International Global Health Blog

What is Diabetes Mellitus?

International Global Health

Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar) which lead over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

The most common of diabetes disease is Type 2 Diabetes - which is more common in adults, and occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or does not make enough insulin.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Unexplained weight loss
    Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes can start quickly - within a week. Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes often develop slower, over the course of several years and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people with Type 2 Diabetes have no symptoms.

    Warning signs of diabetes include:
  • Increased thirst and hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination or urine infections
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision and headaches
    Before people develop Type 2 Diabetes they almost have 'pre-diabetes'- which means blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

    Doctors sometimes refer to prediabetes as impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG) depending on what tests they use to detect it. This condition puts you at a higher risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
    Doctors can diagnose diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes through blood tests. The blood tests show if your blood glucose (blood sugar) is higher than the normal range.
    Taking insulin is often part of treating diabetes. Along with healthy food choices and physical activity, medicine can help you manage the disease. Some other treatment options are also available.
  • Diabetes Type I
    You must take insulin because your body no longer makes this hormone. You will need to take insulin several times during the day with your meals. You also could use an insulin pump to gives small doses throughout the day.
  • Diabetes Type II
    With people with diabetes type II they can manage their condition by making healthy food choices and being more physically active, but they need diabetes medicines as well. The medication may include diabetes pills or insulin.
    Having diabetes means that you are more likely to develop heart disease and have a greater chance of a heart attack or stroke. People with diabetes are more likely to have certain conditions, risk factors that increase the chances of having heart disease or stroke like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
    If you have diabetes, you can protect your heart and health by managing your blood sugar. If your smoke, try to get help to stop.

    For some people with prediabetes early treatment can actually return blood glucose levels to the normal range. Try to follow the below tips that can help lower your risk for Diabetes type II by losing your body weight by exercising moderately, such as walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
    If you can't reach your ideal body weight, losing even 10 to 50 pounds can make a huge difference.
  • World Health Organization
  • The Global Diabetes Community
  • American Diabetes Association
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
  • NHS

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