Diabetes mellitus often simply referred
to as diabetes—is a condition in which a person has a high
blood sugar (glucose) level as a result of the body either not producing
enough insulin, or because body cells do not properly respond to
the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone produced in the
pancreas which enables body cells to absorb glucose, to turn into
energy. If the body cells do not absorb the glucose, the glucose
accumulates in the blood (hyperglycemia), leading to various potential
There are many types of diabetes, the most common of which are:
• Type 1 diabetes: results from the body's failure to produce
insulin and requires the person to inject insulin.
• Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition
in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined
with an absolute insulin deficiency.
• Gestational diabetes: is when pregnant women, who have
never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during
Causes and Risk Factors of Diabetes
cause of Type 1 diabetes is genetically based, coupled with an abnormal
The cause of Type 2 diabetes is unknown. Medical experts believe
that Type 2 diabetes has a genetic component, but other factors
also put people at risk for the disease. These factors include:
(weighing 20 percent above a healthy body weight).
history of diabetes.
functioning of the pancreas.
(cortisone and some high blood pressure drugs).
having given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 lbs.
diagnosed gestational diabetes.
Previously diagnosed impaired glucose tolerance.
2 diabetes is determined primarily by lifestyle factors and genes.
Diet is a major factor responsible for causing
diabetes. Eating too many carbohydrates, fats and proteins are
harmful for the body. Our body generally needs a balanced diet
to perform vital functions. Too much food hampers the pancreas
to perform its function of insulin secretion. The blood sugar
level raises leading to diabetes. Normally people are in habit
of eating food rich in refined carbohydrate like biscuits cake
ice-cream etc so the risk of diabetes increases.
Obesity is also the major factor causing diabetes.
Excessive body weight as compared to height of an individual
serves as a predisposing factor for diabetes. Due to extra amount
of fat the insulin does not function properly in the body. Due
to increased fat in the body the muscle and tissues become resistant
Virus infections can also lead to diabetes.
Viruses like coxsackie b virus may infect the pancreas impairing
the release of insulin and causing increased blood sugar level.
Nowadays life style of people has changed drastically.
They no longer believe in physical work and exercise and prefer
a comfortable life sitting for long hours in a chair. It has
been noted that the lesser active a person is, the greater is
the risk of developing diabetes.
The age is the commonest predisposing factor
of diabetes. It has been noted that as a person grows older
particularly above the age of 45, the chances of developing
diabetes are increased.
Emotional stress also leads to diabetes. Nowadays,
people have a highly stressed life, busy all the time, exertive
work, pancreatic insufficiency due to irregular and chaotic
lifestyle deeply influences the metabolism of the body. Even
grief, worry, death of a close person can alter blood sugar
levels of the body.
People who smoke frequently are highly susceptible
to develop diabetes. They are much prone to developing retinopathy
and joint immobility. If a diabetic patient does not stop smoking
then there are chances of premature mortality.
Usually, the symptoms of Type I diabetes are obvious. That is
not true for Type 2. Many people with Type II do not discover
they have diabetes until they are treated for a complication
such as heart disease, blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis),
stroke, blindness, skin ulcers, kidney problems, nerve trouble
of the signs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are similar. In both,
there is too much glucose in the blood and not enough in the
cells of your body. High glucose levels in Type 1 are due to
a lack of insulin because the insulin producing cells have been
2 diabetes occurs when the body's cells become resistant to
insulin that is being produced. Either way, your cells aren’t
getting the glucose that they need, or your body lets you know
by giving you these signs and symptoms.
warning signs and symptoms are:
Unexplained weight loss
Type I symptom, plus:
or numbness in your feet
Frequent vaginal or skin infections
Dry, itchy skin
Slow healing sores
If a person is experiencing these symptoms, they should see a
mellitus is characterized by recurrent or persistent hyperglycemia
and is diagnosed by demonstrating any one of the following:
Fasting plasma glucose level at or above 7.0 mmol/L (126 mg/dL).
glucose at or above 11.1 mmol/L (200 mg/dL) two hours after
a 75 g oral glucose load as in a glucose tolerance test.
of hyperglycemia and casual plasma glucose at or above 11.1
mmol/L (200 mg/dL).
Glycated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1C) at or above 6.5. (This
criterion was recommended by the American Diabetes Association
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease which is difficult
to cure. Management concentrates on keeping blood sugar levels
as close to normal ("euglycemia") as possible without
presenting undue patient danger. This can usually be achieved
with close dietary management, exercise and use of appropriate
medications (insulin only in the case of type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Oral medications may be used in the case of type 2 diabetes,
as well as insulin).
Modifying the diet to limit and control glucose (or glucose
equivalent, e.g., starch) intake and in consequence, blood
glucose levels, is known to assist type 2 patients, especially
early in the course of the condition's progression. Additionally,
weight loss is recommended and is often helpful in persons
suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Several dietary modifications using dietary supplements are
sometimes recommended to those with type 2 diabetes.
are roles for patient education, dietetic support, sensible
exercise, with the goal of keeping both short-term and long-term
blood glucose levels within acceptable bounds.
In addition, given the associated higher risks of cardiovascular
disease, lifestyle modifications are recommended to control
blood pressure in patients with hypertension, cholesterol
in those with dyslipidmia. Exercising more, smoking less or
ideally not at all and consuming a recommended diet.
with foot problems are also recommended to wear diabetic socks
and possibly diabetic shoes.