What You Should Know About Diabetes Mellitus

What You Should Know About Diabetes Mellitus – Diabetes mellitus is the official name given to a group of metabolic diseases that result in abnormally high blood sugar levels. This term covers type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas produces insufficient insulin required to move glucose (sugar/energy) to the cells; type 2 diabetes, where the cells suddenly fail to respond to the insulin produced; or gestational diabetes, a type of the disease found in pregnant women. The symptoms of diabetes may include blurred vision, unquenchable thirst, extreme hunger, lethargy, increased infections, slow sore healing and frequent urination. Though there is currently no cure, there are ways to treat diabetes through lifestyle modification.
Diabetes mellitus is a world-wide disease afflicting 171 million people as of 2000 (or 2.8% of the population), although many people remain undiagnosed. It’s estimated that the number of people affected will double by 2030. Unlike many other diseases, the scope of diabetes is most encompassing in developed countries, like the United States, Australia, Sweden, Finland and the UK, where unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles may be contributing factors.
Over the past thirty years, the rate of type 2 diabetes has increased substantially to include 24 million diagnosed, 5.7 million undiagnosed and another 60 million overweight, sedentary and borderline diabetics. The American Diabetes Association reports that over 18% of Americans over 60 have diabetes. As a result, the Center for Disease Control has dubbed the change an “epidemic” and predicted that 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will develop the disease during their lifetime.
If treatments for diabetes are not sought, many complications may ensue. Up to 50% of people with the disease suffer diabetic neuropathy, which causes tingling, pain, numbness and weakness in the hands and feet. Sometimes this can lead to reduced blood flow, ulcers, gangrene and amputation. After 15 years, 2% of diabetics go blind and 10% suffer severe visual impairment as a result of damage to the retinal blood vessels. Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure, causing 10 to 20% of diabetic deaths. Another 50% die from heart disease or stroke.
The best way to manage diabetes mellitus is through healthy eating, exercise, blood sugar monitoring, medication, immunizations and regular checkups. Patients with diabetes will need screenings for kidney/renal failure, cholesterol and retinopathy.
Visiting the podiatrist and the dentist several times a year is also important for the diabetic. By working with a primary physician, individuals can learn about warning signs of low or high blood sugar levels and how to treat this. They can also improve the quality of their lives and stop the body’s degeneration through exercise and a conscientious diet.