Body: Diabetes Mellitus

   Diabetes Mellitus is a disease resulting from the body’s inability to make use of glucose (the body’s main energy source) circulating in the bloodstream because the pancreas in either unable to produce sufficient insulin, or the body is resistant to it.

The disease is one of the most common long term conditions in the U.K. affecting 4 in every 100 people and more women than men. It is estimated that there are at least half a million undiagnosed diabetics in the country and this figure is on the increase.

In Diabetes Mellitus, the body’s inability to use insulin leads cells to use other sources of energy causes an accumulation of by products which are harmful to the body. Unused glucose builds up in the blood and urine, causing increased passing of urine, excessive thirst and tiredness. If the condition is not treated, it can damage the heart, kidneys, eyes and other organs.

The condition is diagnosed using blood and urine tests. The condition can be either Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes (IDDM) or Type 2, non-insulin-dependent diabetes (NIDDM).

Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce sufficient insulin and usually occurs in childhood or adolescence. Although it is important to control carbohydrates in the diets, this condition can only be treated with regular insulin injections. There are approximately 370,000 people in the U.K. affected by this disease.

Type 2 Diabetes
This is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for at least 75% of all cases. It is most common is people over the age of 40, but with increasing obesity at a younger age, it can now affect children. With this type of diabetes, the pancreas continues secreting insulin, but the cells in the body become resistant to its effects. Approximately 1 in 3 people with this type of diabetes has a relative with the same type of diabetes. It is considered to be a disease of the affluent, but the prevalence of diabetes is growing in some developing countries.

Diabetes Mellitus occurring in pregnancy is called gestational diabetes and may require treatment with insulin to maintain the health of the mother and baby. This type of diabetes usually resolves following childbirth, however women affected by it are more likely to have Type 2 Diabetes in later life.

The main symptoms of the condition are as follows:
Excessive passing of urine.
Thirst and a dry mouth.
Insufficient sleep because of the need to pass urine at night.
Lack of energy.
Blurred vision.

Management of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by maintaining a sensible weight, eating a healthy low fat diet and taking regular exercise. The diet should be low in saturated fat and low in simple sugars such a sugar and sweets, low nutrient highly processed foods. The diet should include complex carbohydrates, fibre, fruit and vegetables protein and essential fatty acids. It is important to maintain blood sugar levels by eating regular small to medium-sized meals and snacks including plenty of low glycaemic foods such as pulses, oats and fruits which are high in soluble fibre which will also assist in keeping cholesterol low. It also helps to increase intakes of antioxidants zinc and garlic as well as water and fluids.

(source: ©

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