Diabetes Mellitus: What You Need to Know About This Serious Disease

Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot use It effectively, resulting in high blood glucose levels.

One in eleven people in the United States has diabetes, and one-third of those people do not even know they have it. This is a serious disease that can lead to many other health problems if left untreated. In this blog post, we will discuss the different types of diabetes, as well as the symptoms and treatment options. We will also provide tips for living with diabetes and preventing complications.

What is diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces, resulting in high blood glucose levels.

Diabetes can have a devastating impact on your health if left uncontrolled. It may damage a wide range of body organs and tissues, including the heart, kidneys, nerves, and eyes. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults and can also lead to kidney failure and amputations.

How common is diabetes mellitus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 422 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes. The global prevalence of diabetes has nearly doubled since 1980, rising from about four percent to eight percent in the adult population.

In the United States, diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death and is responsible for more than 234,000 deaths each year.

What are the types of diabetes?

The types of diabetes include:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or juvenile diabetes, is a form of disease that typically develops in childhood or adolescence. In type I diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly regulate blood sugar levels.

This can lead to serious health complications, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (a build-up of acids in the blood) and diabetic coma (a state of unconsciousness caused by high blood sugar levels).

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a form of disease that typically develops in adulthood. In type II diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin or is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces (insulin resistance).

About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. It can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.


Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type II diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes can lead to type II diabetes or heart disease.

People have prediabetes if their fasting blood glucose level is between 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) and 125 mg/dL (6.9 mmol/L) or if their blood glucose level 2 hours after a glucose tolerance test is between 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) and 199 mg/dL (11.0 mmol/L).

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It can lead to serious health complications for both the mother and child.

It usually goes away after birth. But up to 10% of women who have gestational diabetes get type 2, weeks or even years later.

Gestational diabetes is more of a risk for the baby than the mother. A baby might have unusual weight gain before birth, trouble breathing at birth, or a higher risk of obesity and diabetes later in life.

The mother might need a cesarean section because of an overly large baby, or they might have damage to their heart, kidney, nerves, and eyes.

What causes diabetes?

The exact cause of diabetes is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

What are the risk factors for diabetes?

There are several risk factors for diabetes, including:

  • Obesity
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)

If you have a family history of prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, you’re at increased risk of developing prediabetes, Type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes.

Why do blood glucose levels increase?

The digestive process includes breaking down the food you eat into a variety of possible nutrient sources. When you consume carbohydrates such as rice, bread, or honey, they are immediately broken down by enzymes in your saliva and intestine into glucose, the simplest sugar molecule.

From there, glucose is transported through your bloodstream to the cells of your body, where it is used for energy. Insulin is a hormone manufactured by your pancreas, an organ located behind your stomach, and enters your circulation. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter your cells by opening the “cell wall door,” which was previously locked. Glucose cannot enter your cells without insulin.

If glucose can’t get into your body’s cells, it stays in your bloodstream, and your blood glucose level rises. High blood sugar levels can lead to serious health problems.

You may have diabetes and not even know it because the symptoms don’t appear until your blood sugar is very high.

What is a normal blood sugar level?

A normal fasting blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL. Normal blood glucose levels two hours after a meal are less than 140 mg/dL.

What are the symptoms of diabetes mellitus?

The symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor for a diabetes test.

How do I know if I have diabetes?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see your doctor for a diabetes test:

  • You are urinating more than usual.
  • You are thirstier than normal.
  • You are hungrier than normal, even though you are eating the same amount of food.
  • You have lost weight, even though you are eating the same amount of food.
  • You are tired all the time.
  • You have blurry vision.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will work with you to create a treatment plan.

How is diabetes mellitus diagnosed?

A diagnosis of diabetes is made when one or more of the following criteria are met:

  • A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher.
  • A two-hour blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher after a glucose challenge test.
  • A random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher.
  • A hemoglobin A1C level of 6.5% or more.

Hemoglobin A1C

A hemoglobin A1C test may be used to diagnose diabetes. Those with a hemoglobin A1C of 6.5% or more have diabetes. They have prediabetes if the level is between 5.7 and 6.4

Oral glucose tolerance test

A blood test called an oral glucose tolerance test is another kind of blood test that can be done in certain circumstances, such as during pregnancy screening for gestational diabetes.

How is diabetes treated?

There is no cure for diabetes, but it can be managed. Diabetes management concentrates on keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal without causing low blood sugar. Diabetes management includes education, diet, exercise, and drugs.

  • Eating a healthy diet can help you maintain good blood glucose control
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Take insulin or other medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Checking your blood sugar levels regularly
  • Seeing your doctor regularly for checkups

American Diabetes Association recommendations for aspirin use (based on expert consensus or clinical experience) are that low-dose aspirin use is reasonable in adults with diabetes who are at intermediate risk of cardiovascular disease (10-year cardiovascular disease risk, 5–10%).

Preventing diabetes mellitus

There are other risk factors that you have some control over, even if your family history and race can’t be modified. There are a few things you can do to help prevent diabetes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing type II diabetes. Physical activity, especially losing body weight, can help you avoid diabetes.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and low in saturated and trans fats can help prevent type II diabetes.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps your body use insulin more effectively.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of developing type II diabetes and can also cause complications if you have diabetes.

If you have diabetes, it is important to see your doctor regularly to manage your condition and prevent complications.

What are the consequences of untreated diabetes?

If you have diabetes and don’t treat it, the following diabetes complications are possible:

  • Cardiovascular disease (such as heart attack, coronary artery disease, narrowing of arteries)
  • Stroke
  • Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy)
  • Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy)
  • Blindness
  • Damage to tiny blood vessels in the eyes (diabetic retinopathy)
  • Amputation of limbs
  • Death
  • Untreated gestational diabetes can result in a baby’s death either before or shortly after birth.

If you think you may have diabetes, it is important to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Diabetes is a serious disease, but it can be managed with proper treatment. With the right care, you can live a long and healthy life.

This blog post is not intended to be medical advice. Please consult your doctor for more information.

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