Diabetes, otherwise known as Diabetes mellitus, is among the metabolic ailments whose victim’s blood sugar level is abnormally high. This may occur as a result of malfunctioning of the pancreas, making it unable to produce sufficient insulin or cells to respond to the insulin released by the pancreas. The common symptoms associated with this condition include:
• Frequent urination (polyuria)
• feeling excessively thirsty (polydipsia)
• Increased hunger (polyphagia)
Diabetes mellitus comes in three different types: type 1 DM, type 2 DM and gestational diabetes.
Type 1DM develops in patients whose bodies are unable to produce insulin. In this case, the person needs to have an insulin injection or alternatively, be placed on an insulin pump. Before, this type of diabetes was known as juvenile diabetes or Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus – IDDM.
Earlier, type 2 DM was known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus – NIDDM or adult-onset diabetes. In type 2 DM, the body resists insulin; the cells are unable to make proper use of available insulin and at times this is coupled by a total lack of insulin.
Gestation diabetes develops in expectant mothers when their blood glucose level rises. It is believed to commonly occur in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies and can be fully treated under certain strict medical care conditions during the expectant period. Usually, these pregnant women do not have any history of diabetes and this may herald the development of type 2 DM in 20% to 50% of the their total number later in life.
There are various forms of diabetes mellitus: congenital diabetes – which is caused by genetic faults in the secretion of insulin, steroid diabetes – which is prompted by increased quantities of glucocorticoids – diabetes linked to cystic fibrosis and a number of other types of monogenic diabetes.
Diabetes can result in numerous complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotich hyperosmolar coma if left unattended to. Over time, serious complications such as heart ailments, persistent renal failure and diabetic retinopathy occur. Early treatments, proper control of one’s blood pressure, turning to a healthy lifestyle (maintaining an appropriate body weight and shunning smoking) are among healthy practices that can help to control the effects diabetes.
Insulin was discovered in 1921 and since then all types of diabetes are curable. However, type 1 and 2 diabetes are extremely persistent conditions which cannot be remedied. It is possible to manage type 2 diabetes using drugs. Hypoglycaemia, also known as low blood sugar can be caused by insulin and a number of oral medications which can be risky especially if the attack is severe. Pancreas transplants have been successfully used to remedy type 1 DM while gastric bypass operation has been quite effective in various serious cases of obesity and type 2 DM. After a diabetic woman gives birth, it is believed that gestational diabetes disappears.