A Short Guide To Diabetes Mellitus | People Magazine

A Short Guide To Diabetes Mellitus

Sometimes, something painfully common may need a healthy dose of awareness, too. You see, we as people tend to ignore until it may be too late to faithfully deal with a problem effectively. It is unfortunate that we may continue with a detrimental habit or lifestyle, clearly injurious, to such a point that it may have grave repercussions for not only our physical health, but our mental health, too. Diabetes, in all its guises, may be extremely common (especially to an overworked population sometimes reliant on processed and fast foods), but the correct education remains amiss.


In recognition of World Diabetes Day we thought it best to run through a couple of basics of the illness. This is by no means an exhaustive source of information, nor is it a through-and-through medical journal on Diabetes, but it should shed light on a few issues associated with the disorder. It is basic in its very nature and it should not serve as a comprehensive, educative piece, but it should make those that suspect they have any one of the various types of the illness a little more informed. For more information on the day itself, visit the World Diabetes Day webpage.

There are two types of the metabolic disorder known medically as diabetes mellitus – as most would know. They are simply classified as Type I and Type II. In both cases the body battles to regulate the amount of glucose, or sugar, travelling through veins and arteries to the correct destination like the liver, for example. The blood glucose level (BGL) then rises. The liver’s responsibility is to store glucose when we’re not eating to grant us energy to go about our activities. The correct amount of the hormone, insulin is needed to regulate this; in a diabetic, not enough insulin is produced to remove excess glucose from their blood.


Sufferers therefore have high blood sugar levels for prolonged periods of time. It may explain why diabetics often suffer severe fatigue if their BGL is left untreated. This often leads to a few immediate symptoms like frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger. Short term symptoms can include can diabetic ketoacidosis, a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state or death. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers and damage to the eyes can develop over the medium to long term should the illness be left untreated.

While Type I and Type II diabetes may share similar causes and symptoms, they vary, too and their onset or origin of the illness is vastly different. The former is also usually classified as being insulin resistant and the latter insulin dependent. While both can have dire consequences if left to develop without treatment is can be said that those with Type I typically have a tougher time in dealing with their illness. The main difference is that those with Type I fail to produce insulin whatsoever and those suffering Type II can produce some insulin, but fails to produce the amount that the body needs.

What’s The Difference?

According to Ethos Health there are a few, simple differences that is typically associate with each variant of diabetes. They measure it as such:

Type 1 Diabetes:

  • Usually starts in children and young people under the age of 30
  • Comes on quite quickly
  • The persons own immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that makes the insulin
  • Cannot make insulin and need to have insulin injections right from the start.

Type 2 Diabetes:

  • Usually develops in older people
  • Begins gradually
  • Some insulin is still produced, but it does not work properly, known as insulin resistance
  • Managed by diet and exercise and some people may need tablets or insulin as diabetes progresses.

In terms of onset, one can therefore say that Type I is a hereditary or genetic disorder and Type II develops as a person grows older or if certain bad habits are sustained.

Causes & Symptoms


Type 1 Diabetes:

Causes: The causes for Type I are relatively unknown, but most medical professionals agree that the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Other causes may include.

  • Genetics
  • Exposure to viruses and other environmental factors


  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bed-wetting in children who previously didn’t wet the bed during the night
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurred vision

Type 2 Diabetes:

Causes: Type II diabetes usually develops in older people as the body starts resisting insulin production. There is also an alarming rise in the prevalence among children due to the increasing rates of child obesity. Genetics and environmental factors, just like Type I, can be contributing factors. Inactivity, obesity and a poor diet can be a major developing factor(s).

Common symptoms include, but is not limited to:

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic also listed the following as major risk factors in the development of Type II diabetes. Why these factors seem to contribute to the development of the illness is not exactly known.


  • Being overweight is a primary risk factor for Type II diabetes. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin. However, you don’t have to be overweight to develop Type II diabetes.
  • Fat distribution. If your body stores fat primarily in your abdomen, your risk of Type II diabetes is greater than if your body stores fat elsewhere, such as your hips and thighs.
  • The less active you are, the greater your risk of Type II diabetes. Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history. The risk of Type II diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has Type II diabetes.
  • Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races — including Africans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop Type II diabetes than whites are.
  • The risk of Type II diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 45. That’s probably because people tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as they age. But Type II diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
  • Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to Type II diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing Type II diabetes increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more four kilograms, you’re also at risk of Type II diabetes.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovarian syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.


Both Type I and Type II diabetes have overlapping treatment procedures like carbohydrate, fat and protein counting, healthy eating, physical activity and blood sugar monitoring. Type I, however, will require a patient to frequently monitor their blood sugar. It is also essential for someone with Type I diabetes to make use of insulin therapy because their pancreas does not produce any of it at all. Some patients suffering from Type II can make do without some form of insulin therapy if they follow a strict dietary plan and if they exercise regularly. Any person with Type I diabetes will have to be on a life-long insulin therapy treatment plan. Symptoms for those with Type II can be alleviated should they eat healthily and lose weight. There have also been cases that those suffering from Type II for only a short span of time saw their illness reverse itself completely after following a healthy lifestyle.

For more information visit World Diabetes Day.



Robert is a descendant of the stout Macpherson Clan out of the Scottish Highlands and can claim Robert the Bruce as a far-off cousin. He suffers from a severe form of Collectors’ Disease and sports an assortment of small valuable curious. In his spare time he works a full-time job, but his real prowess lies within his musical aptitude as a drummer. He is a semi-amateur of the instrument and although he claims beating a drumhead one of the more primal sensations man can experience, he feels it to be an unnatural exercise to pursue. If he could have his way, he’d have breakfast every meal of the day and is a fan of all things Roald Dahl.

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