What is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus or commonly referred as Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases, in which the person has high level of blood sugar; the reason being the lack of insulin production by the pancreas or because the cells do not respond to the insulin which is produced.

What are the types of Diabetes Mellitus?

There are three main types of Diabetes Mellitus:

Type 1: In this type, the insulin producing cells are attacked by the body’s immune system. So the people suffering from Type 1 Diabetes are unable to produce insulin and therefore are required to take insulin injections lifelong for survival. It usually occurs at any age, mostly among children and young adults. It is also known as ‘insulin dependent diabetes’.

Type 2: This is basically related to hereditary factors and lifestyle factors which includes poor diet, lack of physical activity and obesity. People suffering from Type 2 Diabetes can manage their condition by bringing about important lifestyle changes. Medications and insulin injections are also required to maintain the blood sugar level. It usually occurs in people of over 40 years. But in recent times, the disease is increasing among the youth.

Gestational diabetes: This condition occurs when a woman is pregnant and usually disappears after the baby is born. But a history of the same disease increases the chances of Type 2 Diabetes. The condition though can be managed through healthy habits and a proper exercise regime.

What are the causes of Diabetes Mellitus?

Type 1 Diabetes: Our immune system fights the harmful viruses and bacteria. But in Type 1 Diabetes, the insulin producing cells which are present in the pancreas are attacked, causing little or no insulin being present. Therefore instead of being transferred into the cells, the sugar then gradually builds up in the bloodstream. It is basically caused due to genetic factors or environmental factors.

Type 2 Diabetes: the cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced by the pancreas. And it is believed that environmental factors play an important role in developing type 2 Diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes: When a woman is pregnant, the placenta is responsible for producing hormones that sustain the pregnancy. The hormones make the cells more resistant to the insulin that is produced, hence the placenta grows larger, more hormones are secreted and hence the insulin cannot do its job. Therefore little glucose stays in the cell, whereas much of it remains in the blood causing Gestational Diabetes.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus?

The symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes occur suddenly and it includes:

  • Loss of weight

  • Blurred vision

  • Weakness

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive hunger

  • Excessive thirst

  • Weight loss

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Frequent urination and bedwetting

The symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes gradually occur and are often mistaken as a part of the normal ageing process. The symptoms include:

  • Tiredness

  • Blurred vision

  • Frequent urination

  • Excessive thirst

  • Tingling and numbness in the feet and legs

  • Infections

Which consultant should be consulted if symptoms of Diabetes persist in a person?

One should consult a General Physician or Endocrinologist if symptoms persist in a person.

Is Diabetes Mellitus curable?

Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease and hence it affects the person permanently. However lifestyle changes including diet control, proper exercise regime and insulin doses do keep Diabetes under control.

What schedule should be observed to prevent Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes Mellitus is a serious disease that affects a person permanently. Following a proper treatment plan may keep Diabetes under control and also reduce the chances of serious life threatening complications.

  • Managing your Diabetes: One should acquire and learn all the possible information about Diabetes and should establish a relationship with the Diabetes educator or the Diabetes team, in order to seek any help whenever required.

  • Maintain a healthy diet and weight: A significant difference in the blood sugar can be seen if an overweight person shreds about 5 to 10 percent of their body weight. Along with losing weight one should include fruits, whole grains, legumes and vegetables in their diet in order to stay healthy.

  • Physical activity in your daily routine: Regular workouts can help prevent pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes and it can also help the people who already have Diabetes, in order to maintain a better blood sugar. Moderate exercise for a period of 30 minutes every day –like brisk walking and jogging is highly recommended. Weightlifting, yoga and aerobic exercises also help control blood sugar more than any type of exercise alone.

  • Keep your blood sugar and cholesterol under control: Healthy diet and proper exercise regime on regular basis helps for a longer period of time to control high blood pressure and cholesterol. Sometimes medication may be required.

  • Take care of your teeth: People with Diabetes are more prone to gum infections. So brushing is highly recommended. Dental exams should be scheduled at least once in a year. And if gums bleed or are swollen a dentist should be visited right away.

  • Quit smoking or other types of tobacco: Excessive smoking increases many Diabetes complications, which include heart attack, kidney disease and nerve damage. So smoking or use of any other types of tobacco should be avoided.

  • Besides all the remedies and preventions, staying positive and adopting good habits may help the person suffering from Diabetes enjoy an active and a healthy life.

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