More About Diabetes Mellitus
There is this famous saying in homes, especially, African households, that if you want to develop diabetes, you should overeat sugar. Nonetheless, you would be amazed to know that this is a misleading statement. Diabetes is not ill health caused by an unusual intake of sugar.
Diabetes mellitus is a type of metabolous disease that leads to an increase in the level of blood sugar level in a person due to deficient insulin production. It could also be due to the body’s cells not being able to respond normally to insulin. This metabolic disorder is portrayed by chronic hyperglycemia alongside disturbances of fat (dyslipidemia), proteins, and carbohydrate metabolism, which is generated from abnormal secretion of insulin and or insulin action.
An estimated number of about 30 million people in the US have pre-diabetes and are not aware of it. It is confirmed that diabetes can lead to critical situations blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure; such damages like this would result in microvascular diseases. So, watch out for this disease as it is recognized in the United States as the 7th leading cause of death.
SO, let’s get this fact straight, diabetes does not occur because of excess sugar in the body. As much as almost everyone I know believe eating a lot of sugar brings about diabetes, this is, as a matter of fact, not true. When the insulin in one’s body is not as functional as should be, the sugar level in the blood rises and thus encouraging ill-health conditions like diabetes.
Below are the main symptoms of this dreaded disease
- Polydipsia, (feeling dehydrated and very thirsty)
- Polyuria (frequent urinating especially at night)
- Loss of muscles and weight
- Cuts or wounds that take a longer time to heal.
- Polyphagia (a feeling of frequent hunger)
It is also vital to note that type 1 diabetes can quickly develop with weeks or sometimes days. Again, many people may harbor type 2 diabetes for several years without even detecting, and this is because early symptoms are quite uncommon.
There are three main types of diabetes;
- Type 1 diabetes: This is mainly due to a malfunction in the body, producing insulin, thus demanding insulin to be injected into such a person’s body. Previously, this type of diabetes was known as “Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus” or “Juvenile Diabetes.”
CAUSE: Because the cells in the body that produce insulin are attacked and destroyed by the body’s immune system, the sugar levels increase as there is no production of insulin, which would consequently damage the organs in the body. Type 1 diabetes is not as usually seen as type 2 diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes: Because of insulin resistance, a condition where the cells fail to utilize insulin properly develops, and this could sometimes be combined with a total insulin deficiency. Formerly referred to as “non-insulin-independent diabetes mellitus” or “adult-onset diabetes.” This particular disease can be prevented if one maintains a healthy lifestyle like adequate physical exercises, a healthy diet, etc.
Risk factors include; Obesity, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyles, increased aging, impaired sugar tolerance.
- Gestational Diabetes: This diabetes happens when expecting mothers (pregnant women) who have not been previously diagnosed with diabetes or diabetes-related diseases, suddenly develop an increase in their blood sugar level. In fact, it may lead to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Experiencing an increased level of blood sugar (blood glucose) is common in some pregnant women as a result of a decline in insulin receptor’s sensitivity.
There are other types of diabetes, and these can result from the following;
- Taking medications that could affect the rate of insulin action by decreasing it. Drugs like glucocorticoids and self-recommended chemicals can damage beta cells and hence, slow down the action and reaction of insulin in the body.
- Other medical conditions, such as Cushing’s syndrome’s cortisol, can negatively affect the body’s insulin action, eventually resulting in an increased and staggering rate of certain hormones. This health condition may also be a cause.
- Diseases like pancreatitis and cystic fibrosis are pancreas damaging conditions.
- Some other defects of the beta cells that are genetic, such as neonatal diabetes mellitus or maturity-onset diabetes of the young, can also be a significant cause of this unfortunate health situation.
Diagnosing Diabetes Mellitus
Such symptoms, like an increase in urination and thirst and other typical reoccurring infections, are utilized in the clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
If facilities are readily available, diabetes can be diagnosed by blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
A two-hour postprandial, fasting plasma sugar(glucose), and oral sugar tolerance is also used to diagnose diabetes.
|Condition||Fasting plasma glucose (mmol/l(mg/dl)||Plasma glucose
|Normal||<6.1 (<110)||<7.8 (<140)||<6.0|
|Impaired Sugar Tolerance||<7.0 (<126)||≥7.8 (≥140)
|Impaired Fasting Sugar||≥ 6.1(≥110) & <7.0(<126)||<7.8 (<140)||6.0-6.4|
|Diabetes mellitus||≥7.0(≥126)||≥11.1 (≥200)||≥6.5|
Some other tests include; liver and kidney function tests. And for women over 50 years, other tests such as type 1 diabetes, thyroid-stimulating hormone, etc. should be carried out as well.
Complications Related to Diabetes Mellitus
People who take proper medications and control their blood sugar levels do not have to worry about severe complications as they are lesser. Such complications include;
- Hyperglycemia – This is an acute complication. What happens when a person has very high blood sugar level (300mg/dl (16 mmol/L)). This would result in the kidneys dumping glucose into the urine because water is drawn out of cells osmotically. Thus water is excreted, and the cells in the body become dehydrated.
- Hypoglycemia – Another acute complication characterized by an abnormally low blood sugar level. This causes the patient to become weak, unnecessarily agitated, and sweaty. In some other cases, the patient may get the feeling of immobilized panic.
- There is also a massive chance of the patient experiencing unconsciousness. This could be due to an aggregation of extreme hyperglycemia, shock, exhaustion, and dehydration.
- Acute Diabetic Ketoacidosis – This complication is hazardous. It would require medical emergency situations as patients gradually get typically dehydrated, and rapid and deep breathing would lead to abdominal pain, which in many cases will be severe.
- Diabetic Coma – This is a medical emergency condition where patients suffering from diabetes are unconscious due to one of the other several acute diabetic complications.
- Chronic Microvascular Diseases is another disease that can be seen. It naturally results from some damage to blood vessels, for example, eye diseases (retinopathy, macular edema), Neuropathy(sensory symptoms, autonomic neuropathy effects on the digestive system, kidney damage).
- Macro Vascular Diseases (coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, cerebrovascular disease
- Other Diseases (cataract, glaucoma, dermatological infections, periodontal diseases, cheiroarthropathy, diabetic dyslipidemia)
- Apple Cider Vinegar– Taking 2 tablespoons in the evenings can reduce your morning fasting glucose level. Better still, you could take 1-2 tablespoons in between meals as that would help reduce the glucose load in carbohydrate meals.
- Chromium- Medical science supports chromium as a remedy for high blood sugar and A1c levels as it impairs glucose metabolism.
- Aloe Vera– Aloe Vera sap is widely known for its laxative effect, so you would do well to get the juice from its gel. But be sure that any aloe Vera product you purchase doesn’t contain anthraquinones so you wouldn’t have to throw up.
- Cinnamon– innamon has proved to lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels in the body system.
- Nopal- You can rest assured that when you are eating nopales or whenever you order them from your local restaurant, you are choosing a food that will lower your blood glucose. Taking them alongside eggs and salad is also a great choice.
There are currently six classes of antidiabetic drugs available: biguanides (metformin), sulfonylureas (glimepiride), meglitinides (repaglinide), thiazolidinediones (pioglitazone), dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors (sitagliptin), a-glucosidase inhibitors (acarbose).
- Treating coexisting or inherent medical conditions (high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, etc.)
- Insulin: A combination of regular and synthetic insulin is used in treating type 1 diabetes. But when used in treating type 2 diabetes, another long-acting formula is added alongside the oral medications.
- Regular physical exercise
- Balanced diet
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid alcohol
Keeping to or starting such goals would help keep short-term and long-term blood sugar levels within normal limits.