Firstly, what is Diabetes Mellitus (mostly referred to as just Diabetes)?
Diabetes is a metabolic condition where the body is unable to automatically regulate blood glucose levels, resulting in excessively high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Put into simple terms, diabetes is a condition in which your body cannot handle the sugar in food.
Diabetes is something we unfortunately hear about often these days. It is no longer just a condition of the elderly as we are seeing dramatic increases in the number of young people being affected by diabetes. Diabetes is a serious disease and should not be ignored, it is a complex health problem and a national challenge. Diabetes is a life-long, chronic disease that affects as many as 16 million Americans. It is also the number one cause of acquired blindness.
Diabetes is often described as type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes. Out of these, type 2 diabetes is the most common form, accounting for around 90%-95% of all cases. This type of diabetes is strongly associated with being overweight and obesity, family history also plays a part. This type of diabetes is also referred to as adult-onset or maturity-onset diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is typically recognized in childhood or adolescence, and is marked by a total or near-total lack of insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also often referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Gestational diabetes is common, and is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy, usually between the 24th and 28th week.
Pre-diabetes is potentially the early stage of diabetes, where glucose (sugar) levels in the blood become disturbed, and are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.The best way to diagnose pre-diabetes is by a blood test; a fasting blood sugar (FBS), or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). If pre-diabetes is not controlled, it may well progress to diabetes.
Managing Diabetes is quite straight forward, even though there is no actual cure. It is becoming growing health problem, with type 2 diabetes now being diagnosed in larger numbers of children and teenagers. People with type 2 diabetes, often completely misunderstand, or simply ignore the crucial moment when blood sugar tests reveal that diabetes is progressing. The good news is that type 2 diabetes is largely preventable, as it is often linked to obesity.
Sometimes people have symptoms but they do not suspect diabetes. The early symptoms of untreated diabetes mellitus are related to the increased blood glucose levels. However, the symptoms of diabetes may not appear until blood glucose levels are above approximately 15mmol/l or higher. Symptoms can also be so mild that you might not even notice them. The symptoms of diabetes vary from person to person, and can be subtle.
Without treatment, the main symptoms of diabetes are unusual thirst, excessive amounts of urine, tiredness, and weight loss and muscle wasting. Symptoms may come and go. Symptoms partly depend on the type of diabetes a person has and how long it has been untreated. The first step in either preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes is to recognize the risk factors, as well as signs and symptoms of diabetes. If you think you have the symptoms of diabetes it is very important to seek advice from your physician.