Diabetes Mellitus refers to a group of metabolic disorders which causes high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period.
Under normal circumstances, the body breaks down sugar (carbohydrates) into glucose which basically powers body cells and functions. For this to happen, the cells need insulin to absorb the glucose for energy.
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. Wikipedia says it is considered to be the main anabolic hormone of the body.
The peptide hormone makes absorption of glucose possible. It regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein by promoting the absorption of glucose from the blood into fat, liver and skeletal muscle cells.
It is insulin that helps the sugar in the bloodstream to be absorbed and used for energy. Insulin also helps balance your blood glucose levels.
Where the glucose level is too high, the blood levels, kidneys, heart, eyes, or nervous system could be damaged. Diabetes causes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and nerve damage to nerves in the feet.
1. Type1 Diabetes (Juvenile)
Also called insulin-dependent diabetes, this type of diabetes starts from childhood, thus referred to as an autoimmune condition. It is seen in children and young adults. Sufferers of this diabetes have faulty pancreas which affects the production of insulin.
While the cause of the pancreatic failure is not exactly clear, some genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors may contribute to it. Type1 Diabetes happens when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas.
This type develops more quickly and comes with symptoms like weight loss or a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis which occurs when you have very high blood sugars, but little or no insulin in the body.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
This is where the body either resists insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it.
Type 2 diabetes starts with an insulin resistance. This is where the body fails or cannot use insulin efficiently, and the pancreas produces more insulin till it can no longer produce anymore. With this decrease, comes a high blood sugar.
Factors that lead to this condition include lifestyle, eating habits, genetics, obesity and lack of exercise. Type 2 diabetes often takes longer to diagnose. The treatments include diet, exercise, medication and insulin therapy.
Type 2 commonly occurs in people over the age of 45. However, recent statistics reveal that younger people are increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes due to overweight and the sedentary lifestyle.
3. Type 3c Diabetes (Pancreatogenic)
Pancreatogenic diabetes is a type of diabetes that is still being researched. It takes up about 5 – 10% of all diabetic cases. Chronic pancreatitis has been found to be a major cause of this condition.
Other causes include:
- Pancreatic disease
- Pancreatic resection
- Chronic pancreatitis (caused by exocrine insufficiency, maldigestion, and malnutrition).
- Lacking genes in the E2F group
4. Gestational Diabetes
As the name implies, gestational diabetes is the type suffered by pregnant women. It occurs when the insulin blocks hormones produced during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes can threaten the life of both mother and child. It could cause high blood pressure, preeclampsia, miscarriage or stillbirth and birth defects
Women who develop this diabetes type stand a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later. It is detected through blood tests and can be treated within months by a medical professional.
To return the sugar level to normal, the women invest in exercise and healthy diets. Other strategies like medication, blood sugar and baby monitoring are used to manage the condition.
This is the condition in which the blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.
According to the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, there are over 1.5 million cases per year in Nigeria. In the same way, many people are at this stage without even knowing it.
It is detected through blood tests and could be treatable, medically speaking. Except diagnosed, it develops into type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
At this stage, there is usually no noticeable symptoms. With lifestyle changes, weight loss and medication developing into a full-blown type 2 diabetes can be averted.
General Symptoms of Diabetes ( All Diabetes Types) Include:
- Excessive thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Dry, itchy skin
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing wounds