Diabetes Mellitus, is a metabolic disorder that causes hyperglycemia (Excess glucose in the bloodstream, associated with diabetes). The hormone Insulin moves sugar from the blood to cells and stores or uses it as energy. In diabetic patients, the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it produces effectively.
Untreated hyperglycemia due to diabetes can damage nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
Types of Diabetes Mellitus:
There are several types of diabetes. They are:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The system attacks and destroys the cells of the pancreas where insulin is formed. The cause of this attack is unknown. About 10% of diabetics are of this type.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes insulin resistant and sugar builds up in the blood.
Prediabetes occurs when blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but they are not sufficient for diagnosing type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes mellitus is hyperglycemia during pregnancy. This is caused by Insulin-blocking hormones which is produced by the placenta.
A rare condition called diabetes insipidus, which has a similar name, has nothing to do with diabetes mellitus. This is another condition in which the kidneys remove too much water from the body.
All these types have their own causes, symptoms, and treatments. Find out more about how these types differ from each other.
Symptoms are caused by elevated blood glucose levels.
General symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus are:
The common symptoms include:
In addition to the common symptoms, diabetic men can exhibit decreased libido, erectile dysfunction (ED), and decreased muscle strength.
Women with diabetes mellitus may also have symptoms like urinary yeast infections, tract infections, and dry, itchy skin.
Type 1 diabetes
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes mellitus include:
Unintentional weight loss
It can also change your mood.
Type 2 diabetes
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus include:
Slow healing pain
It can also cause recurrent infections. This is because when your blood sugar level rises, it becomes difficult for your body to heal.
Gestational diabetes mellitus
Most women with this are asymptomatic. This condition is often detected during regular blood glucose tests or oral glucose tolerance tests, which are usually done between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation.
Rarely, women with gestational diabetes mellitus also experience thirst and increased urination.
Sometimes these Diabetes Mellitus symptoms are so mild that they are difficult to find at first.
When to see a doctor:
If you or your child may have diabetes. Contact your doctor if you become aware of possible diabetic symptoms. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner it can be treated.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes. A close medical follow-up is required until blood sugar levels stabilize.
Causes of Diabetes Mellitus :
Various causes are related to each sort of diabetes are:
Causes of type 1 diabetes
The exact explanation for this sort 1 diabetes isn’t known. It’s known that the system , which sometimes fights harmful viruses and bacteria, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells(in the pancreas). This results in little or no insulin. Sugar accumulates in the bloodstream, instead of being carried to cells.
Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of environmental factors and genetic susceptibility, but it is still unclear what exactly these factors are. It is believed that weight is not a factor in type 1 diabetes.
Causes of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 and prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, cells become resistant to the action of insulin and the pancreas cannot make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving to cells that need energy, sugar accumulates in the bloodstream.
Genetic and environmental factors are also thought to be involved in the development of type 2, but the exact reason for this to occur is unknown. Overweight is strongly associated with the development of type 2 Diabetes, but not all people with type 2 diabetes are overweight.
Causes of gestational diabetes
The hormones produced by placenta during pregnancy (to maintain your pregnancy) makes your cells more immune to insulin.
The pancreas usually responds by producing enough excess insulin to overcome this resistance. But sometimes your pancreas can’t keep up. When this happens, insufficient glucose enters the cells and stays within the blood an excessive amount of, leading to gestational.
Risk factors for diabetes depend upon the type of diabetes.
Risk Factors for Type 1 Diabetes
As mentioned above the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, but the factors that may indicate an increased risk are:
- Family history: The risk is increased if the parent or sibling has type 1 diabetes.
- Environmental factors : Situations such as exposure to viral illnesses can play a role in type 1 diabetes.
- Presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies). Families of people with type 1 diabetes may be tested for the presence of diabetic autoantibodies. The presence of these autoantibodies increases the risk of developing type 1 diabetes. However, not all people with these autoantibodies develop diabetes.
- Geography : In certain countries, such as Finland and Sweden, the incidence of type 1 diabetes is high.
Risk Factors related to Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes.
Researchers didn’t completely understand why only few people get prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, while others don’t. However, it is clear that due to certain factors, like:
- Weight : The more adipose tissue, the more resistant the cells are to insulin.
- Inactive: The less activity you have, the higher your risk. Physical activity helps you control your weight, runs out of glucose as energy, and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
- Family history : The risk is increased if the parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race or ethnicity : For unknown reasons, certain people, such as blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian Americans, are at higher risk.
- Age : Risk of getting diabetes increases as you grow older. This may be due to the tendency to lose exercise, lose muscle mass, and gain weight with age : However, this diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents, and young adults.
- Gestational diabetes: If you develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you are at increased risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. If you give birth to a baby that weighs more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you are also at risk for type 2 diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: For women, polycystic ovary syndrome (a common condition characterized by irregular menstruation, excessive hair growth, and obesity) increases the risk of diabetes.
- High blood pressure: When blood pressure exceeds 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), the risk of type 2 diabetes increases.
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels: The risk of type 2 diabetes is increased if you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol. Triglycerides are another type of fat that is carried into the blood. People with high levels of triglycerides are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Your doctor helps you to know your levels of cholesterol and triglyceride.
Risk factors associated with gestational diabetes
Pregnant women can develop Gestational Diabetes. Some women are at higher risk compared to others.
The risk factors are mentioned below:
- Age : Women above the age of 25 are more prone to get this diabetes or are at increased risk.
- Family or personal history : The risk is increased if you have prediabetes, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, or if your relatives, such as parents or siblings, have type 2 diabetes. You are also at increased risk if you had gestational diabetes during your previous pregnancy, if you gave birth to a very large baby, or if you had an unexplained stillbirth.
- Weight : Being overweight before pregnancy also contributes to increasing your risk.
- Race or ethnicity : For unknown reasons, American Indian, or Asian American women, black, Hispanic are more likely to get gestational diabetes.
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have Diabetes Mellitus and the less control you have in your blood sugar, the higher your risk of complications. Ultimately, diabetic complications can be debilitating and life-threatening.
The possible complications are:
- Cardiovascular disease: Diabetes maximizes the risk of several cardiovascular problems such as coronary artery disease with arterial stenosis (atherosclerosis), chest pain (angina), heart attack and stroke. If you are diabetic, you are more prone to experience heart disease or a heart stroke.
- Nerve injury : Excess sugar can damage the walls of capillaries (small blood vessels) that nurture the nerves, especially the legs. It usually starts at the tip of the fingers or toes and can cause burning, sensation, tingling, numbness or pain that gradually spreads upwards.
- If left untreated, all affected limb sensations can be lost. Nerve damage associated with digestion can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation problems. It can lead to erectile dysfunction for male.
- Kidney damage (nephropathy): The kidneys contain millions of small vascular clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste products from the blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtration system. Severe injury can lead to renal failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease and may require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
- Eye damage (retinopathy) : Diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina (diabetic retinopathy) and can lead to blindness. Diabetes also maximizes the risk of other serious vision conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts.
Injury to the foot. Nerve damage to the foot and reduced blood flow to the foot increase the risk of various foot complications. If left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections and are often inadequately healed. These infections may eventually require amputation of the toes, feet, or legs.
- Skin condition : Diabetes can be vulnerable to skin problems such as bacterial and fungal infections.
- Hearing impairment : Hearing loss is common in diabetics.
- Alzheimer’s disease : Type 2 diabetes may maximize the risk of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Poor glycemic control seems to increase the risk. There is a theory regarding how these disorders are related, but they have not been proven yet.
- Depression : Symptomatology of depression is common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management.
Complications of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Most women with gestational diabetes deliver healthy babies. However, untreated or uncontrolled diabetic levels can cause problems for you and your baby.
Baby complications can occur as a result of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus including:
- Excessive growth: The excess glucose can cross the placenta, causing the baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. This may cause your baby to overlarge (macrosomia). Very large babies are more likely to need a Caesarean delivery.
- Hypoglycemia: A baby with a gestational diabetic mother may develop hypoglycemia (hypoglycemia) shortly after her birth due to her high insulin production. Rapid feeding and sometimes intravenous glucose can help your baby’s blood sugar level return to normal.
Type 2 diabetes in later years. Babies with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Death : Untreated gestational diabetes can kill a baby before or shortly after birth.
- Maternal complications can also occur as a result of gestational diabetes, including:
- Pre-eclampsia : This condition is characterized by high BP (blood pressure), swelling of the legs and feet, and excess protein in the urine. Pre-eclampsia can cause serious or life-threatening complications for both mothers and babies.
- Subsequent gestational diabetes : If you have gestational diabetes in one pregnancy, you are more likely to get pregnant again in the next pregnancy. Also, as you get older, you are more likely to develop diabetes (usually type 2 diabetes).
Prediabetes can develop into type 2 diabetes.
- Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.
- Selecting the same healthy lifestyle that helps treat type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes and prediabetes can also help in preventing them.
- Eat healthy food : Choose foods with less fat and calories and with more fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Strive for variety to avoid boredom.
- Get more physical activity : Aim for about 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity most days of the week, or at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week.
- Lose the extra weight: If you are overweight, losing up to 7% of your body weight can reduce your risk of diabetes.
However, during pregnancy times, do not try to lose weight. Talk to your doctor about how much weight you will gain during pregnancy.
Focus on exercise habits and permanent changes in your diet to keep your weight in a healthy range. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as heart health, increased energy, and increased self-esteem.
Sometimes dosing is also an option. Oral diabetes medications such as metformin (Glumetza, Fortamet, etc.) can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, but choosing a healthy lifestyle is still essential. Check your blood sugar level at least once a year to make sure you have not developed type 2 diabetes.