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What Actually Causes Diabetes? Your Diabestie Episode 11

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In this episode of Your Diabestie, Mila discussed the multifaceted nature of diabetes, including its causes and symptoms, and highlighted the different types of diabetes and their management strategies.

She emphasized the importance of recognizing warning signs and seeking appropriate care and support.


Mila shares advice on making small lifestyle changes to impact blood glucose readings and stressed the importance of getting tested for diabetes to determine the type and prevent serious complications.

She encourages seeking support as a proactive approach to health.

Overall, this episode empowers listeners to understand and navigate the complexities of diabetes.

Your Diabestie Episode Topics

Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Diabetes
She discusses the common types of diabetes, including type 1, type 1.5, type 2, and gestational diabetes, and their respective management approaches. Furthermore, she delves into the symptoms of diabetes, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and seeking support for these warning signs.

  • Types of diabetes
  • Causes of diabetes
  • Symptoms of diabetes

Tips for balancing and managing diabetes

  • Stay active.
  • Incorporate more plants into diet.
  • Regular blood test to measure glucose levels.
  • Have your diagnosis confirmed.
  • Get screened if you have additional risks.

Key questions in this episode:

  • What are the causes of diabetes?
  • How is diabetes tested and diagnosed?

Episode Transcript

What Actually Causes Diabetes? Your Diabestie Episode 11

:00 Hi Diabesties! Welcome back to another episode of the Your Diabestie podcast, the podcast that ensures you never have to do diabetes alone. I’m your host, Neela Clark. I live with latent autoimmune diabetes in adults. And today we’re diving into a crucial and sometimes misunderstood topic. What causes diabetes? From causes and risk factors to symptoms and testing, we’ve got you covered on the basics in this episode. So grab your cup of tea or coffee, learn a little bit more about the basics of diabetes with me today, and I hope that you enjoy this episode.

4:38 – Mila Clarke
Today’s episode is sponsored by the Glucose Guide app, Cigarette Glucose Stabilizer, and BioCare Nutrition. Thanks to these sponsors for giving me the ability to host conversations on a platform like your Diabestie. But let’s kick things off and explore the causes of diabetes. Diabetes is like a puzzle, right? A puzzle has multiple pieces and it’s complex and everything has to be put together to see the whole picture. One key piece of diabetes is genetics, which influences our predisposition to the condition.

5:20 – Mila Clarke
But diabetes is not just in our genes. Lifestyle factors like diet and physical activity can also play a significant role in impacting our risk for developing diabetes. So putting it simply, Diabetes is a chronic and progressive disease that affects how the body processes glucose or sugar. Glucose is a crucial source of energy for our body cells. And that’s where the hormone insulin comes in. Insulin plays a vital role in regulating our glucose levels. But for people with diabetes, our bodies either cannot produce enough insulin or we’ve become insulin resistant to the effects of insulin.

6:03 – Mila Clarke
And as a result, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and it can lead to serious health complications if unmanaged. Now, there are more than 10 classified types of diabetes, but for the sake of this episode, we’re going to be talking about the most common types of diabetes. That’s type 1 and 1.5, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. And this type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood.

6:38 – Mila Clarke
However, it’s not always. I am a prime example of that as a person with LADA. Management of type 1 diabetes requires daily insulin injections for management. That could be through basal insulin, bolus insulin, a combination of both inhaled insulin. There are different insulins on the market that allow people with type 1 and insulin dependent people with type 2 to be able to manage blood sugars. And on the other hand, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to regulate glucose levels.

7:20 – Mila Clarke
And this type of diabetes is commonly associated with lifestyle factors like obesity, a lack of a healthy diet, a lack of physical activity, but it is super important to remember, those things aren’t causes of diabetes. They are factors that contribute to diabetes, but they do not cause it. Additionally, food. Food does not cause diabetes. That’s a misconception that we got to get out of the way in this episode. Food is not a cause. Diet is a factor, but it is not a cause. And then rounding out, gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.

8:02 – Mila Clarke
It usually goes away after giving birth, but women who have had gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. And speaking of risk factors, there are a few more pieces to this puzzle. Family history, age, body weight, high blood pressure, those are all factors that can increase our chances of developing diabetes. And understanding these risks helps us to empower ourselves to take care of our health. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is still unknown, but it’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

8:43 – Mila Clarke
As for type 2 diabetes, some risk factors include family history, obesity, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and older age. Gestational diabetes occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. Moving right along, let’s delve into the symptoms of diabetes. Because symptoms are our body’s way of sending out an SOS signal that something is happening. And symptoms like frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, and fatigue are very common warning signs of diabetes.

9:17 – Mila Clarke
Understanding that these symptoms can prompt us to seek support and care we need is really important. The symptoms of diabetes can vary from person to person, but some common signs, as we just talked about, include excessive thirst, frequent urination, especially at night, extreme hunger, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing of sores or cuts, and numbness or tingling in the hands and feet. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan for diabetes management.

9:57 – Mila Clarke
Managing symptoms is key. It’s like taking the wheel and navigating your own journey. And if you have followed me for any period of time, you know that I am all about the small changes making a big impact. So incorporating more plants into your diet, balancing fat, fiber, and protein, and staying active are some ways that you can take small steps to make a big difference in your blood glucose readings. I really think it’s important to have a plan and to understand what is happening in your body.

10:33 – Mila Clarke
That can be a game changer and it can feel so empowering to be able to get the answers that you deserve. Now, let’s talk about getting tested for diabetes. It’s super essential to be proactive about our health and getting tested is a crucial step. These tests help to paint a clear picture of our blood sugar levels and overall health, and also help to get us on the right treatment plan. So a diagnosis of diabetes usually involves a blood test to measure the levels of glucose in the bloodstream.

11:05 – Mila Clarke
Depending on the results, additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis, like my diagnosis of LADA. I had a high A1C, but I had not been tested for antibodies. If I had, probably would have shown up a little bit differently. So confirming is super important and that helps to determine the type of diabetes that you’re living with. Some of these tests may include an oral glucose tolerance test or a glycated hemoglobin A1C test. We’re all familiar. I think when we have diabetes with the A1C test, it is a three month average of your blood sugar concentration, or you might have an antibody test like the one I received to confirm my LAVA diagnosis.

11:46 – Mila Clarke
It’s important to know that early detection and treatment of diabetes can prevent or delay serious complications like heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, and vision loss. And that’s why it’s crucial to have regular checkups and screenings if you have any risk factors or symptoms of diabetes. All right, Diabetes, that wraps up today’s episode on understanding what causes diabetes. I hope this added some additional clarity and gives you a better understanding of diabetes as a whole.

12:18 – Mila Clarke
I think the key takeaway here and in everything that I talk about is really that knowledge is power. And so if you suspect that you might have diabetes or are concerned about your risk, reach out to a health care provider. That’s the first step in just understanding where you are. And seeking support is a sign of health and a sign of strength. It is not a sign of weakness. It is not a sign of you doing anything wrong. So you’re not alone in this journey. And I just am so appreciative of you listening to your Diabestie.

12:54 – Mila Clarke
To get the transcript and video of this episode, visit diabestipod.com and be sure to follow me and let me know what you thought about the episode. I’m at the hangry woman everywhere on the internet. So take care. See you all next time. And bye.

About Mila

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m earning my Master’s degree in Applied nutrition.

I’m a journalist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living with  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen, and teaching you about diabetes self-management.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals and tips on diabetes self-care.

Be sure to download my FREE Diabetes Community App Glucose Guide, or reach out for FREE 1:1 diabetes health and habit coaching.

How can I help with your diabetes management?

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