Diabetes mellitus- A Lifestyle Disease

With increasing comfort in our day to day life, we have given invitation to deadly diseases in us. Our busy life has made us so involved in it that we don’t have time to look after our physical well being. 2 out of every 5 person is suffering from this disease- Diabetes, but lesser they know about what causes this disease, it’s types, symptoms and treatment.

WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes mellitus commonly known as just diabetes, is a disorder in which the body does not produce enough or respond normally to insulin, causing blood sugar(glucose) levels to be abnormally high. Doctors often use the full name Diabetes mellitus, rather than diabetes alone, to distinguish this disorder from Diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is a relatively rare disorder that does not affect blood glucose levels but just like Diabetes mellitus, also causes increased urination.

The three major nutrients that make up most food are carbohydrates, proteins, fat. Sugars are one of the three types of carbohydrates along with starch and fiber. There are many types of sugar such as simple and complex based on the number of carbon atoms they are made of. Table sugar(sucrose) is made of two simple sugars called glucose and fructose. Milk sugar(lactose) is made of glucose and a simple sugar called galactose. The carbohydrates in starches, such as bread, pasta, rice and similar foods are long chains of different simple sugar molecules. Once the body absorbs simple sugars, it usually converts them into glucose, which is an important source of fuel for the body. Glucose is the sugar that is transported through the bloodstream and taken up by the cells. The body can also make glucose from fats and proteins. Blood “sugar” really means blood glucose.

INSULIN

Insulin, a hormone released from the pancreas(an organ behind the stomach that also produces digestive enzymes) controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose in the bloodstream stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin helps glucose to move from blood into the cells. Once inside the cells, glucose is converted to energy, which is used immediately, or the glucose is stored as fat or the starch glycogen until it is needed. The level of glucose in the blood vary normally throughout the day. They rise after a meal and return to pre-meals levels within about 2 hours after eating. If the body does not produce enough insulin to move the glucose into the cells or if the cells stop responding normally to insulin(called insulin resistance), the resulting high levels of glucose in blood and inadequate amount of glucose in the cells causes diabetes.

TYPES OF DIABETES

  1. TYPE-1 DIABETES:- (formerly called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile-onset diabetes) the body’s immune system attacks the insulin producing cells of pancreas and more than 90% of them are permanently destroyed. The pancreas produces little or no insulin.
  2. TYPE-2 DIABETES:- (formerly called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes) the pancreas often continues to produce insulin, sometimes even at higher than normal levels, especially early in the disease. The insulin producing ability of the pancreas decreases.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES MELLITUS

The symptoms of high blood glucose levels include:-

  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • increased hunger
  • when the blood glucose level rises above 160 to 180 mg/dL glucose spills into the urine. When the levels of glucose in the urine rises even higher, the kidneys excrete additional water to dilute the large amount of glucose. Because the kidneys produce excessive urine, people with diabetes urinate large volumes frequently(polyuria).

Other symptoms of diabetes include:-

  • blurred vision
  • drowsiness
  • nausea
  • decreased endurance during exercise.

Treatment:-

  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Education/ awareness
  • In type-1 diabetes, insulin injections are given.
  • In type-2 diabetes, often drugs by mouth and sometimes insulin or other drugs by injection are given.