Diabetes Mellitus: Know your disease
What is it?
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders in which there is too much sugar in the blood (high blood glucose). It occurs due to a relative lack of a hormone called insulin, which is formed by a gland situated behind the stomach named the pancreas. Diabetes is a Greek word meaning to pass/flow through & mellitus means 'sweet'. The balance of sugar (glucose) in the body is controlled by Insulin & allows our body cells to use available glucose for energy.
What are the types?
Mainly three types:
(a) Type 1 diabetes/ Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)/ Juvenile diabetes: In this type our body is not able to make enough insulin needed due to damage of the pancreas by the body’s immune system. Occurs mainly in young people. less common.
(b) Type 2 diabetes/ Non Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)/ Adult onset diabetes/ Maturity onset diabetes: In this type our body is able to make insulin but cells fail to use them properly ie. resistance develops. Occurs mainly in people over 40 years of age who are mostly overweight & have diet with excess of energy, have strong family history & sedentary lifestyle.
(c) Gestational diabetes/ Pregnancy induced diabetes: It occurs in pregnant women without previous diagnosis of diabetes. High blood glucose level develops due to reduced sensitivity of insulin receptors which may later lead to Type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms?
The classic symptoms of diabetes:
- Polyuria i.e frequent (hourly/so) & excessive urination ( at night particularly)
- Polydipsia i.e feeling of excessive thirst
- Polyphagia i.e feeling of excessive & frequent hunger
- Feeling of tiredness, weakness & lack of energy
- loss of weight (mainly in type 1) & loss of muscle bulk
- Frequent oral thrush
- Frequent infections, especially of the skin
- Slow healing of wounds/cuts
- Blurring of vision
How diagnosis is done?
Mainly by levels of blood glucose & HbA1c
1. Blood glucose tests: Include fasting blood sugar (FBS), two hour post prandial blood sugar (PP) & oral glucose tolerance test
2. Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c)