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Diabetes mellitus

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What is diabetes mellitus (diabetes)?

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a condition where the defective production of the insulin doesn’t allow the body cells to utilize the glucose for energy production. Non-utilization of the glucose by the body cells then leads to high levels of glucose circulating in the blood which is considered as characteristic for diabetes.

To understand this in detail you need to know the following things:

Glucose is the main component of the food that is needed by the body cells to produce energy and perform its function. Glucose, a form of sugar which is either absorbed from your gut after eating food or is synthesized in the liver.

Insulin is the hormone that is produced by the pancreas which allows the glucose to enter into the cells and to be utilized for energy production.

Any abnormally in the production (Type I diabetes) or functioning of the insulin (Type II diabetes) results in the non-utilization of the glucose by the body cells affecting their functioning. It also results in high levels of glucose circulating in the blood. Both of these issues result in the production of symptoms seen in diabetes.

What are the types of diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Occurs due to no or little production of the insulin. This occurs due to damage of the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) of the pancreas by the body’s immune system. These people require insulin injections to manage their blood glucose levels. This type of diabetes mainly affects people below 30 years of age, but can also occur in older individuals. This is a less common form which comprises only 10% of the cases of diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

This occurs when the pancreas cells produce glucose but either it is not enough or your cells have become resistant to the insulin. This is the commonest form of diabetes which constitutes 90% of the cases of diabetes. This is mainly seen in individuals above 40 years of age, however, it can also be seen in younger individuals.

There are other forms of diabetes which are either less common or may occur due to temporary settings or conditions such as-

Pregnancy (gestational diabetes): this form of diabetes develops in some women during pregnancy and resolves after delivering the baby. This occurs due to hormonal changes that make the female body cells resistant to glucose during pregnancy. These women also become prone to developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Surgery: after getting operated


Certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis

What are the symptoms of diabetes?


The signs and symptoms you may experience in diabetes are :

• Increased thirst

• Increased hunger (especially after eating)

• Increased urination

• Dry mouth

• Unexplained weight loss (even with significant eating and feeling hungry)

• Feeling weak and tired

• Blurred vision

• Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

• Slow-healing sores

• Dry and itchy skin

• Recurrent urinary tract infections or yeast infections more in females

• Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or decreased muscle strength in men

The symptoms in type 1 diabetes usually start quickly and become severe. However, in type 2 diabetes the symptoms tend to develop gradually over a period of time, which can be so mild that it remains unnoticed. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t experience symptoms and get to know about their condition in blood tests either done for a health check-up or some other condition. Some individuals may not come to know about the underlying condition until they develop complications related to diabetes such as heart conditions, vision problems, and others.

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How diabetes is diagnosed?

As discussed, the signs and symptoms of diabetes may develop gradually or may remain unnoticed until the development of complications, international societies such as the American diabetes association (ADA) have devised a recommendation to screen people for timely detection of diabetes.

How diabetes is treated?

There is no cure for diabetes, however, it can be very well managed and kept under control. You can do this by means of

• Lifestyle changes

• Regular glucose monitoring

• Medicines

• Insulin injections


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