Diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus) is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not react to the insulin that has been produced. The high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).
There are many different types of diabetes, but the three main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 DM (juvenile diabetes) results from the body's failure to produce enough insulin, and therefore requires the person to inject insulin.
- Type 2 DM (adult onset) results from insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells fail to use insulin properly, and may result in an absolute insulin deficiency.
- Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during their pregnancy.
All forms of diabetes are treatable with insulin, and type 2 diabetes may be controlled with other medications. Both types 1 and 2 are chronic conditions that usually cannot be cured, but can be managed. Adequate treatment of diabetes is very important, as well as blood pressure control and lifestyle factors such as smoking cessation and maintaining a healthy body weight for those living with diabetes.
The classical symptoms of untreated diabetes are weight loss, frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger. Prolonged untreated diabetes can result in vision changes and skin rashes.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic disease which for the most part cannot be cured except in very specific situations. Management of diabetes focuses on keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible, without causing hypoglycemia. Diabetes can usually be managed with healthy diet, exercise, and use of appropriate medications.
Patients need to be educated and have an understanding of how important it is to maintain their blood sugar levels in order to reduce the possibilities of complications.
The first line of treat of treatment is usually Metformin for type 2 diabetes, as there is good evidence that it decreases mortality.
Type 1 diabetes is usually treated with a combination of regular and NPH insulin, or synthetic insulin analogs. When insulin is used for type 2 diabetes, a long-acting formulation is usually added at the beginning, while continuing oral medications.