before any treatment should be given.

There are various treatments for an enlarged prostate, depending on the person's condition. These are:

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Lifestyle change

Your doctor will recommend the best possible treatment for your condition. You may also want to prevent enlargement of prostate with health supplement products that are safer with no serious side-effects. 

Summary

Having an enlarged prostate doesn't necessarily mean that you'll automatically have prostate cancer. However, it's still possible to have both an enlarged prostate and prostate cancer at the same time. For this reason, early detection is very important especially if you have risk of developing it. Visit your doctor and have yours checked.

Understanding Impotence

Impotence is a problem that is most common among older man, but can still affect younger ones. It is a very frustrating medical problem, but what's more problematic is that most men that are suffering from this condition are too embarrassed to face their condition. This makes the situation more difficult, making impotence harder to treat and diagnose possible underlying more serious medical condition.

What is Impotence?

Man's erection is achieved through a proper blood flow to the penis. However, when the blood flow has been interrupted, impotence or erectile dysfunction occurs.

Impotence, also known as Erectile Dysfunction or ED, is when a man has no ability to sustain or achieve an erection well enough to complete a sexual intercourse. Most men experience an occasional erection problem some time in their lives, but failure to achieve an erection MOST of the time may indicate other serious health issues. 

In the past, it is believed that psychological problem alone is what causing impotence. It was then later discovered that there may be other factors that affects it such as various medical problems as well as the person's lifestyle.

What Causes Impotence?

Impotence may occur due to numbers of reasons. One is psychological cause, which may bring temporary impotence mostly among men 35 years old and under; and the other one is physical or health problem, which is usually the most common cause of impotence among men 35 years old and above.

Psychological factors that causes impotence may include:

  • Stress
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Guilt
  • Bereavement
  • Sexual boredom
  • Worry
  • Exhaustion (both physical and mental)
  • Depression

Most common physical or health problems that contributes to impotence are:

  • Diabetes
  • Injury or surgery in the hip area
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Low testosterone level
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug abuse
  • Some medications

Impotence may also be an early sign of heart ailment which may lead to heart attack and stroke

When to See a Doctor?

An occasional sexual problem is normal. However, when there's persistent erection problem that it already affects your relationship with your partner, and when you have been experiencing pain associated with this problem, then it is advisable that you should consult your doctor immediately as there may have underlying physical or health problems involved.

What are the Treatments for Impotence?

There are many available treatments for impotence. If the cause is due to psychological problem, you may just need to change your lifestyle like giving up smoking, alcohol, and drugs. Try to relax and avoid stress, or see a psychologist if the problem is guilt, depression, worry, or anxiety.

Impotence may also be treated with therapies such as hormone and transurethral therapies or may be used with some mechanical devices that would be applied to the penis. There are also some drugs available, but most men prefer to take alternative treatments as it has less side effects and complications.

Summary

Impotence or erectile dysfunction can brings frustration and strain on a couple. It also brings emotional pain brought by embarrassment of being impotent, and the fear of having other illnesses such as heart ailment, liver disease, and other medical disorders. For this reason, men should see a doctor to discuss the symptoms to be able to detect more serious health conditions.