Diabetes is a disorder of the metabolism. The metabolism is a mechanism through which our body uses food to provide energy to the human organism.
Most of the foods we eat are broken down into glucose – among other components. Glucose consists the main fuel source for our body. The cells of our body use the glucose, converting it to energy. However, glucose cannot penetrate into the cells without the presence of a particular substance, insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in the pancreas. More particularly, after the intake of food, the pancreas liberates a -significant- quantity of insulin, that pushes glucose towards the cells. This movement corresponds to the decrease of sugar (glucose) levels in blood. Diabetes occurs when the human body cannot use food as energy and, therefore, sugar is increased in the blood.
There are three types of Diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The human body itself is actually destroying the cells that produce insulin. Thus, the insulin that is required by our body is not produced. Type 1 Diabetes may occur to patients at a young age (juvenile Diabetes). Unfortunately, type 1 Diabetes cannot be prevented. Until its manifestation, there is no symptom at all. Patients with type 1 Diabetes must be very careful of what they eat. Therefore, the help of a specialist is deemed as necessary, so that the patient’s diet is regulated.
It is the most common type of diabetes. On terms of age, it occurs much later in life than Type 1 Diabetes. In the case of Type 2 Diabetes, the body produces insulin, but its action is reduced. Thus, glucose does not manage to penetrate into the cells.
This has the following results:
- Glucose is accumulated in the blood.
- The cells do not receive the glucose they need.
* There are women who are develop diabetes during pregnancy.
Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease that acts slowly, until it is diagnosed.
People who suffer from diabetes may ignore this for years, as there are no clear and specific symptoms until the blood sugar levels become very increased. This has the result that valuable time is wasted, before its effective treatment begins.
More particularly, Type 2 Diabetes may occur to anyone.
However, there is an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes in the following categories:
- Obese people (Abdominal obesity and deposition of fat in the liver)
- Women who have developed gestational diabetes
- People with a family history of Type 2 Diabetes
- Women with a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- People with a history of cardiovascular disease
- People with low good cholesterol
Although, as it has been mentioned, Diabetes Mellitus does not usually present any symptoms until it is diagnosed, there are some signs/symptoms that are related with its occurrence:
- Feeling of thirst & xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Feeling of fatigue or even exhaustion
- Numbness in arms/ legs
- Increase of appetite
- Nausea or even vomiting
- Vision disorders
Diabetes Mellitus can be diagnosed with a simple urine analysis, where a high quantity of glucose can be found. This is followed by a simple blood test where the exact glucose levels in the blood are determined.