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Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
Diabetes comes from Greek, and it means a "siphon". Aretus the Cappadocian, a Greek physician during the second century A.D., named the condition diabainein. He described patients who were passing too much water (polyuria) - like a siphon. The word became "diabetes" from the English adoption of the Medieval Latin diabetes.
In 1675, Thomas Willis added mellitus to the term, although it is commonly referred to simply as diabetes. Mel in Latin means "honey"; the urine and blood of people with diabetes has excess glucose, and glucose is sweet like honey. Diabetes mellitus could literally mean "siphoning off sweet water".
In ancient China people observed that ants would be attracted to some people's urine, because it was sweet. The term "Sweet Urine Disease" was coined.
Symptoms Of Diabetes
The A1C test
- at least 6.5% means diabetes
- between 5.7% and 5.99% means prediabetes
- less than 5.7% means normal
The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test
- at least 126 mg/dl means diabetes
- between 100 mg/dl and 125.99 mg/dl means prediabetes
- less than 100 mg/dl means normal
The OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test)
- at least 200 mg/dl means diabetes
- between 140 and 199.9 mg/dl means prediabetes
- less than 140 mg/dl means normal
Causes Of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. It's believed that a combination of genetic predisposition and additional environmental (as yet unidentified) factors provoke the immune system into attacking and killing the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes from occurring.
Type 2 diabetes is mainly caused by insulin resistance. This means no matter how much or how little insulin is made, the body can't use it as well as it should. As a result, glucose can't be moved from the blood into cells. Over time, the excess sugar in the blood gradually poisons the pancreas causing it to make less insulin and making it even more difficult to keep blood glucose under control.
Obesity is a leading cause of insulin resistance – about 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Genetic factors are also likely to be involved in the cause of type 2 diabetes. A family history of the disease has been shown to increase the chances of getting it.
Common Diabetes Medicines
Adverse effects Of Diabetes
- rapid, fluttering or pounding heart
- difficulty concentrating
- visual changes
Prevention Of Diabetes
Currently, type 1 diabetes is not preventable. However, studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting lifestyle changes that include moderate weight loss through eating a healthy diet and regularly exercising.
In addition, studies have shown that certain oral antidiabetes medications may play a role in preventing the development of type 2 diabetes for people with prediabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic condition, and it can last an entire lifetime. The goal of treating diabetes is to keep blood glucose levels as close to a normal range as possible. This prevents the symptoms of diabetes and the long-term complications of the condition. If you've been diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor – working with the members of your diabetes care team – will help you find your target blood glucose levels.
More than most conditions, treating diabetes requires a significant amount of real effort on the person's part. Coping with diabetes is a lifelong challenge, so people with diabetes should not be afraid to speak with a doctor or pharmacist if they feel overwhelmed.
Part of a treatment plan for diabetes will involve learning about diabetes, how to manage it, and how to prevent complications. Your doctor, diabetes educator, or other health care professional will help you learn what you need to know so you are able to manage your diabetes as effectively as possible. Keep in mind that learning about diabetes and its treatment will take time. Involving family members or other people who are significant in your life can also help you manage your diabetes.
Although you may see herbal products advertised to help control blood sugar, there are not enough good quality studies to show that these treatments are safe and effective.
Diagnosis Of Diabetes
Fasting plasma glucose level: If your blood glucose level is 7.0 mmol/L or higher after having not eaten anything for at least 8 hours – called fasting – your doctor may diagnose diabetes. If your blood glucose level is between 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L, your doctor may diagnose impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes (a condition that may later develop into diabetes).
A1C: Your A1C, also called glycated hemoglobin, reflects your average blood glucose levels for the past 2 to 3 months. If your A1C is 6.5% or greater, your doctor may diagnose diabetes. If your A1C is between 6.0% and 6.4%, your doctor may diagnose prediabetes. Of note, A1C cannot be used to diagnose type 1 diabetes, diabetes in children, adolescents, or pregnant women.
Random plasma glucose level: If your blood glucose levels is 11.1 mmol/L or higher, with no regards to time of day or when you last ate, your doctor may diagnose diabetes.
Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): With this test you will be required to fast for at least 8 hours and then are given a drink with 75 g of carbohydrate. Your blood glucose is checked at fasting and then 2 hours after drinking the solution. If your blood glucose is 11.1 mmol/L or higher, your doctor may diagnose diabetes. If your blood glucose 2 hours after drinking the solution is between 7.8 to 11.1 mmol/L, your doctor may diagnose prediabetes. This is the preferred method to test for gestational diabetes.Diabetes
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