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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus, commonly referred to as "diabetes," means "sweet urine." Diabetes mellitus means "to flow, honey" in Greek

Diabetes that affects the body's ability to produce or respond to insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows blood glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy.

Diabetes results from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both. In diabetes, too much glucose stays in the blood. Elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia) lead to spillage of glucose into the urine.

As a result of elevated levels of blood glucose, two problems occur: body cells become starved for energy, and, over time, the high glucose levels can damage the nerves, eyes, kidneys, heart and blood vessels.

Living with diabetes

Diabetes is not an infectious disease, like a cold or flu. You cant "catch" it from someone else, and no one can catch it from you. Diabetes is a lifelong disease.

Men with diabetes often have erectile dysfunction which can begin before the diagnosis of diabetes is made. It is recommended that men with unexplained erectile dysfunction be screened for diabetes with a fasting blood glucose test.

What is High Blood Sugar?

  • Normal blood sugar: 65 -140.
  • High blood sugar: 250-350
  • Very high blood sugar: (over 350)

What happens when blood sugar falls too low?

When blood sugar falls too low, the body will begin a process to increase blood sugar. The process is listed below.

  1. The pancreas releases a hormone called glycogenThe muscles and liver convert their stored glycogen back into glucose.
  2. When the stored glycogen is used up, the liver, kidneys, and small intestines can break down protein into glucose.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • thrush
  • extreme hunger
  • unusual weight loss
  • extreme fatigue
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • sweet smelling breath

Types of Diabetes

There are 4 main types of diabetes

Secondary diabetes mellitus refers to elevated blood sugar levels that develop as the result of another medical condition. Secondary diabetes mellitus also develops when the pancreatic tissue responsible for the production of insulin is absent because it is destroyed by disease, such as chronic pancreatitis, trauma, or surgical removal of the pancreas. Diabetes can also result from other hormonal disturbances, such as excessive growth hormone production (acromegaly) and Cushing's syndrome.

Cure for Diabetes

A cure for Diabetes has not been found yet.  However, it can be controlled. Ways to control diabetes are: maintaining blood glucose levels, blood fat levels and weight.  Blood glucose levels can be maintained by following a diet designed by your doctor, exercising, and eating at regular intervals.

Treatment Options for Diabetes

Some of the most common treatment options are: oral medicines (Diabetes pills), dietary changes, exercise, insulin and islet Cell Transplantation. The oral medicines may have negative side effects. The side effects of the oral medicines include: nausea, diarrhea, metallic taste in mouth, low blood glucose, skin rash or itching, and weight gain.

Rare side effects or oral medicines are Liver failure, Respiratory infection, Headache, and Pain.

How is Diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

Diabetes can be diagnosed by performing a fasting plasma glucose test. The test is as follows: After the person has fasted overnight (at least 8 hours), a sample of blood is drawn and sent to the laboratory for analysis.

Normal fasting plasma glucose levels are less than 110 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Fasting plasma glucose levels of more than 126 mg/dl on two or more tests on different days indicate diabetes.

Diabetes and Pregnancy

Women who have diabetes can become pregnant. However, the woman will have special health concerns, such as keeping blood glucose (sugar) levels in good control, managing diabetes medications, adjusting meal plans, and exercising regularly.

How does Exercise help Control Diabetes?

Exercise is very important to maintaining a healthy life and managing diabetes. Combining diet, exercise, and medicine (when prescribed by your doctor) will help control your weight and blood sugar level. Exercise is good for you because:

  1. It lowers blood sugar by speeding the transport of glucose in the cells. (Known as invisible insulin.)
  2. It helps promote weight loss and maintenance of ideal body weight.
  3. It decreases cardiovascular risk by making heart pump more efficiently.
  4. It improves circulation.
  5. It reduces demands on the pancreas.
  6. It improves our muscular tone.
  7. It reduces stress.

Controlling diabetes is very important and should be supervised by a medical doctor.  When diabetes is controlled, it will help prevent serious complications such as: infections, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage to feet and heart disease.

Diabetes and your Doctor

You should inform your doctor if you have experienced any symptoms of eye, nerve, kidney, or cardiovascular problems such as: Blurred vision, Numbness or tingling in your feet, Persistent hand, feet, face, or leg swelling, Cramping or pain in the legs, Chest pain, Shortness of breath, Numbness or weakness on one side of your body, Unusual weight gain.

It is important that you tell your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms because they might be symptoms of other serious conditions.

Complications of Diabetes

Common complications of diabetes are:


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