Classification of Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes mellitus: More commonly referred to as “diabetes” — a chronic disease associated with abnormally high levels of the sugar glucose in the blood. Diabetes is due to one of two mechanisms:

  1. Inadequate production of insulin (which is made by the pancreas and lowers blood glucose), or
  2. Inadequate sensitivity of cells to the action of insulin.

The two main types of diabetes correspond to these two mechanisms and are called insulin dependent (type 1) and non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes. In type 1 diabetes there is no insulin or not enough of it. In type 2 diabetes, there is generally enough insulin but the cells upon it should act are not normally sensitive to its action.

The signs and symptoms of both types of diabetes include increased urine output and decreased appetite as well as fatigue. Diabetes is diagnosed by blood glucose testing, the glucose tolerance test, and testing of the level of glycosylated hemoglobin (glycohemoglobin or hemoglobin A1C). The mode of treatment depends on the type of the diabetes.

The major complications of diabetes include dangerously elevated blood sugar, abnormally low blood sugar due to diabetes medications, and disease of the blood vessels which can damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart

Diabetes facts

  • Diabetes is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Insulin produced by the pancreas lowers blood glucose. Absence or insufficient production of insulin, or an inability of the body to properly use insulin causes diabetes.
  • The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2. Former names for these conditions were insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, or juvenile onset and adult onset diabetes.
  • Symptoms of diabetes include
    • increased urine output,
    • excessive thirst,
    • weight loss,
    • hunger,
    • fatigue,
    • skin problems
    • slow healing wounds,
    • yeast infections,
    • blurred vision, and
    • tingling or numbness in the feet or toes.
  • If you think you have diabetes contact a health-care professional.
  • Diabetes is diagnosed by blood sugar (glucose) testing.
  • The major complications of diabetes a
    • re both acute and chronic.
      • Acute complications: dangerously elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or abnormally low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) due to diabetes medications
      • Chronic complications: disease of the blood vessels (both small and large) that can damage the feet, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and heart
    • Diabetes treatment depends on the type and severity of the diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is first treated with weight reduction, atype 2 diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugars, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin and other injectable medications are considered.

How is diabetes managed?

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be treated and controlled. The goals of managing diabetes are to:

  1. Keep your blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible by balancing food intake with medication and activity.
  2. Maintain your blood cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) levels as near the normal ranges as possible by decreasing the total amount of fat to 30% or less of your total daily calories and by reducing saturated fat and cholesterol.
  3. Control your blood pressure. (Your blood pressure should not go over 130/80.)
  4. Decrease or possibly prevent the development of diabetes-related health problems.

You hold the keys to managing your diabetes by:

  • Planning what you eat and following a balanced meal plan
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking medication, if prescribed, and closely following the guidelines on how and when to take it
  • Monitoring your blood glucose and blood pressure levels at home
  • Keeping your appointments with your health care providers and having laboratory tests completed as ordered by your doctor.

What you do at home every day affects your blood glucose more than what your doctor can do every few months during your check-ups.

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