Updated: Feb 19, 2022
By Anaya Garg
Diabetes Mellitus is the inability of the body to maintain its glucose level which results in high blood glucose or blood sugar level. The normal blood sugar level should be 80-120 mg/ dl. According to Bellenir (2012), glucose is absorbed into the blood from the food we eat and it is needed to fuel our body. Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key to let the glucose in our blood, into the cells to be used as energy and regulates our blood sugar level. It converts excess glucose in our blood to glycogen, and is stored in the liver and muscles as a reserve.
There are 2 main types of diabetes- type 1, type 2, but there is also a variation of type 2 diabetes called gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also called “juvenile diabetes,” is an autoimmune disease where the beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed (Ehrman, 2012). Beta cells are cells in the pancreas that produce insulin in our body and hence the patients with type 1 diabetes have no insulin production in their body. It is almost always seen in the young generation, and once someone gets it, they have lifelong insulin dependency. In type 2 diabetes, also called “adult onset diabetes,” the pancreas produce excess insulin, however, the cells don’t respond normally to it, causing relative deficiency of insulin, leading to high blood glucose level. When the cells do not respond normally to the insulin, it is referred to as insulin resistance. It is mostly seen in overweight and obese people. Due to insulin resistance, the pancreas produce a lot of insulin to try to force the cells to act. High insulin levels can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), and osteoporosis (thinning bones). Diabetic patients show symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss without any effort, excessive hunger, extreme thirst, and frequent urination because they pass the glucose in their urine. Also, type 2 diabetes can harm other major body systems leading to heart and kidney disease, gangrene(diabetic foot), neuropathy (loss of sensation), and vision loss (“Type 2 Diabetes,” 2019).
In gestational diabetes, physiological stress of pregnancy leads to high blood glucose level. Those who develop gestational diabetes can have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes later in their life and it also increases their child’s risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity (Bellenir, 2012). Out of all the varieties, gestational diabetes could be a temporary condition and type 1 diabetes responds to insulin injections. However, type 2 diabetes poses several adverse health risks. Therefore, type 2 diabetes requires a holistic management in view of multiple comorbidities and the most important aspect is lifestyle modification. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has a propensity to be easily neglected nowadays. Thus, lifestyle modification is the best plausible way to decrease insulin resistance and increase insulin sensitivity (Colberg, 2015).
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