Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition caused by the lack of the hormone insulin produced by the pancreas, or when the hormone is ineffective. It is a common chronic disease - one of the top ten-killer diseases in Singapore.

What Does Insulin Do?
Insulin is required to move glucose from the bloodstream into the body cells for usage or storage. When this fails, diabetes develops. The high amount of glucose in the blood leads to the glucose being spilt over into the urine, hence forming a 'sweet urine'.

What are The Negative Effects of Diabetes?
The high blood glucose level in diabetes produces chemical reactions in the small blood vessels and nerves, causing reduced blood flow to many organs and nerve damage. The high blood glucose also makes it easier for germs to multiply and weaken the immune system. All these lead to many serious complications such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, coma, impotence, infections with poor healing, numbness of hands and feet, and wounds on feet that do not heal, leading to amputations.

Are There Different Types of Diabetes?
Yes. The main types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. Type1 is the more serious type where the person does not produce any insulin at all due to damaged pancreatic cells of which the cause is unknown. This type occurs commonly in childhood and adolescence but may also occur in elderly people. They need constant insulin injections and complications are more sudden and life-threatening.

Most diabetics are Type 2. It occurs more frequently in people over 40 years old, particularly those who are overweight and physically inactive. The insulin produced is not enough or not effective enough. This type of diabetes may be controlled with proper dieting and exercise but most diabetics will also need oral medication.

What are The Risk Factors For Diabetes?
There is no clear cause of diabetes, but medical studies show that you are more likely to get it if you

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Regardless of your gender or race, see a doctor to test for diabetes if you have the any of the following symptoms:

Diagnosis of Diabetes
If you have any of the risk factors or any of the signs and symptoms listed above, consult your doctor to have your blood checked. If you are over 40 years of age, check your blood glucose level at least once every 3 years.

Control of Diabetes
Diabetes is a life-long disease. It cannot be cured but it can be controlled to prevent the development of the many serious complications by :

This article is contributed by Singapore Medicine.

See also:
Classification of Diabetes Mellitus
About Diabetes Mellitus

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