What is Diabetes – Overview

Diabetes Definition & Quick facts

Diabetes is a variable carbohydrate metabolic disorder. It occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin in order to process glucose. It can also occur when there is inadequate utilization of the produced insulin. This leads to excess blood glucose and a host of complications.

Diabetes also occurs when there is a severe drop in the production of insulin due to a condition called the atrophy of the islet of Langerhans (cells in the pancreas).

The pancreas produces insulin. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose and are released into the blood stream. Insulin assists in the absorption of glucose into the cells of all the muscles and tissues of the body.   

Diabetes – a major healthcare burden

Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic condition and a non-communicable disease. It is a major healthcare burden for many countries and causes numerous complications that leads to hospitalizations, disabilities, and even death.

As a chronic metabolic disease, diabetes can affect anyone.  As of now, there is no cure for diabetes, and it is a condition one has to manage lifelong.

Improper management can reduce lifespan, create complications including eye disease leading to blindness, kidney disease leading to kidney failure, amputation of the feet, cardiovascular diseases, and a host of other conditions.

A report published by the WHO states that there are around 422 million adults with diabetes. These people are patients who have been diagnosed.  There are more people who remain undiagnosed.

The precursor to diabetes is prediabetes where a person has insulin resistance. This leads to the increasing presence of glucose in the blood. When the blood glucose level crosses a threshold, a person is a known diabetic.

Diabetes usually presents itself with symptoms like increased urination, increased thirst, slow healing of wounds, fatigue, and blurry vision.

The mainstay of diabetes treatment includes medications (oral/injections), diet modification, lifestyle modification, and physical exercise. People with diabetes have to undergo certain changes in lifestyle and get periodical diagnostic tests.