Diabetes overview


Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder, in which the blood sugar levels are abnormally high because the pancreatic cell lacks the ability to produce (sufficient) insulin to meet its needs. Diabetes is a deadly disease as it can only be managed but not cured. Some people are ignorant that they have diabetes while few others also walk around with prediabetes.

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes can be caused by any of the following

  1. When the pancreas cannot produce insulin
  2.  When the pancreas does not produce enough insulin
  3. When the body cannot utilize or make proper use of the insulin, a health disorder known as Insulin Resistance.

Role of Insulin in Diabetes

            The body is composed of millions of cells which constantly need food to derive their energy. The energy is derived from the food we eat after it has been broken down into simple forms. Most food are broken down to simple sugar called glucose, the glucose enters the bloodstream and is conveyed to cells of the body where it can be used to provide energy. Glucose at the blood is tightly regulated by a hormone called insulin (a hormone secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas) the insulin plays a role of transporting the glucose into the cells and also storing the glucose when the glucose in the blood is too high. This is a vital role of insulin thus making blood sugar to drop when it is high. Therefore in patient with diabetes, their bodies do not produce insulin or their body cell are resistant to the insulin, and in other cases the cells do not produce enough insulin.

Types of Diabetes

Types 1 Diabetes

            This is a type of diabetes whereby the patient cells do not produce insulin. This could be as a result of damaged or destroyed immune system. Patient with this type of diabetes always find it difficult as they only use insulin injections or drugs to control their blood sugar. This type of diabetes can develop at any age, mostly from the age of 20 and above.

Type 2 Diabetes      

            This usually occurs in people at 40yrs and above (sometimes called adult onset diabetes) especially those who are overweight. Patient cells find it difficult to recognize the glucose. Individuals who have the challenge of being overweight are at risk to suffer this type of diabetes. One of the easy ways to control it is by controlling the body weight through exercise, good diet and good pills which help the body use insulin better.

Gestational Diabetes

              This is common amongst pregnant women. It is triggered by pregnancy; this is because, hormone changes during pregnancy can affect insulin ability to function properly. Gestational diabetes if left untreated can develop the risk of complications to both mother and child.

     Symptoms of Diabetes

  1. Increased thirst and hunger
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Weight loss
  4. Fatigue
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Loss of consciousness

Health Problems Developed By People with Diabetes

  1. Heart disease
  2. Stroke
  3. Kidney disease
  4. Nerve damage

Risk Factors That Increases Chances of Diabetes

  1. Family history of diabetes
  2. Being overweight
  3. Physical stress
  4. Use of certain medication
  5. Damage to pancreas
  6. Age
  7. Smoking

Management of diabetes

  • Always maintain a normal sugar level
  • Balanced diet
  • Good medication
  • Controlling blood pressure

Diagnosis of Diabetes

Doctors and health personnel diagnose diabetes by measuring the blood sugar level. Blood glucose can be determined by any of the following

  1. Use of Glucometer: To do this, blood sample is usually collected from patient who have fasted overnight or 8hrs after the last meal, thus called Fasting Blood Sugar. The level vary slightly in different hospital/laboratory due to some lab and environmental conditions, but should not be higher than 125mg/dL (6.9mmol/l)

Note: it is possible to still screen blood after eaten, but even after meal the level should not be very high

  • Hemoglobin A1C:   hemoglobin is the iron containing substance that is oxygenated and carrying substance in the red blood cell. When there is a high blood level over a period of time, glucose attaches to the hemoglobin and form glycosylated hemoglobin. The measurement of hemoglobin A1C is not so common and can only be used to diagnose diabetes when testing is done by certified laboratory. People with A1C level of 6.5% or above have diabetes and pre-diabetes if the level is between 5.7-6.4%.

Table 1.1        Different Between Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes MellitusDiabetes Insipidus
1: diabetes mellitus is characterized by a high sugar level in the blood1: diabetes insipidus occurs when the kidney produces a lot of urine
2: deals with the pancreas2: has nothing to do with the pancreas
3: it occurs when the pancreatic cells cannot produce enough insulin or insulin resistance3: it occurs when the kidney filtration rate is altered
4: patients get so much tired due to high or low blood sugar level4: patients get tired due to dehydration or low electrolyte
5: patient feel thirsty because much water is used to flush out too much glucose in the blood5: patients feels thirsty because of loss of fluid

On Consecutively, Critically Pay Attention To Health, Meeting med. Certified Juggernauts(CCO PATH MJC)

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