Diabetes Basics

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which persistent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar level) arises either from insufficient secretion of the hormone insulin or due to inadequate response of target cells to insulin, or a combination of both. Diabetes is a metabolic disease requiring medical diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes. In diabetes mellitus, the body is unable to produce or properly use and store glucose leading to abnormal increase of glucose in the bloodstream. It causes blood glucose or "sugar" to rise too high.

There are many forms of diabetes, but the three most common patterns of diabetes that have been recognized over the last three decades are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. These three types of diabetes are caused by a variety of identifiable or yet-to-be-identified causes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all.

As such, people suffering from it are required to take daily doses of insulin either through injections or inhalers. It starts generally in childhood or adolescence. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes generally affects adults. This diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin and/or is unable to use insulin properly (insulin resistance). Gestational diabetes affects almost 4 % of all pregnant women. It attacks only when a women is pregnant.

The chances are high that you may have diabetes mellitus but you may not show any symptoms. But, it is normal, since diabetes develops slowly, particularly type 2 diabetes. Two most common symptoms of diabetes mellitus are excessive thirst and increased urination.

Sometimes, diabetes may feel like a viral illness accompanied by fatigue, loss of appetite and weakness. Also, you may gain or loose weight unusually. Other symptoms of diabetes mellitus include blurred vision, slow healing of sores, frequent infections, and damage of the nerves among others.

Keeping your blood sugar level under control is the first step towards feeling healthy and avoiding long term complications of diabetes mellitus. Other treatments for diabetes mellitus are controlling your diet, physical exercise and medications. Often diabetes mellitus goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless that you continue to ignore them. However, recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can minimize the chances of developing the complications of diabetes.