Well if you want to know what is diabetes, it is a worldwide problem related to both lifestyle and genetics as well as some unknowns. According to a recent research conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, roughly 101 million Indians have diabetes, with another 136 million in the pre-diabetic stage.

What is Diabetes: Types, Causes and Treatments

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition which develops when the pancreas does not release enough insulin to meet the body’s requirements for various reasons, or when the body is unable to properly utilize insulin owing to resistance.

Glucose is released in the bloodstream once food is broken down. A rise in blood sugar level results in Pancreas releasing due to which blood sugar is utilized by cells as energy.

If the pancreas does not produce sufficient amounts of insulin or cells develop resistance to insulin, it will cause blood sugar levels in the body to increase leading to diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

In Type 1 diabetes pancreas makes very little or no insulin at all. Insulin helps the glucose in the bloodstream to enter the cells in our body which is used as energy. In the absence of insulin blood sugar fails to enter the cells and rises in the bloodstream.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes arises when secretion of insulin is insufficient in helping cells in utilizing an appropriate quantity of glucose in the blood. In certain circumstances, the cells may develop insulin resistance. In each of these cases, the blood sugar level increases.

Type 1.5 Diabetes

Type 1.5 diabetes is also called Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in adulthood and gradually turns worse with time as the person gets old. 

In 1.5 diabetes pancreas stops making insulin, but this process develops slowly and patients aren’t required to take insulin immediately. 

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women with no prior history in diabetes may develop Gestational Diabetes during her pregnancy. If someone experiences gestational diabetes, the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes increases significantly.

Diabetes Symptoms

It is not uncommon for people to have diabetes without being aware of it because the  symptoms do not make them feel unwell.

Here are some common diabetes symptoms:

  • Persistent feeling of thirst
  • Increased frequency of urination.
  • Consistent fatigue.
  • Gradual loss of weight with increased appetite.
  • Delayed recovery from illness or healing of  wounds
  • Repeated episodes of itching or fungal infection around the genitals
  • Blurred vision

Symptoms of Diabetes in Men include:

  • Erectile dysfunction due to damage to nerves and blood vessels.
  • Genital thrush due to fungal yeast infection.
  • Reduced muscle mass. 

Symptoms of Diabetes present in women include: 

  • Itching around genitals and pain with vaginal and oral yeast infection
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning scalp hair
  • Hair growth on face and body
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

Diabetes Causes

The exact cause of most types of diabetes is not known. Diabetes’s basic cause is when the body does not produce sufficient quantities of insulin or develops insulin resistance. This leads to abnormally higher levels of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream.

Type 1 Diabetes Causes

Type 1 Diabetes is supposed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce the insulin in the body. 

Diabetes Type 1 is also triggered by following factors:

  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Chemical toxins within food
  • Unidentified trigger in the environment in persons with a genetic predisposition.

Type 2 Diabetes Causes

Type 2 Diabetes has multiple causes and a variety of risk factors. Most important is the family history of type 2 diabetes.

Other important contributing factors for Diabetes Type 2 are :

  • Obesity
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Growing old
  • Bad food habits
  • Infection of the pancreas or pancreatitis.

Type 1.5 Diabetes Causes

Type 1.5 Diabetes can be caused by damage to the pancreas by antibodies to insulin-producing beta cells. Some genetic traits can be possible triggers.

Gestational Diabetes Causes

During pregnancy, the body makes some important hormones and goes through changes like weight gain. Due to these changes body cells are sometimes unable to use insulin properly, a condition called insulin resistance. Most of the pregnant women may secrete sufficient insulin and overcome insulin resistance but some may not and develop gestational diabetes. Being overweight or having a family history of diabetes is linked to gestational diabetes.

Diabetes Complications

Diabetes can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening complications. 

  • High blood sugar can have high sugar levels in saliva and may compromise oral health. Bacteria in the mouth flourish in this saliva can  cause gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities.
  • It can cause damage to blood vessels in the retina and damaged blood vessels can swell and leak. This leads to diabetic retinopathy in both eyes. It may also be responsible for macular edema, cataract, and glaucoma.

Diabetic patients are at high risk of developing:

  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Heart failure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Dysfunction
  • Nephropathy
  •  Renal failure

Prevention of Diabetes

We can prevent Diabetes by making simple lifestyle changes in our daily routine such as maintaining a  normal body weight and being more physically active. Physical activity increases the insulin sensitivity of cells. Brisk walking and aerobic exercise are good options.

It is important to eat a diet that includes broccoli, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, protein from eggs, tofu, fish, chicken, and yogurt, whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, nuts, legumes, and citrus fruits. If you quit smoking, it helps prevent or delay the onset of diabetes as well. Avoid saturated fats, sugary foods, and starchy foods.

Read our post on 10 Best Foods to Eat if you have Diabetes and 10 Foods to Avoid for more details

Diabetes Treatments

Diagnosing diabetes early is essential for effective management. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for treating diabetes. Controlling blood sugar through diet, oral medication which may include alternative medicine or insulin is the main treatment. Monitoring of complications at regular intervals is essential for the better management of diabetes.

Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes and 1.5 Diabetes 

Type 1 and Type 1.5 diabetes treatment varies from individual to individual and is complex.

  • These patients require insulin injection daily in divided doses to remain alive and healthy.
  • The dose of insulin depends upon the patient’s weight ,age, his physical activity and the type and amount of diet he eats. 
  • It also depends on his blood glucose level, So close monitoring of the blood glucose level is needed. 
  •  Larger doses of insulin are required during pregnancy, puberty and when one is taking steroid medicines. 

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes 


Reduces excessive release of glucose from the liver and also increases the sensitivity of insulin.

Stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin constantly but also increases the risk of low blood sugar and weight gain.

Stimulates the pancreas to stimulate more insulin but at the same time increases the risk of low blood sugar and weight gain.

Makes the body’s cells  more sensitive to insulin. Possible side effects include, risk of congestive cardiac failure, bladder cancer, osteoporosis and obesity.
 SGLT2 Inhibitorsblock the reabsorption of glucose and enhances its excretion via  filtration through kidneys. So more glucose is removed in urine. These medicines minimize the  chances of heart attack and stroke.

Gestational Diabetes Treatment

Pregnant women with gestational diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar levels every few  hours throughout the day. For credible advice, consult your gynecologist if your blood sugar levels are high.

Alternative Medicine for Diabetes

Alternative medicines or alternative therapies are being widely practiced by the diabetic the world over because total recovery from diabetes is not achieved till now. 

Several alternative medicines such as Homoeopathic, Ayurvedic, Unani, Siddha, and therapies like Dietary supplements, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and Yoga asanas for diabetes along with various medicinal herbs are also used to control high blood sugar.

Homeopathic Medicine for Diabetes

Most widely used homeopathic medicines for diabetes treatment are:

  • Syzygium Jambolanum Q. 

It is the most useful remedy in diabetes mellitus when there is great thirst, copious urination of high specific gravity, debility and diabetic ulceration.

  • Gymnema Sylvestre Q. 

Excellent medicine for diabetes mellitus when there is frequent urination day and night. Urine is of high specific gravity and contains a large quantity of sugar.

  • Helonias Q. 

Diabetes with albuminous and phosphatic urine . Urine is profuse and clear and contains sugar.

  • Phosphoric Acid 

Diabetes with impotence and frequent profuse, watery and milky urine. 

  • Uranium Nitricum

Diabetes with nephropathy,high blood pressure, and great emaciation,withincresed appetite and thirst.

Unani Medicine for Diabetes

Unani medicines in single and compound formulations are said to be useful in type 2 diabetes. 

Unani antidiabetic formulations like Qurse Tabasheer. Safoof-e-Ziabetes-Dulbi and Garlitab Are the most recommended medicines. These medicines are also used as an adjuvant with the conventional drugs.

Siddha Medicine for Diabetes

In the Siddh system of medicines diabetes is known as Neerizhivu , Pramagham, Madhumegham etc. 

Siddha medicines act by strengthening the pancreas, regulating the easy flow of insulin and increasing the glucose intolerance and curing chronic diabetes mellitus. 

Medicines like Seenthil Kudineer, Seenthil Choornam, Vilva Kudineer, Madhumegha Choornam, Silasathu Parpam, Abaraka chendooram and Triphala Choornam etc are used as siddha medicines.

Ayurvedic Medicine for Diabetes

The Ayurvedic system approaches any illness holistically. Ayurveda describes diabetes as Madhumeha (literally, sweet urine). 

Prameha refers to diseases associated with high blood sugar levels. Diabetes mellitus is known as Vata Prameha. 

It results from an imbalance in Vata Dosha. Kapha Prameha (Diabetes insipidus) occurs as a result of an imbalance of the Kapha Dosha.

Read How to Identify your Dominant Dosha to find out

Ayurvedic Herbs for Diabetes

Various traditional Indian herbs are beneficial in managing blood sugar levels and boost overall immunity.


Karela or Bitter melon contains flavonoids, saponin, catechins, charantin which are effective in insulin production and helps in regulating blood sugar levels.


Jamun seeds stimulate insulin secretion, making them excellent for people with diabetes. Furthermore, jamun seeds facilitate wound healing in diabetics and reduce the risk of kidney dysfunction.


Giloy leaves are quite effective in controlling blood sugar levels and treating other symptoms related to diabetes. The antioxidants in this herb also help boost immunity and reduce free radical damage.


Revered as one of the most versatile and powerful herbs in Ayurveda, Amla is rich in vitamin C and contains  chromium which  helps in regulating carbohydrate metabolism, enhances insulin sensitivity and aids in regulating blood sugar levels.

Aloe Vera 

One of the compounds present in aloe vera is glucomannan. Studies have shown that it has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels along with detoxifying the body.


Diabetes is a serious medical problem that affects millions of people across the world.

If not tackled properly it can lead to various  health complications which includes, heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and damage to nerves.

It is a slow killer and there is no curable treatment available till now.

But by creating awareness among the masses about the types of diabetes, its causes, symptoms, and the available option of treatment for diabetes the individuals are persuaded to choose the best possible option of treatment. 

This will help them to manage the condition effectively to prevent diabetic complications and lead a healthy life.