Knowing diabetes mellitus: Understanding the disease and its symptoms

Diabetes, dibetology, diabetologist

Summary: Diabetes is not an uncommon disease and can be seen in different age groups now. Its origin or why it happens is a mystery to diabetologists till date. Read on to get a clear concise.

The Greek word diabetes means to siphon or to pass through. This is because in diabetes excess sugar is found in blood as well as the urine. Hence, in the 17th century it was known as the pissing evil.

Diabetes is a chronic disorder in which the blood glucose or sugar levels are on the higher side. With type 1 diabetes, the body fails to produce insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, the body is unable to make adequate use of the insulin. It is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose from food to enter the body’s cells where it is converted into energy required by muscles and tissues to function normally. As a result, a person suffering from diabetes does not absorb glucose properly, and glucose circulates in the blood (hyperglycemia) destroying tissues over time. This damage leads to life threatening complications.

Type 1 diabetes often develops suddenly and the symptoms are: abnormal thirst or dry mouth; frequent urination; exhaustion or lack of energy; constant hunger; sudden weight loss; slow-healing wounds; recurrent infections; blurred vision, etc. People with type 1 diabetes can lead normal lives by combining daily shot of insulin, close observation, a healthy diabetes diet and regular physical exercise. However, the number of people developing type 1 diabetes is augmenting each year. The reasons are still unclear.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms make take an eternity to surface or to be recognized during which time the body is being damaged by surplus blood glucose. However, patients are normally diagnosed when symptoms of diabetes surface. Although the reasons for developing this acute disease are still unclear, there are several important risk factors including: fatness; poor nutrition; physical indolence; increasing age; family history of diabetes; background; lack of proper food during pregnancy affecting the growth of child and so on. Contrary to people with type 1 diabetes, individuals suffering from type 2 diabetes do not typically require daily shots of insulin to survive. Although, they may be prescribed insulin along with oral medicines, a balanced diet and increased physical activity to manage the symptoms. Type 2 diabetes is on a rampage and numbers are only increasing rapidly worldwide. The rise is usually associated with economic development, ageing populations, increased urbanization, dietary alterations, less exercises and changes in other lifestyle patterns, environment deviations, etc. Those having diabetes may have consequent serious health issues. Constantly high blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and developing infections.

Today, diabetes is a leading cause of heart diseases, sightlessness, kidney failure, hormonal imbalance and lower limb amputation. Maintaining blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol close to normal can help delay or prevent diabetes complications. A common belief is that diabetes is a disease of sugar and only fat or old people and children of diabetic parents are more susceptible which is not true. Diabetes is not restricted to age, sex, geography etc. It can happen to anyone, anytime and sometimes very much later in life.

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