Diabetes Mellitus is a disease that is caused by defective carbohydrate metabolism characterized by unusually big amounts of sugar in the urine and in the blood. Diabetes affects approximately two per cent of the population, which nearly half are still undiagnosed. Diabetes can eventually damage important organs such as kidneys and the heart and can also endanger pregnancy. Correct treatment, however can minimize these problems.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes comes in two types. The first type, or "Type One Diabetes as it is called" is called insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus, (IDDM), occurs mostly in children and young adults and has been implicated as one of the autoimmune diseases. Type two, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, (NIDDM), is usually found in people over forty years old and progresses slowly. Often it is not accompanied by clinical symptoms. Instead it is detected by urine glucose levels or elevated blood.
Diabetes is considered a group of disorders with multiple cases, not just a single disorder. The human pancreas secretes a hormone which is called insulin. Insulin facilitates the entry of the sugar glucose into all the tissues of the body, providing energy for bodily activities. However, in a person with diabetes, the entry of the glucose is impaired, a result of either a deficiency in the amount of insulin produced or of altered receptor cells. Therefore, sugar builds up in the blood and is excreted in the urine. In insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus, the problem is almost always a severe or total reduction in insulin production. In non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, the pancreas makes a considerable amount of insulin, though it is insufficient for the needs of the body, especially as the body tissues are frequently resistant to the actions of insulin. In some individuals this resistance is because of prolonged obesity: a high level of blood sugar inactivates the tissue components, which, in turn, act as a target for insulin. If untreated, insulin-dependant diabetes mellitus can be fatal. It is usually accompanied by extreme thirst, fatigue and weight loss.
With adequate treatment most diabetics maintain blood-sugar levels within nearly normal or normal range. This enables them to live normal lives and prevents some long term consequences of the disease For both types of diabetes with no or little insulin being produced, therapy involves insulin injections and changes in diet to a Low Sugar Diet. This Diebetic Diet requires distributing meals and snacks throughout the day. This is so that the insulin supply is not overwhelmed by a sudden increase in Blood Sugar Levels.