Diabetes, often known as diabetes mellitus, is a chronic disease marked by elevated blood sugar (glucose) levels. It is caused by a lack of insulin or an inability of the body to use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. This is done by moving glucose from the bloodstream into the cells of the body, where it is used for energy. Diabetes Mellitus can lead to serious complications if not properly managed, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Some common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:
- Increased thirst and urination: High blood sugar levels can cause increased thirst and the need to urinate more frequently.
- Fatigue: Diabetes can cause a lack of energy, or fatigue, due to the body’s inability to properly use and store glucose.
- Blurred vision: Vision might become blurry as a result of swelling of the eye’s lens brought on by high blood sugar levels.
- Slow healing of cuts and wounds: High blood sugar levels can impair the body’s ability to fight off infections and heal wounds.
- Unexpected weight loss: Despite increased hunger, some people with diabetes may lose weight unexpectedly.
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet: High blood sugar levels can damage the nerves, causing numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
- Darkened skin: Darkened skin, particularly in the armpits and neck, can be a sign of diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes Mellitus:
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: This particular form of diabetes is brought on by an autoimmune attack on the pancreatic cells that make insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and requires lifelong treatment with insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: This type of diabetes is caused by a combination of resistance to the action of insulin. It is also caused by inadequate production of insulin. It is typically diagnosed in adults and is often associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle.
Both types of Mellitus can lead to serious complications if not properly managed. This includes heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and blindness. Therefore, it is important for individuals with diabetes to closely manage their condition. Their condition can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin therapy. This replaces the insulin that the body is no longer able to produce. Insulin therapy can be given through injections or an insulin pump, which delivers insulin continuously through a small tube under the skin. The type and dosage of insulin will vary depending on an individual’s needs and will be determined by a healthcare professional.
In addition to insulin therapy, individuals with type 1 will also need to closely monitor their blood sugar levels. Typically, through self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) using a glucose meter. This will help them to understand how different foods, activities, and medications affect their blood sugar levels, and make adjustments accordingly.
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 2 diabetes can often be managed through lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and weight management. This can help to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and lower blood sugar levels.
Medications are also often used to treat type 2. Oral medications, such as metformin and sulfonylureas, work by increasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas or by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Another class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists, DPP-4 inhibitors, and SGLT-2 inhibitors, can also be used to treat type 2. These medications work by inhibiting the breakdown of GLP-1, a hormone that regulates insulin secretion and glucose metabolism, and by increasing insulin release.
In some cases, insulin therapy may also be necessary for individuals with type 2, particularly if their blood sugar levels are not well controlled with oral medications or lifestyle changes alone. Individuals with type 2 will also need to closely monitor their blood sugar levels. And make adjustments to their treatment plan as needed.
Management of Diabetes
In addition to medications, individuals with diabetes will also need to make lifestyle changes to help manage their condition. This may include:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet: This should be rich in fresh produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium, saturated fats, and trans fats.
Getting regular physical activity: This can help to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity should be completed each week, according to the American Diabetes Association.
To the question, “Can diabetes be managed or treated?” Yes, It can be managed and treated through lifestyle changes. These changes include regular exercise and healthy eating. Medications such as insulin or oral drugs can also be used for the treatment and management of diabetes. Close monitoring of blood sugar levels is also important in managing it. You need to work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that works best for you.