Diabetes Mellitus Information

Diabetes mellitus can go unrecognized until symptoms develop that can be fatal. The disease occurs when the body ceases to produce or properly use the hormone insulin that transports nutrients to the cells of the body to be used for energy. The result is high levels of blood glucose that upset homeostasis.

Diabetes Mellitus is often referred to as just diabetes. Many times it also happens that the cells do not respond to the insulin produced. The high blood sugar level produces the most common symptoms of diabetes mellitus and they are: polyuria, which means frequent urination, polyphagia which means increased hunger level and polydypsia or excessive thirst.

Diabetes mellitus Types

There are three broad categories of diabetes mellitus that include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes that occurs during pregnancy.

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 diabetes results from autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas that primarily affects young people but can occur at any age. Type 1 diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes. Symptoms often occur suddenly.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance. It is characterized by the cells’ failure to use insulin properly. By the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed half of the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed.

Initial treatment of type 2 diabetes if diagnosed early includes exercise and diet modification. Medications may be needed depending on evaluation from your physician.

Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, amputation of the limbs and kidney failure.

Diabetes mellitus type 2 develops from metabolic syndrome that encompasses abdominal obesity, insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels, combined with inflammation. Heredity and age also increase the chances of developing diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Gestational diabetes is a little different from the other two types. It is when a pregnant women, who has never had diabetes before experiences high blood glucose levels during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus is diagnosed by screening during pregnancy and usually occurs at 28 weeks. It affects approximately four percent of women who are pregnant.

It is believed that the hormones produced during pregnancy by the placenta may block insulin action in the mother. Without treatment gestational diabetes can affect the health of mother and baby.

In most cases gestational diabetes can be treated with diet modification and moderate exercise. In some instances insulin or oral medications are needed.

Other Types of Diabetes

A few other forms of diabetes may include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes, which is induced due by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several other forms of monogenic diabetes.

What is Diabetes Mellitus ?

Diabetes mellitus can be defined as fasting food glucose of 126 milligrams per deciliter or more at times. In pre-diabetic conditions blood glucose levels are higher than the normal.

People with pre-diabetes are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiac diseases. They can develop conditions like impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance.

Diabetes Mellitus Causes

Diabetes is also caused due to genetic defects of beta-cell function, genetic defects in insulin processing or insulin action and exocrine pancreatic defects.

Diabetes Mellitus Symptoms

The symptoms of diabetes may develop rapidly in type 1 diabetes, while in type 2 diabetes they develop at a much slower pace and can often be absent.

Prolonged high blood glucose level causes glucose absorption. This eventually leads to changes in the shapes of the lenses of the eyes and results in vision deterioration. However sustained glucose control can return the lenses to their original shapes. Blurred vision is a common symptom leading to a diabetes diagnosis.

In type 1 diabetes there is a rapid vision change, whereas in type 2 this change is more gradual and subtle.

A rare possibility is hyperosmolar nonketotic state. This is mainly a symptom of type 2 diabetes and is a result of dehydration. The reason behind this can be the patient’s intake of extreme amounts of sugar-containing drinks that completes the vicious circle and leads to water loss.

A number of skin diseases can also occur due to diabetes, collectively known as diabetic dermadromes.

Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is characterized by recurrent or persistent hyperglycemia or high blood sugar levels. People with fasting glucose levels from 100 to 125mg/dL are considered to have impaired fasting glucose.

Those with plasma glucose at or above 140mg/dL, but not over 200mg/dL, two hours after a 75g oral glucose load are considered of having impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes mellitus.

Of these two states, the latter has greater possibilities of developing into full-blown diabetes mellitus as well as cardiovascular disease.

Management of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2 are chronic diseases that cannot be cured. A strict diet regime can help in keeping the blood sugar levels as close to normal which is euglycemia. This can be achieved by diet management, exercise and proper medication that are essential to prevent complications.

Diabetes Diet

Patients with diabetes mellitus should check their diets and resist all forms of culinary temptations. The goal of dietary diabetes control is in keeping short-term and long-term glucose levels within acceptable levels.

Diet and lifestyle should be modified in order to control blood pressure in patients with hypertension, cholesterol in those with dyslipidemia.

Medication for Diabetes

Oral medication and insulin injection are the main forms of treatment for diabetes mellitus. Treatments in type 1 include combinations of regular or NPH insulin, and/or synthetic insulin analogs. It is mandatory for patients with diabetes to have a regular checkup. For those with diabetes and high blood pressure, blood pressure should be lower than 130/80mm Hg. It is important to lower high blood pressure and quit smoking.

Societal Impact of the Disease

The cost associated with diabetes treatment has been a major drain on health-and productivity-related resources for healthcare systems and governments. Many countries have established quite successful national diabetes programs to improve the treatment of this disease.

Diabetic patients with neuropathic symptoms such as numbness or tingling in feet or hands are twice as likely to be unemployed as those without the symptoms.

Diabetes Mellitus Facts and Statistics

According to the CDC:

  • “In 2007, direct and indirect costs of diabetes total nearly $174 billion a year.
  • People with diagnosed diabetes, on average have medical expenditures that are 2.3 times higher than what the expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.
  • In 2007, indirect costs include increased absenteeism ($2.6 billion) and reduced productivity while at work ($20.0 billion for the employed population, reduced productivity for those not in the labor force ($0.8 billion), unemployment from disease- related disability ($7.9 billion) and lost productive capacity due to early mortality ($26.9 billion).
  • Diabetes accounts for 15 million work days absent, 120 million work days with reduced performance, 107 million work days lost due to unemployment disability attributed to diabetes.
  • People with diabetes have health a related absenteeism rate that is 0.8% higher than people without diabetes.
  • The population with the highest per capita productivity loss from absenteeism is males age 45-53.”

The toll that diabetes mellitus takes on the economy and on individual health makes prevention a primary goal. Disease management is the goal once diabetes develops. If you have a family history of diabetes, have been sedentary, or have symptoms of metabolic syndrome your chances of developing diabetes are significant.


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