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Life Insurance for Diabetics
It's possible to get affordable life insurance for diabetics. Your medical history and the medications you are taking will matter. The best life insurance companies for diabetics will accept you for immediate coverage, with no medical exams.
Living With Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus, often called diabetes, is a metabolic disease wherein the blood glucose levels are extremely elevated. Glucose is obtained from the foods an individual consumes every day. It is a vital source of energy and is the brain’s main source of fuel. Diabetes involves problems with insulin. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, is responsible for helping glucose get inside the cells to be stored or utilized as energy. Sometimes a person's body may not produce enough or no insulin at all. If this happens, the glucose stays in the blood and doesn't reach the cells. As time goes by, the increased glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems. It can damage your nerves, eyes and kidneys. According to CDC, crude estimates for 2018 diabetes statistics was that 26.9 million people of all ages (8.2% of the US population) had been diagnosed with diabetes.
Types and Causes
There are four types of diabetes: Prediabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes.
Prediabetes is when the blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed by doctors as diabetes. Prediabetes often leads to type 2 diabetes unless proper interventions are taken. It occurs in a person whose pancreas isn't making enough insulin to keep blood glucose in the normal range.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also called insulin-dependent, juvenile or childhood-onset, is an autoimmune condition. Autoimmune disease is when the immune system of an individual mistakenly attacks the body. For type 1 diabetes, the body attacks its own pancreas with antibodies. This results in decreased or no insulin production at all. Type 1 diabetes develops at any age but can manifest during childhood or adolescence. The cause for this type of diabetes is not exactly known but doctors think that the immune system attacks the beta-cells in pancreas that produces insulin. Experts also believe that it can be caused by genetics or external factors like viruses that can possibly trigger the disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 (aka non-insulin dependent, or adult-onset) is the most common type of diabetes. It occurs when the body uses the insulin ineffectively or it becomes resistant to insulin. When the body is resistant to insulin, the glucose cannot enter the cells hereby increasing your blood sugar in circulation. This type is caused by excess body weight, sedentary lifestyle, insulin resistance and genes. Over time, the beta-cells will be working so hard that it becomes worn-out and can no longer produce insulin.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. This happens because the placenta can produce insulin-blocking hormones. Pregnant women with this kind of diabetes have greater risk of complications in pregnancy and delivery. It may also progress to type 2 diabetes in the future. This is usually detected during a routine blood sugar test on 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.
Some factors that can cause diabetes also include: damage or removal of pancreas, hormonal diseases, medications and genetic mutations.
Symptoms of Diabetes
General symptoms of diabetes are: increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, blurry vision, wounds that won’t heal and weight loss. Since the glucose cannot enter the cell, no energy can be utilized resulting in increased hunger and fatigue. A diabetic person may experience increased urination because when the blood sugar increases, kidneys may not be able to reabsorb the glucose. Blurred vision is caused by the fluid fluctuation in the body that can make the eye lenses swell.
For type 1 diabetes, the symptoms are more severe and likely to develop faster. It is observed to happen within a week or even a few days.
Symptoms for type 2 diabetes progress much slower than type 1. It can take up to several years for an individual to notice it. Some may not even know it until the symptoms of diabetes-related problems arise. Insulin resistance can be considered as a symptom under this type. Manifestations of insulin resistance are: a) large waistline (35 or higher for women and 40 or higher for men), b) dark skin patches, c) high triglycerides, d) blood pressure and e) high blood sugar.
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes, to name a few are: family history, autoantibodies, environmental factors and geography. If a person has a family member that has type 1 diabetes, the risk is likely to increase.
There are a lot of risk factors that can be associated with type 2 diabetes. One is overweight or obesity. This is the most important risk factor because extra weight can cause the body to be resistant to insulin. As an individual gets older, the risk for diabetes also increases. This could be due to less exercise, weight gain and muscle loss. Another factor to consider is physical inactivity. Active lifestyle can help regulate weight and utilize glucose for energy. If a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes, there is a possibility that some family members may also have it.
For women who have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), there is greater likelihood for them to be prone to diabetes. PCOS is a condition due to the imbalance of hormone levels in a woman’s body.
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are known as the “good” cholesterol. If a person has less than the normal value of HDL, they could have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels may precipitate the chance for diabetes.
Complications of Diabetes
Elevated blood sugar may destroy tissue and organs in the body. The longer someone has diabetes the greater likelihood for complications. These complications can be life-threatening or it could leave somebody disabled.
Neuropathy is the damage of nerves. Diabetic neuropathy happens when too much sugar injures the walls of the capillaries. This causes numbness, pain or tingling in the area affected. It primarily starts at the tips of fingers or toes and spreads upward. Since the affected area is numb, a person may not be able to feel the presence of a sore. If neuropathy is not treated immediately, it can lead to loss in sense of feeling.
Cardiovascular disease is another complication that can be life-threatening. It can lead to heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis. The risk is even greater for those who smoke and have diabetes at the same time.
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) happens when the blood sugar level drops due to insulin or medications a person is taking. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are: rapid heartbeat, sweating, pallor, confusion, headaches, numbness in fingers, and sleepiness. These symptoms are the effect of the release of adrenaline (epinephrine). The common term for hypoglycemia is “insulin shock” or “insulin reaction”.
Diabetic coma is a life-threatening complication that can cause unconsciousness to a person. When a person is either hyperglycemic (high blood glucose) or hypoglycemic, diabetic coma could occur. This is a condition that requires immediate medical attention for a person to be saved. Symptoms of diabetic coma include: tiredness, shortness of breath, weak pulse and drowsiness.
Other complications of diabetes are retinopathy (eye problems), nephropathy (kidney damage), foot damage, skin conditions and depression.
Diagnosis of Diabetes
The doctor may require a different confirmatory test to diagnose the presence of diabetes. One of which is the fasting blood sugar (FBS). This type of test is usually conducted in the morning, after an 8-hour fasting. It will require a blood sample to be analyzed in laboratories.
Oral glucose tolerance test is performed by having the person drink a beverage containing 75 grams of glucose dissolved in mineral water. After two hours, the doctor will measure the glucose in the blood.
A1C blood test is the average level of blood glucose over 3 months. Results are in percent and are compared to the normal values.
Treatment of Diabetes
There are different ways to control elevated blood sugar. First is by having a proper balance and nutritious diet. Avoiding foods high in sugar and fat is an excellent way and at the same time increasing intake of fruits and vegetables. Exercise can also help control weight and give more energy. It is good for the heart, and cholesterol levels.
Type 1 diabetes must take insulin since the body no longer produces it. A doctor may prescribe insulin depending on its actions: Short-acting insulin (Humulin R and Novolin R), rapid acting insulin (apidra), insulin lispro (Humalog) and insulin aspart (Novolog). Long acting insulin may also be used. Examples of these are: Lantus, Toujeo, Solostar, Levemir, Tresiba.
Type 2 diabetes contains a wide range of treatment. First is Metformin. This is generally the first medication that is always prescribed. It acts by lowering glucose production and improving sensitivity to insulin. Some trade names of metformin are Fortamet and Glumetza. Sulfonylureas tells the pancreas to produce more insulin. Examples are glyburide (Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol) and glimepiride (Amaryl). Glinides (repaglinide and nateglinide) are similar in action with sulfonylureas but act faster. Thiazolidinediones make the insulin work better. They make body tissues sensitive to insulin. Examples are rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos). Sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza) and linagliptin (Trajenta) are DPP-4 inhibitors that reduce blood sugar levels. Another medication are the injectables: exenatide, liraglutide and semaglutide. They work by slowing digestion which helps lower blood sugar level. Last category for medication is the sitagliptin-2 inhibitor. These are canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance). They function by inhibiting the return of glucose to the bloodstream.