Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by the body’s inability to utilise the glucose in order to generate energy and perform normal body functions. This can be due to either insufficient insulin or poor quality of insulin produced by the body, also known as insulin resistance. There are 3 Main types of Diabetes Mellitus which are the most common, other types are not common. Different types of Diabetes affect different age groups and treatment is not the same.
About more than 537 Million adults are diabetic in the world. Diabetes causes about 2.3 Million deaths each year. This means it is a real health concern that people should take seriously. The incident rate of Diabetes is increasing each year, together with Hypertension. The increase is largely due to the population getting Obese and improving quality of life in developing nations. The sad news is that this corresponds with increase in Health budget which is a problem for the developing countries.
How Diabetes Occurs
The Human body depends on Glucose, also called sugar for survival. It uses glucose as a source of energy to do all the activities you can think of such as walking; running and even thinking. All the food you eat is converted into glucose for utilization by the body. It makes things even easier when you eat food rich in sugar such as a Pepsi or Coca-cola drink because it already contains sugar which the body will use for energy. Now when the glucose or sugar is in the blood stream, it needs Insulin in order to enter the cells and be used.
The pancreas, an organ in the abdomen is responsible for production of insulin which will facilitate uptake of glucose from the blood stream into the body cells. Now when the Pancreas does not produce enough insulin or if the insulin quality is not good, the body will not be able to use all the glucose in the blood, as a results it will starve even though there is enough Glucose in the blood. This is why people with diabetes have very high blood sugar levels.
For normal people the blood glucose is usually between 3.5mmol/l and 8mmol/l. For Diabetic people before treatment, the blood sugar is usually above 12mmol/l (millimoles per Litre).
3 Types of Diabetes Mellitus
The three main types of Diabetes, which will be explained below are:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Gestational Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is common in children and young adults. The main cause is that the body is unable to produce enough insulin which is needed to push glucose into the cells so they can get their energy.
This then leads to starvation of the body cells, which is why people with type 1 Diabetes are thin and is found in early ages of life. The treatment for type 1 Diabetes is insulin therapy which is given as form of injection before each meal.
Type 2 Diabetes
It is the most common form of Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes affect people over the age of 35 years, but with the increase in early Obesity, even younger people are now affected by type 2 Diabetes. The Problem here is the body is producing insulin but the insulin is not working. This can be due to a weak quality of insulin or the receptors in the cells are resistant to the insulin (Insulin resistance). It is useless to give insulin for these patients because they have enough of it, this is why type 2 Diabetes is Treated with pills instead of insulin.
People with type 2 diabetes usually have other lifestyle Diseases like Hypertension and obesity, but there are many more Causes and risk factors of Diabetes Mellitus.
Gestational diabetes is also called pregnancy induced Diabetes Mellitus. This is because the diabetes in this case develops when the person is pregnant and may or may not subside when the person delivers. The drugs that are used to treat Gestational Diabetes are different from the ones used in Type 2 Diabetes, this is because some medications are Teratogenic.
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