Diabetes Mellitus – Causes and Treatment Options

Diabetes mellitus – who hasn’t heard of it? Indeed, diabetes mellitus (DM) seems to be a universal language for high blood sugar.

Millions of people are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, a fact that is indeed getting a lot of attention from health care experts all over the world. The complications of diabetes mellitus can, after all, cause serious health problems leading to death.

The General Classifications

Diabetes mellitus are generally of three types:

type 1 diabetes which is insulin-dependent or juvenile onset
type 2 diabetes which is non-insulin-dependent or adult onset
gestational diabetes which occurs during pregnancy

The Signs and Symptoms

Knowing the tell-tale signs of diabetes mellitus is important in order to be diagnosed and treated early. For type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the presenting signs and symptoms are basically the same:

increased urination
increased thirst
weight loss
feelings of hunger
blurred vision
nausea
fatigue

For gestational diabetes, though, it may be difficult to conclude because all these signs and symptoms can be easily mistaken as pregnancy-related. The best thing to find out is to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test — this is the most definitive test for gestational diabetes It’s usually conducted on the fifth month of pregnancy.

The Treatment Options

The treatment options for diabetes mellitus include eating the right diet, engaging in regular exercises, and medications. In milder cases of diabetes mellitus, eating the right foods and engaging in exercises are enough to keep the blood sugar levels down, but in more serious cases, diabetic medications have to be administered.

The right diet for diabetics includes starches in the form of whole grains, bread, cereals; fresh fruits and vegetables, some meat products, and just a little of fat and sweets. How much you need to eat of these, though, may depend on your body weight and other needs. It’s always best to consult a dietician to program a diabetic meal that is just right for you.

Exercise should be made part of any diabetic treatment plan. Exercise helps you to lose weight and keeps you generally healthy.

Type 1 diabetics most likely need insulin therapy, but type 2 diabetics may be able to manage their diabetes with oral medications. Insulin needs to be injected into the body, the reason why a lot of diabetics frown on the idea of insulin therapy. Insulin may be rapid-acting, intermediate-acting or long-acting.

Diabetic Emergencies and Complications

Managing diabetes mellitus is extremely important in order to prevent complications such as:

atherosclerotic heart disease
myocardial infarction
peripheral vascular disease
cerebrovascular disease
renal artery stenosis
diabetic retinopathy
diabetic nephropathy
peripheral neuropathy

At the same time, you may also want to prevent the likelihood of medical emergencies such as:

diabetic ketoacidosis which can cause coma and eventually death. Intensive care is essential
nonketotic hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar coma

Responsibilities of a Diabetic

As a diabetic you also need to do your share in the treatment, that means:

making regular visits to your diabetologist
constant monitoring of your blood sugar levels
observing yourself for anything that indicates an increase in your blood sugar levels and reporting the matter to your doctor
eating the right diet
doing daily or regular exercises
strictly taking your medications

With these tips, you should be able to cope well with diabetes mellitus.