“The Sweet Disease" Diabetes Mellitus

Have you wanted to eat more often than a normal person would do? Are you always thirsty? Do you feel like you are urinating more than a litre every time to you go to the bathroom? Do you always feel tired more than the usual? If the answers to these questions are “yes", then maybe it is time to visit your doctor because you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

What is Diabetes Mellitus ?

Diabetes mellitus or simply known as diabetes is a disease in the metabolism wherein the blood contains sugar that is either higher or lower than normal levels. In the old days, they correlated the disease with “sweet urine" and muscle wasting or muscle loss. “Sweet urine" is when there is too much glucose or sugar in the blood, the glucose goes into the urine.Blood sugar is controlled by insulin. Insulin is a type of hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The pancreas is the gland organ which is long and irregularly shaped that is located behind the stomach. The body is made up of different kinds of cells. The cells needs glucose to produce energy. In order for the glucose to go inside the cell, the insulin secreted by the pancreas acts as a key. When insulin secretion is defective, the insulin stays in the blood. This is why there is a high level of sugar in the blood which is termed as hyperglycemia. When there is too much insulin in the blood, it is termed as hypoglycemia.

Complication of Diabetes

Having diabetes can lead to many complications such as blindness, kidney failure and damages to the nerve. Arteries will harden and it makes it narrow for the blood to pass which can lead to heart diseases such as coronary heart disease and strokes. Diabetes is one of the leading cause of death in the world. In the United States, it ranks third after heart related diseases and cancer.

Types and Causes of Diabetes Mellitus

The cause of diabetes is associated with the absence or insufficient secretion of insulin, or the production of insulin that are already ineffective, or it can also be the defective cells which can no longer use insulin properly. When this happens, the cells of the muscle and fats will later reject the insulin. This is what they call “insulin resistance."There are two types of diabetes mellitus, called the Type I or the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile onset diabetes mellitus and the Type II otherwise known as the Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). In Type I, the pancreas goes into a process of destroying itself making insulin production inefficient. In this type of diabetes, you must continually inject insulin in order to survive and maintain blood sugar.

In type II diabetes, otherwise known also as adult onset diabetes mellitus, you’s body is still capable of producing insulin. However, it is no longer enough for the body’s needs especially if the body is already rejecting the insulin most especially in the fat and muscle cells.With type II diabetes, it occurs to people who are past their 30 years of age and today, there are already patients who are only in their teenage years. They may be the result of poor eating habits, obesity or excessive body weight, and lack of exercise.

How will you know if you have diabetes?

In evaluating a person if he or she has Diabetes Mellitus, there are symptoms that can be seen.

♦ Dehydration, which means there is the increased thirst and water drinking (Polydipsia). This happens because of the too much sugar in the blood leading to a high urine output (Polyuria).

♦ Unexplainable weight loss because the inability of the insulin to do its function will affect the protein, fat and carbohydrate consumption of the body.

♦ Patients will want to eat as often as he likes (Polyphagia).

♦ Complaints of being too tired, nausea and vomiting.

♦ Blurring of vision because of inconsistent blood sugar levels. When there is too much of the blood glucose, it can lead to coma or death.

In the laboratory test, there are number of procedures done and they are

  • FBS procedure or the Fasting Blood Sugar test to diagnose the disease. You will fast for at least 8 hours overnight. After that, in the morning, a blood is drawn for the test. In normal fasting, the level should be lesser that 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). When the level is more that 126 mg/dl on two or more occasions, this means that you has diabetes.
  • Random blood glucose test. The blood can be drawn anytime without fasting. When the level of the blood sugar is at 200 mg/dl or more, this indicates that you have diabetes.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test used to diagnose type II diabetes. You will also fast overnight of at least 8 hours but not more than 16 hour. After the fasting stage then tested. After testing, You will be given 75 grams of glucose, then the test is done again. Normally a person with normal blood glucose is is with lesser than 140 mg/dl after 2 hours. If on two or more occasions, it is higher than 200 mg/dl, then you have diabetes.
  • At home, there is the blood sugar testing kit. You will prick the fingertip using a lancing device. The blood is applied to a glucometer and the value is read. The normal range is between 70 to 120 mg/dl before meals and below 140 mg/dl after eating.

When you have diabetes, it is best to know which kind of test you are using and to know the values by heart to know if your blood sugar level is within the normal level or not because it is impossible that you can go into comatose.

How do you manage diabetes?

In managing diabetes, it requires a lot of sacrifice, especially in religiously following a medication regimen and keeping a quality diabetic diet.In nutrition, you are provided with a diabetic exchange list. You can ask for this list from your health care provider. The foods on the list are in amounts that contain equal caloric number and protein, fat, and carbohydrates in grams.In terms of insulin management, you are taught how to monitor blood sugar levels and how to self inject insulin. You must know what are oral hypoglycemic agents to improve the tissue response to insulin. There is what they call the Sick Day Rules. This is the process that is used by diabetics to manage their insulin levels. The rules are:

♦ The insulin ordered, either oral or inject able must be followed.

♦ Blood glucose and urine ketones are to be checked every three to four hours.

♦ When the glucose levels change from the normal levels, it needs consultation to the physician.

♦ If there is sickness, diarrhea, or vomiting, consult the physician.

Skin and foot care is to be observed. You must inspect your feet daily. Most patients who have lost their feet or legs are those that already have had injuries but failed to notice them. Injuries can cause infection. People with diabetes have a hard time recovering from wounds and injuries. You are advised to wear well-fitting shoes. It is wise to always buy shoes in the late afternoon rather than in the morning and break them in slowly. Avoid walking without comfortable foot wear. Feet heating pads are not to be used because this will lead to wounds and injuries. The toenails should be trimmed always in a straight across manner. The corners should not be rounded.

Exercise is an essential part of the therapeutic regimen for people with diabetes. When you exercise, the blood sugar level goes down. However, a medical advise should be done first because too much exercise may lower the sugar below normal levels leading to hypoglycemia. The diabetic should practice foot care and must not exercise in an environment that is too hot or cold.

Diabetes is a lifetime disease but it can be controlled and managed. There is no cure that can bring the insulin levels and blood sugar levels back the way it used to be without the use of medications and proper diet. So it is wise that when you have diabetes, you have to be concerned with your health to avoid devastating complications later on.

written by, Ronald Uy

© 2009 Hemorrhoid Information Center

Diabetes Milletus. Retrieved Sept 1, 2009 from Wikepedia: http://en.wikipedia.org

Type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved Sept 1, 2009 from About.com: http://diabetes.about.com

Diabetes. Retrieved Sept 2, 2009 from Medline Plus: http://www.nlm.nih.gov

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