Diabetes mellitus occurs when you have a problem with your pancreas which is the organ that controls your blood glucose. It either stops manufacturing insulin or does not produce enough amounts that satisfy your body’s needs. This deficiency of insulin results in poor absorption of glucose by your body’s cells, which use it for energy production, as well as by your liver, which stores it. The final result of this poor absorption is a high blood sugar or glucose level.
There are two main forms of diabetes mellitus. They are Type I (also called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent) diabetes and Type II (also known as maturity-onset or insulin-independent) diabetes.
In Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes; which usually affects young people, the pancreas produces very little or no insulin. The defect is caused by damage to the insulin-producing cells. Your body, unable to use glucose because of the lack of insulin, is forced to obtain energy from fat instead. This can lead to a dangerous condition called diabetic coma.
In Type II (insulin-independent) diabetes; which attacks people commonly around their forties, the cells which produce insulin are still functioning, but the amount of insulin is insufficient for your body’s needs. Patients who suffer from this type of disorder usually eat too much and are overweight. Their over-eating causes an excess of glucose in their blood, and the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to cope with it. Genetics and hereditary factors are key players in this type. In one-third of cases, there is always a family member or members suffering from the disorder. Another factor is your age because the function of your pancreas is reduced as a part of the normal ageing process.
All forms of diabetes cause the same main symptoms. You urinate much more than usual, sometimes as often as every hour or so, throughout the day and night. You may notice white spots, which consist of dried splashes of glucose-filled urine, on your underwear or shoes. Microorganisms are attracted to the sugary urine and these can cause various complications, such as bladder infections. The excessive loss of fluid can make you perpetually thirsty, and drinking sweetened beverages increases the amount of urination and makes your thirst worse. Your cells do not get enough glucose, so you feel extremely tired, weak, and apathetic; so much so that you may be unable to get up in the morning.
If you are diabetic or the father/mother of a diabetic child, you might notice an excess loss of weight. This is explained by the inability of the body to use glucose as a source of energy and instead, your body starts burning your fat and muscle. Other symptoms that you may experience include tingling in the hands and feet, decreased immunity (small abscesses and burning urination due to infection may be the first symptoms of diabetes. ), blurred vision due to excess glucose in the fluid of the eye, and loss of erection in men or the absence of monthly periods in women.
The symptoms of Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes usually develop rapidly, within weeks or months. Those of the Type II (insulin-independent) form often do not appear until many years after the actual onset of the disease. Sometimes the disorder is detected by chance at a routine medical examination before any symptoms appear.
In conclusion, diabetes mellitus arises from a disruption in the functioning of the pancreas, a vital organ responsible for regulating blood glucose levels. When the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin or ceases insulin production altogether, a deficiency of this crucial hormone results. This deficiency impairs the absorption of glucose by the body’s cells, which rely on it for energy, as well as by the liver, which stores it. This chain of events culminates in elevated blood sugar levels, a hallmark of diabetes.
The disease manifests in two primary forms: Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes and Type II (insulin-independent) diabetes. In Type I diabetes, often diagnosed in young individuals, insulin production is severely compromised due to damage to insulin-producing cells. As a consequence, the body resorts to using fat for energy, potentially leading to life-threatening diabetic coma.
Conversely, Type II diabetes, commonly appearing in middle-aged individuals, involves insulin-producing cells that function to some extent, but the produced insulin falls short of the body’s requirements. This form is often linked to excess weight, overeating, genetic predisposition, and age-related decline in pancreatic function.
Regardless of the diabetes type, key symptoms are consistent. Frequent and excessive urination, accompanied by the presence of white spots in undergarments due to glucose-filled urine, indicates a classic sign. Relentless thirst, increased fluid intake, fatigue, weakness, and reduced vitality are commonly experienced. Weight loss might occur due to the body turning to fat and muscle for energy, while tingling sensations in the extremities, compromised immunity, blurred vision, and other discomforts might also emerge.
Type I diabetes symptoms typically manifest swiftly, within a matter of weeks or months, while those of Type II may remain concealed for years after the disease’s onset. On occasion, the disorder is incidentally detected through routine medical examinations before noticeable symptoms arise. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for timely diagnosis, intervention, and effective management of diabetes mellitus.