Diabetes Mellitus is a common life-long health condition. It occurs when the blood has excessively high levels of glucose. The food we eat is broken down into glucose and is transported from the blood into the body cells, where it is used as fuel for energy. Glucose is also produced by the liver.
Insulin is a vital hormone, which is produced by the pancreas in our body. Its function is to enable body cells to absorb glucose. Diabetes develops when your body is unable to absorb this glucose and it builds up in your blood. This happens on account of the following:
Type 1 diabetes mellitus is sometimes referred to as “juvenile” diabetes, because it is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, though it may develop at any age. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks cells in its own pancreas. For some reason unknown to scientists, the immune system considers the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them.
This attack is called "autoimmune" disease. These beta cells, called “islets”, are the ones that detect glucose in our blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood glucose. With islets in pancreas destroyed, there is no insulin production in the body and sugar builds up in the blood. Consequently, the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.
Reference: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease – Causes of Diabetes
Type 2 is the more common form of diabetes. It is also referred to as “adult onset” diabetes. However, a growing number of younger people are now developing this condition. People with this condition are able to produce some of their own insulin. However, the insulin in their body is ineffective in unlocking the cells to allow glucose to enter. This condition is known as insulin resistance.
Sensing high levels of glucose in blood, the pancreas produces greater and greater amounts of insulin, to try and achieve some degree of management of blood glucose.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops in few pregnant women usually in their second or third trimester. This type of diabetes is caused by a change in the way your body responds to the hormone insulin during pregnancy. Expectant moms don’t have this condition before their pregnancy, and it usually goes away after giving birth. However, if you've had gestational diabetes, you're at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Are you concerned whether you, your child or someone you know, may have diabetes mellitus? Having some signs of diabetes does not necessarily imply that one has certainly developed the condition, but you should always contact your Doctor for advice!
Some common symptoms for both types of conditions include:
It’s important to maintain blood glucose level along with Cholesterol and Blood pressure to help prevent diabetes complications. People with diabetes must regularly check their glucose level. Diabetes is one of the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, cardiovascular disease and amputations.
Hypoglycaemia: It is a symptom when you blood sugar or blood glucose drops less than the normal level. If you are on insulin or on oral drugs that produce insulin throughout the day, it is possible for your blood sugar to drop. Hypoglycaemia is easy to recognise. You will notice symptoms such as:
Long term complications of diabetes develop over many years. High levels of glucose in blood over long period of time damages our blood vessels. The damaged blood vessels are unable to deliver blood and nutrients as effectively as they should, causing micro & macro-vascular complications.
Complications may include: