Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by a patient having high levels of sugar in the blood. High blood sugar may be caused by the body not producing an adequate amount of insulin or by cells not responding to insulin as they should. Diabetes is broken down into three main subtypes. Based upon the exact symptoms patients may be diagnosed as having gestational, type 1, or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin while insulin resistance causes type 2. Gestational occurs only in pregnant women without a previous history of high blood sugar. In some cases, it develops into type 2 diabetes after the mother gives birth.


Symptoms

There are several classical signs and symptoms of diabetes. Some of the most common include increased hunger or thirst, dry mouth, and frequent urination. Sudden changes in eyesight such as blurred vision may also be symptoms of diabetes. Some patients notice weight loss, nausea, lethargy, or abdominal pain. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often present suddenly while the symptoms of type 2 often go unnoticed because they tend to develop gradually. Because gestational diabetes presents during pregnancy, it is usually detected during routine blood tests that are performed as a part of standard prenatal care.


Diagnosis

Ongoing hyperglycemia usually characterizes diabetes. Doctors often reach a diagnosis through blood tests to detect high glucose levels in the blood and through observing the common signs and symptoms of the disease. A glucose tolerance test may also be performed.


Treatment

Treatment for diabetes varies depending on the type a particular patient has. It usually cannot be cured, but it can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes. Excess weight can contribute to diabetes, so doctors commonly recommend exercise and a healthy diet for overweight diabetes patients. People with diabetes also need to learn what foods to eat and what foods to avoid to maintain healthy glucose levels in the blood. Insulin injections are often necessary for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Oral medications may also be prescribed. At-home testing of the blood is a regular part of living with diabetes, and it is an essential step in managing the disease.


Complications

Diabetes can lead to numerous complications, especially when left untreated. People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to experience cardiovascular problems. Because diabetes impairs the immune system, patients are also more prone to respiratory infections and other types of diseases. When left untreated, severe cases of diabetes can lead to loss of limbs or appendages and death. When detected early and managed through injections and medications, however, diabetics can often live full lives without experiencing any significant complications.


Join Our Mailing List