What is diabetes?
“Diabetes-Mellitus” is what was often referenced to as diabetes. This an older medical term that was (and is sometimes still) used to describe what is now just called diabetes. “Mellitus” is a Latin word for (honey-sweet) or pertaining to honey“ Diabetes was first identified as a disease associated with "sweet urine," because when the blood glucose levels in our body gets very high, which is called ‘hyperglycaemia’ it can often release the glucose directly into the urine – and this was described as “ sweet urine.”
Diabetes is classed as a chronic medical condition and doctors and pharmacists say there is no real cure. It is associated with higher than normal levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Sometimes these levels of glucose can become dangerously high. There are two main types of diabetes, one form is found when the pancreas does not provide enough insulin to the body’s cells to trigger a cellular response, in the other type the cells themselves become resistant to insulin and do not respond properly to the insulin that is produced.
This is a condition which conflicts with the way our body utilities food for energy. In a healthy person the sugars contained in the food that was eaten gets digested and converted into a simple sugar, called glucose. This glucose then circulates throughout the whole body suspended in the blood in readiness to enter cells to be used as fuel. A hormone called Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, signals our cells to take in and use some of this glucose. In a normal person their healthy pancreas can adjust the amount of insulin it produces by measuring the amount of glucose in the body and adding more if needed or supplying less if glucose levels are lower. But in a person with Type 1 diabetes who’s pancreas is not doing its job, this constant adjustment process stops working and their blood sugar levels can become too high.
In People with Type 2 diabetes they can still be getting enough insulin but the cells that normally process glucose do not react to the insulin signal or have become immune to it and so don’t absorb the sugar from the blood where it can then build up to a dangerous level.
Another form of diabetes occurs in some pregnant women and is called Gestational diabetes. This form of diabetes affects between 3 and 8 percent of pregnant women and shows up during pregnancy. In most cases the mother’s blood sugar levels usually return to normal after childbirth. Women who are diagnosed with Gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Consistant high levels of glucose in a pregnant woman may cause her baby to absorb too much fat and become heavier than normal.Then after the baby is born they can get too low.
This type of diabetes can be easily monitored and treated and these risks are greatly reduced if the mothers blood sugar levels are well controlled the baby will not be born with diabetes.
Another form of diabetes which is not related to blood sugar levels is called “Diabetes Insipidus” The name given to this condition is often confusing or misleading, It is often diagnosed in people who have an extreme thirst and constantly need to release large quantities of urine.
A person suffering from this condition often has low levels of the hormone called “vasopressin”. When a person has low levels of this particular hormone it causes the body to release too much water into the bladder, this depletion of water from the body’s cells and vital organs starts to cause dehydration prompting their brain to tell them that they are thirsty and they then drink a lot more fluids to compensate for the loss. People who have an extreme case of this ailment can often urinate up to 30 liters a day. If diabetes insidious is not treated urgently it can cause severe dehydration and even cause coma due to the extreme amounts of salts being formed in their blood. Diabetes insipidus can usually be controlled by using medication, vasopressin hormone replacement and a strict low-salt diet.
Download your Free Nutrition and Diet e-books