Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.
Your body breaks down most of the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.
With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an autoimmune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake). This reaction stops your body from making insulin. Approximately 5-10% of the people who have diabetes have type 1. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes often develop quickly. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. If you have type 1 diabetes, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive.
Type 2 Diabetes
With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. It develops over many years and is usually diagnosed in adults (but more and more in children, teens, and young adults). You may not notice any symptoms, so it’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you’re at risk. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, such as: Losing weight, Eating healthy food and Being active.
Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born. However, it increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to have obesity as a child or teen and develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:
The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.
If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension). The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines. The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ among health care professionals of different origins.
Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher. This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003. Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher. This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is produced by the liver and is a component of all cells found in the body. All of the cholesterol a person needs is produced in the liver, but another source is dietary cholesterol, which comes from animal food products such as meat, poultry, dairy, egg yolk and fish. Such foods are rich in saturated fats and trans fats, substances that can trigger the liver to make an excess of cholesterol and in some cases, this can lead to hypercholesterolemia.
Cholesterol is required for various bodily functions including the synthesis of cell membranes and certain hormones and the production of substances required for fat digestion. However, a cholesterol level that is too high can increase the risk of coronary artery disease.
Excess cholesterol present in the blood forms fatty deposits in the walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply the heart with blood. As the cholesterol accumulates, it causes atherosclerotic plaques to form, which narrow and harden the artery walls. This is referred to as atherosclerosis. Eventually, these plaques can block the arteries and limit the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can reach the heart. This increases a person’s risk of angina and heart attack. If the artery that supplies blood flow to the brain (carotid artery) becomes narrowed and hardened, then a person is at an increased risk of suffering a stroke.
Cholesterol is circulated in the blood attached to transport proteins, a combination referred to as lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are classified depending on the type of cholesterol they carry. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) carries cholesterol from the liver to various parts of the body. If there is an excess of LDL, cholesterol can accumulate in the walls of arteries and lead to atherosclerosis. LDL is therefore sometimes called “bad cholesterol.”
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, carries excess cholesterol away from cells to the liver, where it is broken down and treated as a waste product. This lipoprotein is referred to as “good cholesterol.”
Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as physical inactivity, a high-fat diet and obesity increase the risk of a high LDL level and a low HDL level. Other risk factors include, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and having a family history of stroke or heart disease.
Cholesterol is circulated in the blood attached to transport proteins, a combination referred to as Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot, known as a thrombus, within a blood vessel. It prevents blood from flowing normally through the circulatory system.
Thrombosis can be deadly, and can affect any age, race, gender, and ethnicity. Blood clotting, also known as coagulation, is the body’s first line of defense against bleeding. When we hurt ourselves, our clotting system forms a “plug” or “seal” to protect us from losing too much blood. Our bodies often break down the clot after we’ve healed – but sometimes, clots form inappropriately or fail to dissolve after an injury. A blood clot that forms and stays in a blood vessel is called a thrombus.
Other medical terms used to describe blood clots include:
Thrombosis: When a thrombus forms in a blood vessel
Embolus or Embolism: A clot that detaches and travels through blood vessels to another part of the body
There are two main types of thrombosis:
Arterial thrombosis refers to a blood clot that blocks an artery. Arteries carry blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. Arterial blood clots can block blood flow to the heart and brain, often resulting in a heart attack or stroke.
Venous thrombosis, also known as venous thromboembolism or VTE, refers to a blood clot in a vein. Veins carry blood to the heart from other parts of the body. VTE is a condition that includes deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
Angina (an-JIE-nuhor AN-juh-nuh) is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease. It is also called angina pectoris.
Angina pain is often described as squeezing, pressure, heaviness, tightness or pain in the chest. It may feel like a heavy weight lying on the chest. Angina may be a new pain that needs to be checked by a health care provider, or recurring pain that goes away with treatment.
Although angina is relatively common, it can still be hard to distinguish from other types of chest pain, such as the discomfort of indigestion. If you have unexplained chest pain, seek medical help right away.
Angina symptoms include chest pain and discomfort. The chest pain or discomfort may feel like: Burning, Fullness, Pressure and Squeezing.
Pain may also be felt in the arms, neck, jaw, shoulder or back. Other symptoms of angina include: Dizziness, Fatigue, Nausea, Shortness of breath and Sweating.
There are different types of angina. The type depends on the cause and whether rest or medication relieve symptoms.
Stable angina. Stable angina is the most common form of angina. It usually happens during activity (exertion) and goes away with rest or angina medication. For example, pain that comes on when you're walking uphill or in the cold weather may be angina.
Stable angina pain is predictable and usually similar to previous episodes of chest pain. The chest pain typically lasts a short time, perhaps five minutes or less.
Unstable angina (a medical emergency). Unstable angina is unpredictable and occurs at rest. Or the angina pain is worsening and occurs with less physical effort. It's typically severe and lasts longer than stable angina, maybe 20 minutes or longer. The pain doesn't go away with rest or the usual angina medications. If the blood flow doesn't improve, the heart is starved of oxygen and a heart attack occurs. Unstable angina is dangerous and requires emergency treatment.
Variant angina (Prinzmetal angina). Variant angina, also called Prinzmetal angina, isn't due to coronary artery disease. It's caused by a spasm in the heart's arteries that temporarily reduces blood flow. Severe chest pain is the main symptom of variant angina. It most often occurs in cycles, typically at rest and overnight. The pain may be relieved by angina medication.
Refractory angina. Angina episodes are frequent despite a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.
Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate. A normal heart rate should be regular and between 60 and 100 beats a minute when you're resting.
When someone has AF, it means that their heart beats in a disorganised way. This chaotic activity leads to an irregular and, usually fast pulse rate, which may cause palpitations, and increases the risk of having stroke, heart failure or other heart-related complications. AF is not immediately life-threatening in the same way as some arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) are. Most people are able to live full and active lives with AF. You can do this by taking your prescribed medication, following the medical advice you received from your doctor, having regular medical check-ups and making positive lifestyle changes.
In atrial fibrillation, the heart rate is irregular and can sometimes be very fast. In some cases, it can be considerably higher than 100 beats a minute. This can cause problems including dizziness, shortness of breath and tiredness. You may be aware of noticeable heart palpitations, where your heart feels like it's pounding, fluttering or beating irregularly, often for a few seconds or, in some cases, a few minutes.
Sometimes atrial fibrillation does not cause any symptoms and a person who has it is completely unaware that their heart rate is irregular.