Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Mellitus, or simply Diabetes, is a condition wherein the cells in the body are unable to absorb sugar and use it for energy, resulting in a build up of sugar in the bloodstream. The lack of ability to absorb sugar often happens as a result of a lack of “insulin” in the body. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, which helps the body absorb glucose from the food we eat. A lack of insulin produced can, hence, cause glucose to remain in the bloodstream. Diabetes can also occur when the insulin produced by the pancreas is adequate, but the cells do not respond to it.
There are various types of diabetes known today, which are as follows:
  • Type 1, which occurs as a kind of autoimmune disease wherein the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body itself. Such a diabetes often requires daily intake of insulin to help counter the deficit in the body.
  • Type 2, wherein the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin, or the body does not respond to the insulin produced. This is the most common type of diabetes in people.
  • Prediabetes, which is the initial stages of diabetes observed, before it is officially diagnosed as Type 2. In this stage, high levels of glucose is observed in the bloodstream, but not enough to confirm the diagnosis as Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that occurs in some women during pregnancy. This type of diabetes often goes away postpartum, but could pose a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
Other less commonly known diabetes types include Monogenic diabetes syndrome, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, as well as drug or chemical-induced diabetes.
Diabetes can be caused by a variety of reasons, depending on the type of diabetes developed. Some common causes include:
  • Genetics or heredity
  • Immune system issues
  • Unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits
  • Injury or trauma to the pancreas
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Low levels of good cholesterol
  • Old age
  • PCOS (women)
  • Personal medical history of heart diseases or stroke
  • Smoking and/or excessive drinking
Diabetes is often characterized by various symptoms including:
  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Blurry vision
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands/feet
  • Slow healing of sores or cuts
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained infections
  • Dry mouth
Diabetes is a serious health condition which, if not taken care of, can be fatal and can affect bodily functions severely.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diabetes can be diagnosed through a range of tests, by the doctor. The tests usually take into consideration, the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. The most commonly used diagnostic tests include Fasting plasma glucose test, Random plasma glucose test, A1c test, as well as Oral glucose tolerance test. Blood and urine samples may also be tested to accurately determine your exact condition.
Treatments for diabetes often includes oral medications and/or insulin treatments, paired with better and healthier lifestyle habits. These treatments can help stimulate the pancreas to create insulin, slow down the release of glucose from the liver, get rid of excess glucose through urination or even block the breakdown of carbohydrates so that the cells can react better to the body’s insulin. As for insulin treatments, they refer to insulin that is directly taken into the body to substitute for the lack of natural produced insulin. This can be of various types, and is often injected through needle and syringe, or through insulin pens, pumps and even inhalers. In severe cases, treatments such as a pancreas transplant, or a bariatric surgery may be recommended.

Prevention and Remedies

Type 1 diabetes, or ones caused by underlying conditions usually cannot be prevented as they develop due to mostly uncontrollable factors. However, prediabetes, gestational diabetes as well as type 2 diabetes can be prevented to a great extent through healthy lifestyle habits including:
  • Eating healthy and balanced meals
  • Staying physically active
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Lowering your stress levels
  • Quitting smoking
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Getting adequate sleep

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Diabetes Mellitus