Important information on Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus (DM), also known as simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. This high blood sugar produces the symptoms of frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. Untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications include diabetic ketoacidosis and nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Serious long-term complications include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers and damage to the eyes.
Diabetes is due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin, or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes mellitus:
• Type 1 DM results from the body’s failure to produce enough insulin. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. The cause is unknown.
• Type 2 DM begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly. As the disease progresses a lack of insulin may also develop. This form was previously referred to as “non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. The primary cause is excessive body weight and not enough exercise.
• Gestational diabetes, is the third main form and occurs when pregnant women without a previous history of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level.
Prevention and treatment involves a healthy diet, physical exercise, not using tobacco and being a normal body weight. Blood pressurecontrol and proper foot care are also important for people with the disease. Type 1 diabetes must be managed with insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes may be treated with medications with or without insulin. Insulin and some oral medications can cause low blood sugar. Weight loss surgery in those with obesity is an effective measure in those with type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after the birth of the baby.