What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus (DM), often referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic disorders associated with abnormally high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It’s due to either the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin produced. There are three main types of DM:
Type 1 DM – Also known as insulin-dependent DM or juvenile diabetes, the body does not produce insulin from pancreas as your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1 and people with it need to take insulin everyday to stay alive.
Type 2 DM – Also referred to as non-insulin dependent DM or adult-onset diabetes, a condition in which cells fail to respond to insulin properly (insulin resistance) or the body does not make enough insulin. Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are type 2.
Gestational diabetes – Occurs temporarily during pregnancy to some women, due to high levels of glucose in their blood and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin to transport them into cells. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born.
what causes diabetes mellitus?
The chances of developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors. For example, have a family history of diabetes, lack of physical exercises, overweight and obesity, and certain health conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some key facts from World Health Organization(WHO):
The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
In 2015, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012.
Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
The global diabetes rate is expected to grow to 552 million by 2030, or 9.9% of the adult population. WHO projects that diabetes will the seventh leading cause of death in 2030.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin is basically a storage hormone that drives sugar into the cell to be utilized or stored as fat, our body responds to increasing blood sugar levels by producing more insulin from the pancreas in order to control our blood sugars. Several theories suggest reasons why we become less and less sensitive to insulin, is it believed insulin resistance is the result of unhealthy diet with high fast-releasing carbohydrates.
Many people don’t realize is that carbohydrates are simply long chains of sugar that the body absorbs at various rate. Modern diet contains far too many fast-releasing carbs such as white bread, white flour, pasta, and rice, which causes blood sugars to rise rapidly and stimulates the release of insulin. When our blood sugar drops, we feel hungry. And the whole process starts all over again after we eat a big meal. After a period of time, the release of insulin has been overstimulated so often that our bodies simply become less and less sensitive to it. In order for the body to control the blood sugar levels, the pancreas needs to put out higher level of insulin, which might cause the destructive metabolic changes associated with symptoms that develop diabetes mellitus.
Treatment for diabetes mellitus
Doctors have over depended on medication to treat diabetes. Most physicians would agree that diet and exercise can help patients with diabetes, but we simply do not invest enough time to educate and motivate patients in making key changes in exercise and nutrition. Diabetes would be so much better controlled if we did not depend so heavily on medications.
Many people don’t realize how lifestyle changes are for treating the fundamental problems in both diabetes and insulin resistance – modest exercise, avoid spiking the blood sugar with fast carbs, and taking nutritional supplements to improve sensitivity of insulin.
Studies show that exercise makes patients significantly more sensitive to their own insulin. The exercise program should include a balance of aerobic and weight-resistance exercise done at least three times per week. It is important that people get involved in an exercise program that they enjoy, even a thirty- to forty-minute walk three times weekly makes a tremendous difference.
Follow a healthy diet, get the best protein and fats from vegetables (avocados, olive oil, nuts, beans, and soy) and cold-water fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines). The best carbohydrates come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid all processed foods. Whole grains are essential, and avoiding processed grains is critical in developing a healthy diet for everyone, especially the diabetic. It is also important that a diabetic take a good mixture of antioxidants in supplementation at optimal levels. Several studies have shown that all antioxidants may improve insulin resistance, and several micronutrients are normally deficient in patients with diabetes such as chromium, vitamin E, Magnesium and vanadium.