Diabetes: What is Diabetes? Type 1 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes?


Diabetes Overview

Seeking, what is Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus? Let’s get some interesting information regarding it here.

What is Diabetes?

It is a clinical syndrome having high blood sugar levels along with an extra amount of glucose present in urine. Since it is nothing but high blood glucose levels or high blood sugar levels, it is known as Hyperglycemia. There are many causes of Hyperglycemia, but main causes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. It can be caused due to lack of insulin or insulin resistance. Medically, it is referred as Diabetes Mellitus. Mainly diabetes is a metabolic disorder.

As per WHO (World Health Organization, in 1980, the number of people with diabetes was 108 million that has raised to 422 million in 2014. (Source: WHO)

Diabetes is a chronic disease (long standing disease). The pancreas is one of the body organs that produce Insulin. Insulin is one type of hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. It is mainly due to when there is insulin deficiency, means pancreas fails to produce enough insulin required for a body to maintain blood sugar levels or when the pancreas produces enough insulin but body fails to use that insulin produced by the pancreas. Lack of insulin affects the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that can lead to water and electrolyte imbalance. Long-standing diabetes can cause structural as well as functional changes in body organs such as eyes, kidney or nervous system of the body.

Worldwide types 2 patients are more common rather than type 1. Type 2 is mainly associated with obesity, unhealthy diet, lazy lifestyle and increasing urban craze.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Searching whether you are having normal blood sugar levels or having high blood sugar levels or low blood sugar levels? and for that, you must know the normal blood sugar levels.

Normal blood sugar levels for healthy individuals are:

  • Fasting blood glucose level ranges from 72 to 108 mg/dL
  • Two hours after eating blood glucose level should be up to 140 mg/dL
  • Random blood glucose level should be below 200 mg/dL

Normal blood sugar levels for diabetic patients are:

  • Before having meal, blood glucose level should be from 72 to 126 mg/dL for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • After having meal, blood glucose level should be below 162 mg/dL for type 1 and below 154 mg/dL for type 2 diabetes
  • Random blood glucose level should be 200 mg/dL or more

Types of Diabetes

They are mainly having two types: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 Diabetes

Previously, it was known as Insulin Depended Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). This is mainly due to insufficient production of Insulin required for a body to maintain blood glucose level by the pancreas. This type requires insulin from outside.

What causes Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. Hence, there is a destruction of beta cells in the pancreatic islets that are responsible for the production of insulin. This insulin deficiency causes high blood sugar levels in the body which end up with to diabetes.

It may be associated with other diseases that are autoimmune too, such as Thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, Coeliac disease or Vitiligo.

Some other causes for type 1 diabetes are:

  • Some hormones released due to stress may lead to type 1.
  • Diet and type 1 diabetes: Smoked and meat containing nitrosamines and coffee are toxins causing diabetes.
  • Some parents are found not giving breastfeeding to their baby in early infancy. There is bad news for them because if they are giving cow’s milk to their babies. Because cow’s milk has Bovine serum albumin (BSA) in it may cause type 1.
  • Viral infection to beta cells producing pancreas islets leads to type 1. This kind of viruses are mumps, rubella, Epstein-Barr virus, retroviruses, cytomegalovirus, etc.
  • Some studies have shown that in childhood if a child fails to get exposure to microorganisms, limits child body’s immune system to get developed. Thus it can increase the risk to autoimmune disease.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 symptoms may include:

  • Glycosuria (Excessive presence of sugar In the urine)
  • Weight Loss
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Polyuria (Excessive production of urine)
  • Infections
  • Nocturia (Excessive urination during night)

Type 2 Diabetes

Previously type 2 diabetes was known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes (NIDDM). In this type, a patient has the capacity to produce insulin required for the body. But body fails to use that insulin due to insulin resistance. This is the most common form in the world.

What causes Type 2 Diabetes?

It is a complex condition rather than type 1 due to relative insulin deficiency caused by resistance to insulin action and dysfunction of beta cells.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 symptoms are like that of type 1 such as:

  • Glycosuria (Excessive presence of sugar In the urine)
  • Weight Loss
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Polyuria (Excessive production of urine)
  • Infections
  • Nocturia (Excessive urination during night)

But type 2 may be associated with other conditions like hypertension, obesity, cholesterol imbalance due to raising bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) levels, reduced good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) levels due to insulin resistance.

Other types

  • Due to genetic defects
  • Gestational
  • Due to Pancreatic disease
  • Due to excessive hormones
  • Drug-induced such as phenytoin, corticosteroids, etc.
  • Due to viral infections such as mumps, rubella, etc.

Diagnosis of Diabetes

Various tests are listed here:

Urine test

Urine test includes investigation on a presence of glucose level, ketone bodies, and protein in the urine.

Blood test

Blood test measures presence of glucose levels in the blood. This method is cheap and more reliable.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

In oral glucose tolerance test, plasma glucose is measured. For that sample is taken before having 75-gram oral glucose drink and after 2 hours of taking it. But before giving sample you must keep some instructions in your mind. These instructions are:

  • You are strictly prohibited from having carbohydrates in your meal for 3 days before giving a sample.
  • You must be on fast for minimum 8 hours before testing.
  • Rest for at least 30 minutes before giving blood.
  • You must not smoke before or during a test.


Test HbA1c is the most commonly used method now a day and it gives a more reliable result because it measures average blood glucose levels of last three months.

Almost it is the most commonly used method now a day throughout the world and it gives a more reliable result because it measures average blood glucose levels of last three months.

How to control diabetes?

Mostly it can be controlled by proper diet and lifestyle modifications. Good control of diabetes may give a patient healthy and normal life. It can be controlled by:

Diet and Lifestyle modifications

  • This includes regular physical exercise, taking healthy diet, elimination of alcohol. More consumption of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Your healthy diet must contain 40% to 60% of carbohydrates, less than 35% of fat and 10% to 15% of protein.
  • Don’t forget to replace sugar diet with sugar-free diet.
  • Decrease the intake of salt in our diet. It should not exceed more than 6 grams/day.
  • Weight loss is the success key to fighting against it. It seems hard, right? But with proper diet management and regular physical exercises, you can easily reduce weight. It is advisable to do 30 minutes of exercise daily. This should include walking, cycling, gardening or swimming, etc.

Anti-diabetic drugs

Your physician may advise you to take anti-diabetic medicines. These medications include Biguanides, Meglitinides, Sulphonylureas, Thiazolidinediones, etc.

Insulin Therapy


It is said that “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Now you know how to beat it. Reducing weight is in your hand, it’s not a miracle kind of thing. So be active, do your regular physical activities and have a healthy and rich diet to keep diabetes away.

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