Understanding Diabetes Mellitus: An Overview

Glucometer diabetes [yestogoodness.com]

Diabetes is a common health problem worldwide. Its prevalence among adults rose from 4.7% in the year 1980 to 8.5% in the year 2014.[1] The statistics are continuously increasing, particularly in low and middle-income nations. Diabetes is the foremost cause of blindness, kidney disorder, heart ailments, lower extremity amputation, and stroke among patients on a global scale.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the cells in your pancreas. It is a crucial ingredient for the metabolism of your glucose. Diabetes is a long-term health condition that occurs either when the cells in your pancreas do not yield enough amount of insulin or when your body cannot utilize the insulin it yields effectively, making it accumulate in the bloodstream.


Types of Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes happens when your pancreas does not produce insulin. This is due to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Usually, people develop type 1 diabetes before they reach 40 years old. Many develop the disease during adolescence and early adulthood.


Type 2 Diabetes

Meanwhile, Type 2 diabetes happens when your pancreas produces insufficient insulin, or when there is an insulin resistance within the cells, a condition in which your cells cannot use insulin effectively. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes globally are categorized as Type 2.


Other Forms of Diabetes

Limited and rare kinds of diabetes can result from specific conditions, such as diseases of the pancreas, and certain surgical operations, medications, and viral infections.[2]

Gestational diabetes is another form of diabetes that occurs exclusively in pregnant women.


Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus

  • Frequent urination
  • Intense thirst and hunger
  • Weight gain or unusual weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Male sexual dysfunction
  • Cuts and bruises that do not easily heal
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet


Diabetes Management

Self-monitoring

Diabetes control requires frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose levels, which leads to reasonable adjustments in insulin doses. If you’re diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you should know how to self-monitor and keep track of your blood glucose levels using a glucometer for home use.


Healthy exercise and diet

You should have a complete diet plan with the help of a professional dietitian. This may include the following:
  • Consuming appropriate amounts of dietary carbohydrate, fat, and protein
  • Proper division of calories between meals and snacks
  • Never skip a meal, especially when taking medicines

Aside from a modified diet, a healthy exercise is also crucial in diabetes management.


Insulin Treatment          

Diabetes also requires long-term insulin therapy. You may use two or more injections of insulin daily, with doses adjusted based on your blood sugar.


How to Prevent Diabetes?

Preventing diabetes is as basic as eating healthy foods, leading an active lifestyle, and maintaining a normal body weight. You may consider the following tips on how to prevent diabetes:


Exercise

Research shows that regular exercise can avoid control diabetes. You can enroll in a fitness program that includes both ways of losing weight and lowering your blood sugar.

Eat a high-fiber diet

Incorporate high-fiber foods in your diet such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These foods have many health benefits including:
  • Improves your blood sugar control
  • Lowers your risk of acquiring diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Promotes weight loss by helping you feel full

Quit smoking

Smoking can predispose you to many health conditions including, not only diabetes, but also atherosclerosis, heart disease, and many types of cancer. The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a link between smoking and second-hand smoke exposure to type 2 diabetes.[3] Smokers are 30–40% more likely to acquire type 2 diabetes than those who do not smoke.


When to Consult Your Doctor

Doctor consultations are not only done during treatment. It is also recommended for screening purposes.
  • If you're over 45 years old and your weight is normal, you may ask your doctor if diabetes testing is suitable for you.
  • You're over 45 years old and overweight
  • You're younger than 45 years old and overweight, with more than one risk factors for type 2 diabetes like a family history and a sedentary lifestyle.


Show Credits/References

[1] “Diabetes Fact Sheet.” World Health Organization, Nov. 2017, www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/.

[2] “Understanding Diabetes.” Diabetes Quebec, May 2014, www.diabete.qc.ca/en/understand-diabetes/all-about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes/other-types-of-diabetes.

[3] “Smoking and Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 23 Jan. 2017, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/diabetes.html.

Image source: Pixabay, Sarah Pflug, Nicole


About the Author



Elliot Sanchez | Profile | Articles | Hire Her
Elliot is a health and personal finance enthusiast who lives her life below her means. She is obsessed with reading financial literacy books and health articles. Elliot has been blogging and writing web contents for 5 years and counting.

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