What Is Diabetes Mellitus

Many people know that sugar and diabetes mellitus go hand in hand, but that is about the extent of most peoples knowledge of the disease. With a healthy person, the body needs glucose in order to function properly, but sometimes it is unable to process the amount of sugar it receives from our diets. When the body is unable to process sugar efficiently, the person develops diabetes. Recognizing the symptoms of the disease at its earliest onset will help in effecting the necessary treatment.

Statistics released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that over 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. That figure represents some 30 million people or 9.4% of the population having diagnosed diabetes while another 84.1 million are estimated to have borderline diabetes or prediabetes. This figure becomes daunting when you realize that this represents a third of U.S. adults having prediabetes that do not even know they have it.

What Is Diabetes? | 2 Minute Guide | Diabetes UK

Types of Diabetes Mellitus

The three main types of diabetes mellitus are:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Gestational Diabetes

Rarer types of diabetes are:

  • NDM – Neonatal Diabetes Mellitus
  • MODY – Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young
  • CFRD – Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes where the body is unable to produce any of the insulin it needs to function. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease; that is, the body is turning on itself. With Type 1 diabetes, it does this by destroying the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Once these cells are destroyed, the body can no longer produce insulin. Persons with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin daily for the rest of their lives. Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile diabetes because it is found most frequently in children and young adults.

Type 2 Diabetes

This was formerly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, but even children can have type 2 diabetes. With this type of diabetes, the body produces some insulin, but not as much as it needs to regulate sugar levels.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only affects pregnant women, hence, the name. It normally occurs late in a pregnancy and results from the hormonal changes taking place. It normally disappears after giving birth.

Risk factors for Diabetes

One of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes is being overweight. Overweight people can delay the onset of the disease or even prevent it by losing weight. For women, having gestational diabetes is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. People over the age of forty-five should be tested for diabetes annually.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The main signs of diabetes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Increasing need to urinate and increased quantity of urine produced
  • Blurry vision
  • Minor cuts and scratches take longer to heal than usual
  • Losing weight without any apparent reason
  • Being constantly tired

Treatment of Diabetes

Typical treatments for diabetes include:

  • Medication which is primarily Insulin
  • Controlling and lowering your blood pressure
  • Lowering your LDL cholesterol levels
  • Exercising
  • Losing weight

Changing lifestyle habits can be hard, but it is necessary if you get a diagnosis of diabetes. Being told that you have diabetes does not mean that your life is over, so take heart. What it means is that you must now pay attention to what you eat and increase your level of physical activity.