Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2009 12:17
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Diabetes mellitus is a common disease worldwide. In the UK alone, it affects around 1.6-2.3 million people. However, this may just be the tip of the iceberg, as it is believed that more than half a million diabetics have not been diagnosed. This is mainly due to poor awareness. In the last 30 years, there has been a threefold increase in diabetes, including childhood diabetes.
Diabetes Ã¢â‚¬â€œ An Overview
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which blood sugar rises to a level higher than normal. The food we eat is broken down into glucose. This glucose requires a hormone called insulin Ã¢â‚¬â€œ produced by an endocrine gland called the pancreas Ã¢â‚¬â€œ to get into the blood stream, which carries it to cells in the body.
Once inside the cells, glucose is used as fuel by the body. But when you are diabetic, your pancreas produce either little or no insulin, or the bodyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cells do not respond properly to the insulin that is produced. This leads to the accumulation of glucose in the blood, depriving the cells of their main source energy and eventually leading to diabetes.
A blood glucose level above 11.1 mmol/l or a fasting glucose level above 7.0 mmol/l is treated as a confirmation of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal.
Common causes of diabtetes
Diabetes can occur in several forms and affect adults and children alike. Hence, it is essential to understand the factors that lead to this disease. (See section on diabetes causes).
Main symptoms of diabetes
The main signs of diabetes mellitus in adults include increased frequency of urination, increased thirst, and increased appetite. If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis, you need to get your blood sugar levels checked.
Types of diabetes
There are several types of diabetes. The two main types being; Type 1 Diabetes, where the pancreas stops producing insulin and Type 2 diabetes, where the pancreas producesÃ‚Â some insulin but that insulin does not work properly.
Most common treatments of diabetes
The treatment approach to diabetes mellitus is a combination of a healthy, well balanced diet, exercise, and medication with tablets or insulin injections.
Self-care and prevention of diabtetes
Changes in lifestyle and inculcating a few healthy habits can go a long way in combating this chronic disease.