Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person experiences high blood glucose levels either because the body produces inadequate insulin or the body cells do not respond properly to the insulin produced by the body. Patients with diabetes often experience frequent urination (polyuria), increased thirst (polydipsia) and increased hunger (polyphagia).
The 3 Types of Diabetes:
- Type 1 Diabetes
In this type of diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin. This type pf diabetes is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes or early-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes usually develops before a person is 40-years-old i.e., in early adulthood or teenage. Patients with type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.
- Type 2 Diabetes
In Type 2 Diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells in the body display insulin resistance. Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease – it gradually gets worse – and the patient will probably end up having to take insulin, usually in tablet form.
Being overweight, physically inactive and eating the wrong foods all contribute to our risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes also increases with age.
- Gestational Diabetes
This type affects females during pregnancy. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood, and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin to transport all of the glucose into their cells, resulting in progressively rising levels of glucose.
The majority of gestational diabetes patients can control their diabetes with exercise and diet. Between 10% to 20% of them will need to take some kind of blood-glucose-controlling medications. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can raise the risk of complications during childbirth.
Causes of Diabetes
Insufficient production of insulin (either absolutely or relative to the body’s needs), production of defective insulin (which is uncommon), or the inability of cells to use insulin properly and efficiently leads to hyperglycemia and diabetes.
- This latter condition affects mostly the cells of muscle and fat tissues, and results in a condition known as insulin resistance. This is the primary problem in type 2 diabetes.
- The absolute lack of insulin, usually secondary to a destructive process affecting the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, is the main disorder in type 1 diabetes.
In type 2 diabetes, there also is a steady decline of beta cells that adds to the process of elevated blood sugars. Essentially, if someone is resistant to insulin, the body can, to some degree, increase production of insulin and overcome the level of resistance. After time, if production decreases, and insulin cannot be released as vigorously, hyperglycemia develops.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
The symptoms of diabetes occur because some or all of the glucose stays in the blood, and isn’t being used as fuel for energy. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine.
The common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased frequency of urination, especially at night
- Frequently feeling thirsty
- Weakness and fatigue
- Unexplained loss of weight
- Genital itching or thrush
- Blurred vision
- Increase in healing time of cuts and wounds