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Diabetes Mellitus—A to Z about it

Diabetes Mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease, because of which the sugar or glucose level in blood increases. The digestive process usually involves breaking down complex carbohydrates and sugars into simple compounds such as glucose, which acts as food or fuel for the cells. This process is accomplished using the hormone insulin which is secreted by the pancreas. However, in case the cells fail to absorb the glucose, the glucose remains in the bloodstream, thereby increasing the glucose content in the blood.  Diabetes Mellitus is chronic and lasts lifelong, and generally cannot be cured.

Types:

  1.    Type 1 diabetes—Type 1 diabetes is not a common type of diabetes mellitus. It usually occurs when the pancreas fails to produce the requisite amount of insulin. As a result, the body is unable to absorb the glucose. It often happens when the immune system damages the pancreas as a result of which the pancreas fails to produce insulin. It may be, therefore, considered to be an autoimmune disease, and it usually begins in childhood, although it may happen at a later stage of life as well. Patients who have Type 1 diabetes must take good care of their body since it may lead to organ damage; it also increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke.

Treatment: There is no remedy for diabetes; it can only be kept under control. To do that, the patient needs to be injected with a regular dose of insulin. It can be done using syringes, insulin pumps or insulin pens.

Keep in check: Since there is no remedy, one can only hope to keep things under control by leading a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, healthy food habits. One must frequently test the blood sugar levels to avoid complications which may stem from both hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia. It is even better if the A1C blood test is conducted every once in a while, to get a good idea of the blood sugar level over a period of three months. Also, it is of utmost importance that the patient should take his or her medication correctly since the failure to do so might cause organ damage or stroke and may even be fatal.

  1.    Type 2 Diabetes—Type 2 diabetes is a more common type of diabetes mellitus. The pancreas in people suffering from Type 2 diabetes produces a limited amount of insulin, which is not quite enough to serve its purpose of helping the cells to absorb the glucose from the blood. In case the insulin secretion is adequate, the cells might be resistant to insulin, or may not be sensitive to insulin at all. While it usually happens because of old age, it also occurs because of obesity; as a result, it afflicts even kids and teenagers these days. People who have Type 2 diabetes are also at risk of contracting heart diseases and stroke.

Treatment: Type 2 diabetes is incurable as well. However, its severity tends to increase with time; in such cases, medication might be required. In extreme situations, the patient might even need to be injected with insulin.

Keep in check: Again, it is essential that the blood sugar level is frequently tested since fluctuating blood sugar level can be harmful. A1C tests are a right way of charting the blood sugar levels of the past three months. They give a good idea regarding the efficacy of the medication, as well as the lifestyle changes. Healthy food habits, weight management and regular exercise, do much to keep it in check.

  1.    Gestational Diabetes—This usually happens due to the hormonal imbalance during pregnancy. Since the high sugar level may also affect the unborn baby, it must be kept in check. The risks of gestational diabetes are higher for the unborn child than they are for the mother. The mother, however, is likely to develop Type 2 diabetes at a later stage in life. Gestational pregnancy may cause breathing trouble, obesity and diabetes risk for the unborn baby.

Treatment: Care must be taken to regulate the weight of the mother—daily exercise along with a healthy and balanced diet are a must. Since the blood sugar levels must be regulated at all costs, the mother may be injected with insulin in extreme situations.

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