What is Diabetes?

About Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the more prevalent diseases across the world. It is estimated that about 8.3% of the adult population across the world is affected by diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is said to occur when the glucose levels in the blood are elevated.

This could happen in one of the two scenarios,

  • Either the body produces less insulin or the cells of the body are not completely sensitive or receptive to the insulin produced by the body.
  • Diabetes is a long term condition that can cause a lot of complications and is believed to double the risk of death.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus is chiefly divided into three types.

Type 1 – This is not the most common type of diabetes and this type can be found in both adults and children. When the pancreatic glands do not produce enough insulin required for metabolism of sugars, the existing diabetic condition is classified as type 1.

Type 2 – This is the most common type of diabetes affecting almost 90% of the diabetic population. When the body cells do not receive or respond to the insulin naturally produced in the body, the existing diabetic condition is classified as type 2.

Gestational Diabetes – It has been seen that the sugar levels for some women remain elevated during pregnancy. This type of diabetes is called gestational diabetes as the sugar levels remain normal both before and after pregnancy.

Causes of Diabetes

Diabetes is caused because of the defects in the body’s metabolic system. Either the pancreas produces less or no insulin or the body’s cells lose the capacity to react with the insulin to metabolize the sugars in the ingested food.

  • Diabetes can be inherited genetically too.
  • Child of parents with diabetes is at a higher risk of being affected by diabetes than a child with parents who did not have diabetes.
  • While genetics too play a role in deciding who gets affected by diabetes, the lifestyle also carries a major part of the blame.
  • Being obese and leading a sedentary lifestyle also leads to problems in metabolizing the sugars and leads to diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes manifests itself through various symptoms in the body.

  • The most common symptoms of diabetes are frequent urination and weight loss.
  • Frequent hunger pangs and thirst are also commonly found symptoms.
  • Blurring of vision, increased healing time of wounds and cuts, fatigue may also point to existing diabetes condition.

Tests & Diagnosis of Diabetes

The most common method of diagnosing DM is the blood glucose test.

  • Blood glucose levels are tested two times.
  • The first test is done when the patient has been in fasting for a minimum of 10 hours.
  • The second test is done 2 hours after taking glucose or a meal.

The normal levels for fasting are below 110 and for post prandial are below 140. Elevated levels often indicate diabetes mellitus.

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