DIABETES MELLITUS – Its Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
Approximately 77 million in India suffer from Diabetes, most of them in the urban area, making it the country with the largest number of diabetics in the world. Type 2 Diabetes, in which the body becomes resistant to the action of insulin leading to increased blood sugar levels, is more common in our country.
What is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes, also called Diabetes mellitus, is a group of chronic metabolic diseases that result in high blood sugar (glucose) levels. Our body has a hormone called insulin that lowers the blood sugar levels. In diabetes mellitus, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or is unable to effectively use it, resulting in an increase in the blood levels of glucose. If untreated, this can cause damage to the nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
In India approximately 77 million people suffer from this health condition, most of them in the urban area, making it the country with the largest number of diabetics in the world.
Different types of Diabetes:
Types 1 Diabetes, an autoimmune disease, where the cells of the pancreas are destroyed, resulting in decreased or no production of insulin. People diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes must control their blood glucose by taking insulin injection. This is also one of the most common types of diabetes in people under age 30 but could happen with any age.
Type 2 Diabetes in which the body becomes resistant to the action of insulin leading to increased blood sugar levels. In this condition, the pancreas does make insulin but either in inadequate amounts or, the insulin doesn’t work effectively. It takes place in much older adults, someone over the age of 40 but it can also occur even in childhood. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with some lifestyle adjustments like a healthy diet, exercise and weight management.
Prediabetes occurs when the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is high sugar level during pregnancy caused due to production of insulin blocking hormones by the placenta. They may not experience any of the diabetes symptoms.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is more common in our country. The risk factors include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, family history, age, high blood pressure or cholesterol and to some extent, race.
Diabetes symptoms are related to the high blood and in turn urine sugar levels. These include:
- Increased Hunger
- Increased Thirst
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Extreme fatigue
- Weight Loss
- Delayed or slow wound healing
- Blurry Vision
Diabetes mellitus symptoms in men
Diabetes symptoms specific to men include erectile dysfunction and decreased muscle mass or strength.
Diabetes mellitus symptoms in women
In women, specific diabetes symptoms include UTIs, yeast infection and dry itchy skin. Symptoms of diabetes in women vary, here are the most common ones in each type.
1: Type 1 diabetes symptoms
- Growing thirst
- Frequent hunger
- Unintentional weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Recurring urination
- Mood changes
2: Type 2 Diabetes symptoms
- Increased hunger
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Tiredness, fatigue
- Sores that take too long to heal
- Instant thirst
3: Gestational diabetes symptoms
Women with gestational diabetes fail to show any signs and symptoms. Diagnosis of gestational diabetes is done during a routine blood sugar test or oral glucose tolerance test, or it can’t be guessed by changes noticed in the body.
What are the causes of diabetes mellitus?
The accurate causes of diabetes mellitus are still unknown by doctors. Risk factors however can help to create a map of the leading problems that can increase the chances of being more to diabetes. Here are the major causes of diabetes:
1: Hereditary –
Family history plays a significant cause in diabetes in its next generation. If you have a family history or a personal history in gestational diabetes, then you are a higher risk.
Belonging from the African-American race or Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander, or Asian-American increases the risk of getting diabetes.
Autoimmune disease – A self-attack on the body parts can also cause diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease caused by the failure of insulin production by the pancreas.
Risk of developing increase with age.
3: Injury –
Any harm done to the pancreas can cause Type-1 diabetes through infection, tumour, accident or surgical procedures.
4: Other risk factors caused by physical changes
- High blood pressure
- Abnormal blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels
- Intake of medication, like steroids
Note – Sugar isn’t always the primary cause of diabetes, though consuming a lot of sugary food items can definitely cause tooth decay, but it won’t cause diabetes.
What are the complications of Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes also invites various other risks of severe health problems that make the condition more challenging. One of them is high blood pressure, which can lead to organ and tissue damage in the entire body. Fortunately, with the right treatment and lifestyle adjustment, we can prevent the onset of complications.
Here are the complications associated with diabetes
- Hearing loss
- Retinopathy and vision loss
- Heart disease, stroke, & heart attack
- Skin conditions
- Eye complication like cataract and glaucoma
- Foot complication
- High blood pressure
Diabetes can’t be completely eradicated, once it has occurred. However, it can be treated and controlled with beneficial steps taken to prevent it. Here are some lifestyle changes recommended by doctors to manage diabetes.
- Try to maintain your blood glucose levels normal, if possible. You can manage it through a balanced diet along with medication and activity.
- Balance your blood pressure, keep it under perfect control. It should never reach beyond the limit of 140/90
- Work on reducing health problems caused by developing diabetes to stop worsening the condition.
- Maintain normal levels of blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipids).
- Don’t increase your weight, though it can be tough due to frequent hunger caused by diabetes. So, to maintain a normal weight, it’s recommended to exercise regularly
- Constantly check your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home, rather than doctor monthly checkups. It helps to take immediate action.
- Plan what and how much you want to eat at each interval. Following a balanced diet and meal plan is a must.
- Don’t forget to maintain routine appointments with your healthcare provider and visit for regular lab tests as prescribed by your doctor.
Diabetes treatment by medication
Type – 1 diabetes
One of the best treatments through the medication of Type-1 diabetes is by Insulin. It helps to replace the work of pancreas, the main cause of this condition. There are four main types of insulin prescribed and commonly used by diabetic patients all around. Each of them differs by how quickly they work and their duration of long-lasting.
1: Rapid-acting Insulin –
Works within 15 minutes, while it lasts for 3 to 4 hours.
2: Long-acting Insulin –
Works within a few hours after injecting and lasts for 24 hours and more.
3: Short-acting Insulin –
Works within 30 minutes and lasts for 6 to 7 hours.
4: Intermediate-acting Insulin –
Works within 1 to 2 hours while lasts for 18 hours.
Type 2 Diabetes
Here is a medication known for treating type-2 diabetes. Consult your doctor before taking them to avoid any complications.
1: Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors –
It helps to reduce the body’s breakdown of starch and sugar-based food items. Drugs include Acarbose (Precose) and miglitol (Glyset).
2: DPP-4 inhibitors-
Enhances the blood sugar without dropping it too low. Examples include Linagliptin, saxagliptin and sitagliptin.
3: Biguanides –
Helps to reduce glucose amount from what the liver produces. Examples include Metformin (Glucophage).
4: Meglitinides –
Stimulates the pancreas to increase the production of more insulin. Examples include Nateglinide (Starlix) and repaglinide (Prandin).
5: Sulfonylureas –
Sulfonylureas also help to direct the pancreas into secreting more insulin. Examples include Glyburide (DiaBetaGlynase), glimepiride (Amaryl) and glipizide (Glucotrol).
6: SGLT2 inhibitors –
Prompt more release of glucose in the urine. Examples include Canagliflozin (Invokana) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga).
7: Glucagon-like peptides –
It alters the way our body makes insulin. Examples include Dulaglutide (Tricity), liraglutide (Victoza) and Exenatide (Byetta).
Cause the insulin to work effectively. Examples include Pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia).
Type 1 is managed with insulin therapy. Type 2 may be managed with diet and lifestyles changes or medication to lower blood sugar if these don’t work.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a major concern for the elderly population, being the single most common disease affecting people of this age group. In India, the prevalence rate of Type 2 in the elderly population was found to be around 30%. The disease and its complications affect the quality of life of the elderly. Diabetes also increases their risk of cardiovascular mortality.
Diabetes Mellitus FAQs
Q 1. What is the difference between diabetes and diabetes mellitus?
Ans. Diabetes and Diabetes mellitus are the same words. Diabetes is derived from Latin, meaning to get through a siphon, that is a large amount of urine production by the kidneys. While the term Mellitus, in Latin, means sweet.
Q 2. What are the six symptoms of diabetes mellitus?
Ans. The most common symptoms of diabetes mellitus are following –
- The frequent urge of urination
- Drastic weight loss
- Instant hunger
- Excessive thirst
- Change in vision
- Numbness in hands or feet
Q 3.What happens in diabetes mellitus?
Ans. Diabetes mellitus is an illness that makes our body out of energy even after consuming food. It occurs when the pancreas produces very little or no insulin at all.
Q 4: Can diabetes mellitus be cured?
Ans. No! Diabetes mellitus has no cure, yet. But it can be successfully treated and controlled from worsening. You can keep diabetes in control by managing your blood glucose level as normal as possible by eating a balanced diet and doing regular physical activities.
Q 5: What are the 3 signs of diabetes mellitus?
Ans. The three big signs of diabetes that say it all are –
- Polyuria – urge to frequent urination, especially at night
- Polydipsia – Excessive thirst and need for fluids to drink
- Polyphagia – Recurring hunger
Q 6: What are the complications of diabetes mellitus?
Ans. Here are the major complication of diabetes mellitus –
- Nerve damage (nephropathy)
- Cardiovascular problems
- Kidney damage
- Foot damage
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Skin condition
- Hearing impairment
Q 7: How do you feel when your blood sugar is too high?
Ans. When your blood sugar level is too high, you’d feel excessive thirst, the frequent urge of urination and extreme tiredness.
Q 8: What is the nursing management of diabetes mellitus?
Ans. The nursing management planning goals in India for patients with diabetes include effective treatment to regulate the blood glucose to normal and reduce the complications using insulin replacement, healthy and nutritional diet and regular exercise.
Q 9: What is the first-line treatment for diabetes?
Ans. The first line of treatment for type 2 diabetes is generally the medication of metformin. It works by reducing the glucose production in the liver and improving the body sensitivity to insulin.
Q 10: How can type 2 diabetes be cured permanently?
Ans. No, there isn’t a permanent cure for type 2 diabetes, but research has shown that it’s possible for some people to reverse it. By intake of a healthy and balanced diet, weight loss and regular exercise, we can successfully reach normal blood sugar levels without any help of medication.
Q 11: Is honey good for diabetics?
Ans. Realistically, there’s no benefit of substituting honey for sugar when you have diabetes. Both of these ingredients increase our blood sugar level.
Elderly people with diabetes require special attention. Emoha Elder Care’s home nurses are medically trained to care for such patients. From making sure that their medication or insulin is being taken on time to guaranteeing their safety and looking out for any related complications, they will ensure that the elderly under their care has all his needs met.