Diabetes mellitus is a
disease characterized by high levels of blood sugar (glucose).
The causes of high blood sugar are linked with the defects in the
body's ability to produce and/or use insulin (hormone
secreted by pancreas). The function of insulin is to transport
glucose from the bloodstream into muscle, fat, and liver cells,
where it provides energy. Elevated levels of blood glucose
(hyperglycemia) lead to spillage of glucose into the urine.
The high level of blood sugar produces the general symptoms of
polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased
thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).
Main types of diabetes are the following:
- Type 1 diabetes: resulting from the body's failure to
produce insulin, and requires the person to inject insulin.
- Type 2 diabetes: resulting from insulin resistance, a
condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes
combined with an absolute insulin deficiency.
- Gestational diabetes: is developed when pregnant
women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood
glucose level during pregnancy. Such women may develop
type 2 diabetes at later stage.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Many of its symptoms
seem so harmless that Diabetes often goes undiagnosed for a long time.
The chance of developing the complications of diabetes can be reduced if
detected at the initial stage.
Any of the type 1
Cuts/bruises that are
slow to heal
Tingling/numbness in the
Recurring skin, gum, or
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Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes can develop
microvascular disease (damage to small blood vessels) which
leads to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Diabetes also
play a vital role in developing macrovascular disease by
accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries
(atherosclerosis) which leads to strokes, coronary
heart disease and
other diseases of large blood vessel
Diabetes is a chronic disease which can be controlled but it
lasts for lifelong.
The fasting blood sugar test is the preferred way of diagnosing
diabetes. It is performed by testing the blood sample after the
person has fasted at least 8 hours,
plasma glucose levels are less than 100 milligrams per deciliter
glucose levels of more than 126 mg/dl on two or more tests on
different days indicate diabetes.
A random blood
glucose test can also be used to diagnose diabetes. A blood
glucose level of 200 mg/dl or higher indicates diabetes.