Diabetes Mellitus: Symptoms and Treatment

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Diabetes Mellitus

By Shane O’Shaughnessy

Contents

Page 1: Description of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Page 2: Type 1 Diabetes

Page 3: Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

Page 4: Type 2 Diabetes and Symptoms

Page 5: Aims of Treatment

Page 6: Medication

What is diabetes mellitus?
The term ‘diabetes’ means excessive urination and the word ‘mellitus’ means honey. Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition caused by a lack, or insufficiency of insulin. Insulin is a hormone – a substance of vital importance that is made by your pancreas. Insulin acts like a key to open the doors into your cells, letting glucose in. In diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in your blood to get into your muscle and other cells to produce energy. If sugar can’t get into the cells to be used, it builds up in the bloodstream. Therefore, diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels. Excess sugar is also excreted in the urine, hence the practice, in days gone by, of tasting it to diagnose the condition. Types of diabetes:

There are two main categories of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes tends to occur in childhood or early adult life, and always requires treatment with insulin injections. It is caused by the body’s own immune system destroying the beta cells of the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes usually develops slowly in adulthood. It is progressive and can sometimes be treated with diet and exercise, but more often Type 2 diabetes may require ant diabetic medicine and/or insulin injections. Before you got diabetes:

Before you got diabetes, your body automatically kept your blood sugar exactly at the right level. Here is how that worked: After a meal containing carbohydrates, sugar is absorbed into the blood stream very quickly. The amount of sugar in your blood must not get too high or too low. Two hormones called insulin and glucagon were produced in the pancreas to ensure that the blood sugar was always well controlled no matter how much you had to eat and how much you exercised. When this does not happen, it is clear that you are a victim of diabetes mellitus. It is said that 24 million people in America have diabetes and an estimated 15 million of those have type 2 diabetes due to obesity, a bad diet and lack of exercise.

Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is the type of diabetes that typically develops in children and young adults. In type 1 diabetes the body stops making insulin and the blood glucose level goes very high. Treatment to control the blood glucose level is with insulin injections and a healthy diet. Other treatments aim to reduce the risk of complications and include reducing blood pressure if it is high, and to lead a healthy lifestyle. This is also known as juvenile, early onset, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It usually first develops in children or young adults. In the UK and Ireland about 1 in 300 people develops type 1 diabetes at some stage.

With type 1 diabetes the illness usually develops quite quickly, over days or weeks, as the pancreas stops making insulin. It is treated with insulin injections and a healthy diet. In most cases, type 1 diabetes is thought to be an autoimmune disease. The immune system normally makes antibodies to attack bacteria, viruses, and other germs. In autoimmune diseases the immune system makes antibodies against part or parts of the body. If you have type 1 diabetes you make antibodies that attach to the beta cells in the pancreas. These are thought to destroy the cells that make insulin. It is thought that something triggers the immune system to make these antibodies. The trigger is not known but a popular theory is that a virus triggers the immune system to make these antibodies.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
The symptoms that usually occur when you first develop type 1 diabetes are: * You are very thirsty a lot of the time.
* You pass a lot of urine.
* Tiredness, weight loss, and feeling generally unwell.

The above...
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