Diabetes mellitus is the formal term for the disease more commonly known as diabetes. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder affecting the pancreas cause high levels of blood sugar. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination and an increase in thirst and hunger. If diabetes is left untreated, many complication can occur which can even result in death. Other long term complications include heard disease, kidney failure, stroke, neuropathy, foot ulcers and blindness.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a result of the pancreas either not producing enough insulin for the body to use or the cells of the body being unable to properly respond to the insulin being produced. There are three different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is a result of the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin
- Type 2 diabetes is a result of insulin resistance. The pancreas still produces insulin however cells in the body are unable to respond to the insulin.
- Gestational diabetes is another common form of diabetes and it occurs in pregnant women.
What is Insulin?
We can’t talk about diabetes without talking about insulin so let’s take a look at the correlation. The pancreas is a digestive organ that produces enzymes for to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. It is also responsible for producing various hormones including insulin.
Insulin promotes the absorption of glucose from the blood stream into tissues and muscles; glucose is used as the primary source of energy. In a normal functioning body insulin is supplied in steady amounts to removed excess glucose from the blood stream. A build-up of glucose in the body (high blood glucose or hyperglycemia) can prove to be toxic resulting in coma and death.
Blood Sugar Levels
Hyperglycemia which is high blood glucose occurs when the body does not have enough insulin causing a build-up of glucose in the blood stream. Hyperglycemia is characterized by frequent urination and increased thirst.
Hypoglycemia is a result of low levels of glucose in the blood. Physical effects include shakiness, anxiety, hunger, delirium, weakness and fatigue.
There is currently no cure for diabetes – only treatment via insulin, medication and lifestyle changes.