DIABETES MELLITUS is a chronic disease that results in higher blood sugar (glucose).
Consumed carbohydrates are metabolised into glucose that the body uses for energy. The pancreas produces insulin that helps the glucose reach human cells. In case of diabetes mellitus, the produced quality of insulin is insufficient, or the body is unable to efficiently use this insulin. If there is no insulin, the glucose stays in the blood resulting in higher blood glucose.
There is a difference between insufficient or inefficiently used glucose.
How to tell the difference between the types of diabetes mellitus?
Type I diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce a sufficient quantity of insulin, and the missing insulin should be injected. Type I diabetes mellitus can develop at any age, but usually happens during childhood. The onset of the disease is often fast, and the symptoms are clear. 10-15% of all diabetes mellitus cases are Type I cases.
Type II diabetes mellitus (insulin-independent diabetes mellitus) is the most widespread form of diabetes mellitus. In case of Type II diabetes mellitus, insulin secretion in the pancreas is limited, and normal tissue sensitivity to insulin is lost. This type can develop at any age. The onset of symptoms usually is gradual and slow. Sometimes, they remain unnoticed for a long time, and the disease is diagnosed only when complications have already developed, and urine or blood tests are done.
There is also the less known but equally important gestational or pregnancy diabetes mellitus that can develop during pregnancy. It results in serious complications both in the mother and the foetus. Usually, after delivery, the blood glucose level normalises in the woman; however, both the child and the mother have a higher risk of Type II diabetes mellitus during their lifetimes.
What happens if blood insulin levels are too low, or glucose is not used efficiently?
The first symptoms occur, e.g.:
unexplainable weight loss;
tingling hands or feet, or numbness.
It is very important to note that there may be no symptoms. Therefore, monitor your health and have it checked by a specialist at least once a year.
How to treat diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus patients cannot recover completely, but this disease can be treated to maintain normal blood glucose levels, prevent complications, and improve well-being and life quality.
Type I diabetes mellitus therapy is based on regular daily insulin injections, healthy and balanced diet, and adequate physical activity. Blood glucose should be monitored via regular tests.
Type II diabetes mellitus therapy is based on a balanced and adequate diet, regular meals, sufficient physical activity, blood glucose control, and use of drugs that lower blood glucose levels. Sometimes, insulin injections are also needed.
There is a greater risk of Type II diabetes mellitus if:
you are overweight or obese;
you have a large waist circumference (more than 80 cm in women and 94 cm in men);
you are older than 45;
your parents or siblings have diabetes mellitus;
you have high blood pressure;
you have had gestational diabetes mellitus.
Do not forget to take care of your health on a daily basis, live an active and healthy life, and have preventive health checks to discover this disease early!