Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar in the blood. Insulin produced by the pancreas lowers blood glucose.  Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes.

The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2.  It is also known as insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile onset and adult onset diabetes.

Symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are as follows:

  1. Increased urine output.
  2. Excessive thirst
  3. Weight loss
  4. Fatigue.
  5. Hunger
  6. Yeast infection
  7. Slow healing wounds
  8. Skin problem
  9. Tingling or numbness in the feet and toes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result from defects in insulin secretion, or its action, or both.  Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes was first identified as a disease associated with “sweet urine,” and excessive muscle loss in the ancient world. Elevated levels of blood glucose lead to glucose going into the urine and that is why it is called sweet urine.

Blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin (hormone produced by the pancreas).   Insulin lowers the blood glucose level.  When the blood glucose elevates after eating food or sweets, insulin is released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level by promoting the uptake of glucose into body cells. In patients with diabetes, the absence of insufficient production of or lack of response to insulin causes hyperglycemia (excessive glucose).  Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, although it can be controlled, it will last a lifetime.

Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage.  These types of damage are the result of damage to small vessels, referred to as microvascular disease.  Diabetes also is an important factor in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to strokes, coronary artery disease, and other large blood vessel diseases.

What is insulin?

Pancreas produce a hormone called insulin.  Insulin helps to regulate the level of glucose in the blood.  After a meal, the blood glucose level rises.  In response to the increased glucose level, the pancreas normally releases more insulin into the bloodstream to help glucose enter the cells and lower blood glucose levels after a meal.  When the blood glucose levels are lowered, the insulin release from the pancreas is turned down.  It is of importance that even in a fasting state there is a low steady release of insulin that helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level.  In normal individuals, such a regulatory system helps to keep blood glucose levels in a tightly controlled range.  In patients with diabetes, the insulin is either absent, relatively insufficient, or not used properly by the body. All of these factors cause elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia).

Other Types of Diabetes:

 Gestational diabetes

Blood sugar elevation during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes.  After the baby is born gestational diabetes resolves.  It is interesting that 35% to 60% of the woman who have gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years especially on those who require INSULIN during pregnancy.

Medications:  Certain medications may also cause diabetes to worsen such as steroid medications and HIV drugs

Hormonal Disturbance:  One can also get diabetes if there is disturbance in hormone.

Secondary Diabetes:  Secondary diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar from another medical condition when pancreas which produce insulin are destroyed because of some disease that people have.

Remembering the Symptoms of Diabetes