What is diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin (a hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood ) in sufficient quantity or when the human body is unable to effectively use the insulin it produces in order to absorb glucose by the body’s cells, which causes glucose to accumulate in the blood and leads to an increase in the concentration of sugar in the blood. In the long term, high blood sugar can lead to severe damage to many body systems, especially the heart, arteries, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
What are the types of diabetes mellitus
There are two types of diabetes mellitus :
Type I diabetes:
also called (insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or diabetes of children and adolescents) this type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin in sufficient quantity, so the body needs a daily supply of insulin. This type of diabetes is unavoidable and it affects children and young adults, although the incidence rate in adults is constantly increasing. Although the causes of this type of the disease are still unknown, researchers believe that the cause may be due to an autoimmune reaction that damages the beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for the secretion of the hormone insulin.
Type II diabetes: known as diabetes (not related to insulin or adult diabetes) this type of diabetes is caused either by a lack of insulin secretion by the pancreas or by ineffective use of insulin by the body. This type of diabetes is usually the result of being overweight, obese, or not doing any physical activity, and therefore we find among the people who are most at risk of developing diabetes :
People who are overweight or obese؛
People with high blood lipids (cholesterol)؛
Persons aged 45 years and over؛
People who have first-degree relatives (father or mother) with diabetes mellitus؛
Women with diabetes during pregnancy(gestational diabetes)؛
Women who have given birth to an infant whose weight exceeds 4 kilograms.
Gestational diabetes: this type of diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels above normal, as it usually appears in the second and last trimester of pregnancy, noting that women with gestational diabetes are more exposed to the possibility of pregnancy and childbirth complications, and they and their children are more exposed to the possibility of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future.
What are the symptoms of diabetes mellitus
Regardless of the type of diabetes, the symptoms are the same, mainly consisting of:
Frequent urination day and night (a person with diabetes usually wakes up at night in order to urinate)؛
The intensity of thirst and hunger؛
Feeling unwell and tired؛
The occurrence of frequent infections of the skin gums, bladder, and vulva؛
Slow wound healing؛
The sensation of numbness, tingling, and pain at the level of the hands and feet.
What are the complications of diabetes mellitus
Diabetes of this type can cause complications at the level of various body systems and can also increase the risk of premature death. Among these possible complications, we find :
Heart attack or stroke؛
Poor blood flow and neuropathy (nerve damage) in the feet, lead to an increased likelihood of foot ulcers, infection, and eventually the need for amputation of the legs؛
Damage to the retina of the eye, as is considered one of the main causes of vision loss. And this happens after long-term damage to the blood vessels of the retina.
For pregnant women, not adjusting the blood sugar level can lead to fetal death, not to mention other complications.
What measures should be taken to prevent diabetes mellitus
So far, there are no preventive measures to prevent the development of Type I diabetes. However, on the other hand, Type II diabetes and its complications can be prevented or at least delayed by following some measures that will change the lifestyle. To this end, it is recommended to:
Working to achieve and maintain a healthy and normal weight؛
Practice regular physical activity at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes a day ؛
Adopt a healthy, balanced and varied diet while avoiding saturated fats and sugars؛
Avoid smoking, as the latter increases the likelihood of developing diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
For people suffering from diabetes, they should also adopt a healthy diet, practice regular physical activity, and quit smoking, because following these non-drug measures will reduce the doses of medication and prevent the occurrence of diabetes complications.
At the nutritional level, changing eating behaviors will help to: control blood sugar more, maintain a healthy and normal weight, improve blood lipids (cholesterol), control blood pressure, and reduce the serious complications of diabetes. In order to achieve this goal, patients with diabetes should:
Control the level, type of carbohydrates, and frequency of their consumption؛
Eat plenty of dietary fiber because it reduces the frequency of absorption of carbohydrates؛
Favor the consumption of good fats in order to improve the level of lipids in the blood (cholesterol) and prevent their complications؛
Avoid drinking alcohol؛
Adjust the nutrition pattern according to the pace of physical activity.
At the level of physical activity, any sporting activity should be practiced at a moderate pace at least 30 minutes a day, because this would help :
Reducing blood glucose, which will help the body to use insulin well and effectively؛
Lowering blood pressure؛
Achieve and maintain a healthy and normal weight.
In addition to all of the above, there are other procedures that a diabetic patient must follow, which are as follows :
Blood sugar monitoring؛
Constantly monitor blood pressure؛
Detection of retinopathy that can lead to vision loss؛
Constantly monitor the level of lipids (cholesterol) in the blood؛
Detect the initial signs of diabetes-related diseases that can affect the kidneys and work on their treatment.