It refers to a group of diseases that affect the way the body uses glucose in the blood. We know that glucose is an important source of energy in muscle and tissue cells and is fuel for the brain. The types of chronic Diabetes are type 1 DM and type 2 DM. The potentially reversible ones are Prediabetes with diet and exercise also pregnancy Diabetes that can be resolved after giving birth.
Some signs and symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus are increased thirst, urinating too often, excessive hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, wounds that take time to heal, frequent infections, and weight loss for no apparent reason. Type 1 DM usually appears in childhood or adolescence. Type 2 DM is the most common and can appear at any age, but is more common after 40.
The Pancreas is the organ that is responsible for sending insulin, which is a hormone, to the blood so that the sugar enters the cells. If the Pancreas decreases its production of insulin, the sugar begins to rise in the blood, becoming a metabolic problem that is Diabetes Mellitus.
Risk factors for type 1 DM include the presence of cells of the immune system that cause autoantibodies that attack the production of insulin by the pancreas. Although the exact cause is not known, environmental factors and family history are also included. However, in type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, the factors that increase the risk are evident. Obesity, inactivity, family history, race or ethnic group such as African Americans, Hispanics, Native American Indians and Asian Americans are at higher risk, age (the older the higher the risk), high cholesterol and triglycerides, among others .
Long-term complications include: cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke that can lead to fatal sequelae such as Congestive Heart Failure and Hemiplegia (lack of mobility on one side of the body). A complication that is occurring more and more frequently is Peripheral Neuropathy, which is tingling, numbness of the legs or arms, burning or pain in the extremities. Nephropathy or kidney failure is also a major complication because diabetes affects the kidney’s filtering system of toxins from the blood and leads to hemodialysis or kidney transplantation. Diabetic retinopathy affects the retina and is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Circulatory disorders of the feet can lead to amputations and serious infections. Skin diseases are also more common in diabetics like bacteria and also fungi.
Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus cannot be prevented, but type 2 DM if choosing healthy foods, rich in fiber, low in fat and reducing the number of calories, doing more physical activity at least 30 minutes three to four times a week, lower the excess weight and obesity.
Today we have an excellent tool to monitor our progress in Diabetes Mellitus and it is the A1c. The normal A1c is less than 5.6%, from 5.7% to 6.4% is Prediabetes and greater than 6.5% indicates Diabetes Mellitus. The A1c is a blood test that gives us an average of how much sugar the patient had in his blood in the last three months. If you are diabetic and want to be controlled your A1c should be less than 7.0% when your doctor examines you. The higher the number, the more severe the complications will be and the more quickly they will come into your life.
Diabetes Mellitus is a serious disease that weighs heavily on the quality of life of our patients.