Diabetes is commonly known as 'having sugar'. Diabetes Mellitus is a cluster of metabolic disorders which are defined as a condition characterized by a set of clinical criteria like high blood sugar (glucose) levels, insulin resistance,, dyslipidaemia (skewed lipid levels), hypertension and obesity, which result from defects in insulin secretion, or its action, or both. Diabetes progresses from a state of near normal glucose tolerance to impaired glucose tolerance to diabetes as a continuum in complete glucose dysregulation. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas acts as the key for assimilating the glucose in the blood cells and also helps to control the blood sugar levels of the body. When the blood glucose rises (for example, after eating food), insulin is released from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level. In patients with diabetes, the absence or insufﬁcient or even inadequate production or impaired function of insulin causes high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia.
Although diabetes is a chronic medical condition and can be controlled well, it lasts a lifetime.
Diabetes is emerging as one of the most serious healthcare problems in India. If not diagnosed early and managed properly, diabetes can cause serious damage to vital organs of the body such as the heart, kidney, brain, eyes, nerves, feet etc.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM or 'Juvenile Diabetes')
Type 1 Diabetes is described as a condition in which the pancreas ceases to produce enough insulin due to the destruction of the pancreatic β cells by an auto-immune process. This condition occurs predominantly in younger people from childhood to young adults, and is increasing in the population, particularly in the under-5 age group. People with T1DM produce little or no insulin, due to which the glucose cannot get into the body's cells for use as energy. This causes blood glucose to rise and fall suddenly. Insulin therapy is an essential Type 1 Diabetes treatment for the very survival of the patient suffering from T1DM.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM or 'Adult-onset Diabetes')
Unlike Type 1 diabetics, patients with Type 2 Diabetes produce insulin. However, the insulin secretion by pancreas is either insufficient or inefficient in the body. As a result the glucose cannot be absorbed into the body's cells for utilization as energy and consequently causes the blood glucose to rise. Type 2 diabetes generally occurs amongst people 35 years or more in age. It is also linked to people who are overweight / obese. A plump waist is a strong indication that a person is rapidly heading towards diabetes, hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Type 2 Diabetes is mostly treated with diet, exercise and oral medication. Insulin therapy is given only if blood sugar levels are too high and remain uncontrolled despite oral medication.
Gestational diabetes is when high blood glucose levels occur only during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the developing baby has an increased need for glucose or energy. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect the action of insulin, resulting in high blood glucose levels. Pregnant women who have an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes include those who are over 25 years old, who gain excessive weight or are above their normal body weight, and have a family history of diabetes. It has also been seen that gestational diabetes significantly increases a person's chances of developing diabetes later on in life.