Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease where the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a vital hormone that helps the body tissues absorbs glucose so it can be used as a source of energy. Simply put Diabetes is a disease where the body can’t use insulin properly, or it can’t make enough insulin at all. The condition may also develop if your muscle, fat, and liver cells respond poorly to insulin. In people with diabetes, there is a glucose levels build up in the blood and urine, causing excessive urination, thirst, hunger, and problems with fat and protein metabolism.
Diabetes can cause life threatening diseases like heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.
One of the reasons why diabetes is called the silent killer is because its symptoms are easily missed. According to the center for disease control and prevention, an estimated 29 million Americans have diabetes but only 21 million people are actually aware they have it. According to WHO about 422million people worldwide have diabetes.
The symptoms can be so mild that if you are not really attentive and in tune with your body you might live years without knowing you have it.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin. Anybody diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injection for life.
It’s not yet known why the body attacks the immune system and insulin production, but it is believed that genetic and viruses are involved.
Although Type 1 diabetes is most commonly found in children and young adults, it was previously known as juvenile diabetes, it can occur at any age and symptoms can develop over a short period of time. Symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination, extreme fatigue, weight loss even with increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and absence of menstruation
If you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and not treated with insulin, you risk slipping into diabetic coma which is life threatening. But with adequate information about the disease and living a healthy lifestyle and receiving the required treatment, most people go on to live a normal and healthy life.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and it means that your body doesn’t use insulin properly.
With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose levels. It is often linked to being overweight or inactive, or having a family history of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes although commonly known as adult-onset diabetes, more children are being diagnosed with the disorder as of today, this is believe to be due to the rise in childhood obesity. Although there’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, taking appropriate medications, eating well and exercising and living a healthy lifestyle, can help in managing the disease.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly over the years making it easy to go undetected.In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. Symptoms might include increased thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision, slow healing sores, unintended weight loss and frequent infections.
Gestational diabetes occurs mostly in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before but have high blood sugar levels.
Symptoms include Increased thirst, frequent urination, Weight loss, Fatigue, Nausea, and vomiting, Frequent bladder infections and Blurred vision.
Gestational diabetes can be missed in pregnancy. Many women have gestational diabetes and think that their symptoms is just the normal pregnancy symptoms.It usually starts with mild symptoms that often can be attributed to other things. It’s important to get tested during pregnancy because the high blood sugars from gestational diabetes can harm the baby, causing serious complications.
Symptoms of diabetes
A person who has diabetes passes large quantities of urine several times a day. There is that frequent urge at night to empty the bladder. When glucose cannot enter the body cells, it accumulates in the blood and starts appearing in the urine. Diabetics are prone to excessive urination because the glucose in the urine draws water within than is normal.
The loss of water from excessive urination generates excessive thirst. A diabetic frequently feel thirsty and drinks large quantities of water at short intervals.
Diabetics tend to feel hungry most of the time and eat large meals. Although they eat a lot, but they continue to experience hunger pangs.
Loss of Weight
Loss of weight despite the intake of frequent and large meals is another symptom of this disease. The body is starved of energy, as glucose cannot enter the cells. In a desperate effort to get energy, the starved cells use up fat and protein. This causes loss of weight.
Weakness and Fatigue
Diabetics feel tired easily even after a little exertion. They also feel out of breath easily. The sugar in the blood does not get into the cells where it is converted into energy. This lowers the stamina and resistance levels.
itching and yeast infections
Excess sugar in the blood and urine provides food for yeast, which can lead to infection. Yeast infections tend to occur on warm, moist areas of the skin, such as the mouth, genital areas, and armpits.
The affected areas are usually itchy, but a person may also experience burning, redness, and soreness.
Foot Pain and Numbness
According to Everyday Health , abnormally high blood sugar levels will cause damage to the body’s nerves, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Although not all people experience this symptom, more advanced cases of diabetes might notice numbness or pain in the extremities, typically starting with the feet. This symptom is most common in people who have had Type 2 diabetes for 25 years or more, but it can occur in people who are in the early stages as well.
One of the early warning signs of diabetes is blurred vision. In a high-sugar environments, such as untreated Type 2 diabetes, the ability of the eye’s lens to bend is altered. The lens is not damaged, but the eye muscles have to work harder to focus, especially when there are rapid changes in blood sugar and the eye muscles have not yet adapted to it. There’s a window of time when this symptom will show itself, as your body will adapt to the increased sugar levels and your vision will return to normal over time.
Over time, high blood sugar can affect your blood flow and cause nerve damage that makes it hard for your body to heal wound
Dry Mouth and Itchy skin
Because your body is using fluids to make pee, there’s less moisture for other things. You could get dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Also Dry skin can make your body itch.