What is diabetes? – Definition, types, causes, symptoms and treatment

What is Diabetes?

The the food which we eat is converted into glucose by the body to be used as energy. To enable the body tissues to take up the glucose from the blood, pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin.

Diabetes, often referred to as diabetes mellitus by doctors, is a metabolic condition characterized by the increased blood sugar levels (high blood glucose) in the body. This can be due to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or the cells in the body do not respond to the insulin the way it is supposed to be.

Symptoms of Diabetes

symptoms of diabetes

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyphagia (hunger cravings)
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Eye complications like glaucoma and cataract
  • Skin infections
  • Heart problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Male impotency (erectile dysfunction)
  • Gum problems
  • Problems with wound healing

Types of Diabetes:

1. Type-I diabetes:

In this type the body do not produce insulin or very little insulin is produced. In this type immune system attacks the beta cells of the pancreas and kills them. This raises the blood sugar levels.

This is not very common and is only faced by 10% of the total population. Type-1 diabetes is treated with insulin and the people suffering from this have to take insulin injections for the rest of their lives.

Type-1 diabetes usually develops in adolescence or childhood but can also develop in the adulthood stage.

2. Type-II diabetes:

This is the most common type which affects approximately 90% people all over the world.

In Type-II diabetes body do not produce enough insulin or is unable to appropriately use the insulin which is released in the blood ( which is also termed as insulin resistance).

This leads to increased blood sugar levels. Type-II diabetes generally develops in adulthood but it can also affect children.

People who are obese and have high visceral fat are at a much higher risk of developing type-II diabetes as compared to the people who have healthy body weight. Type-II can be managed by physical exercise and proper meal planning.

3. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is temporary and it develops in females during pregnancy. This can be controlled with physical activity and proper diet. If left undiagnosed it results in complications during childbirth and may also raise the probability of developing diabetes in both mother and child.

Causes of Diabetes:

Diabetes is caused due to high sugar levels in the body which can be due to a number of reasons for example: high sugar intake.

When you eat food which do not have fiber (i.e. simple carbohydrates) spikes your blood sugar levels. To bring down the glucose levels in the blood pancreas have to produce that much amount of insulin which puts a lot of stress on it.

This in the long run creates the problem of insulin resistance which will make you prediabetic and ultimately leads to diabetes.


It means that you have blood sugar levels which are higher than the normal levels but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type-II diabetes.

People who are prediabetic are very likely to develop type-II diabetes if necessary steps are not taken. If you are suffering from prediabetes then the damage to your heart, blood vessels and kidneys may have already begun.

Dangers of diabetes:

Now-a-days people are getting affected with diabetes at a very early age. People even below 30 or 35 have diabetes which is very dangerous.

This will create problems not only for you but also for your next generation. If you have diabetes then your children, when they are born will also be diabetic.

How to control or prevent diabetes:

Medication is not the treatment for diabetes. The only way to control and prevent diabetes is regular physical exercise and proper diet plan.

1. It is very important to burn that excess sugar content in the body by doing regular physical exercise. Exercise helps to burn the excess amount of sugar stored in the body.

2. Reduce the sugar intake in your diet.

3. Reduce the intake of white rice as has a high in GI rating.

4. Avoid white flour (maida), white pasta, white bread as they are all simple carbohydrates without any fiber content so they will spike the insulin levels.

5. Avoid all processed foods like sodas, chips, crackers, cookies, packed juice etc.

6. Eat food which have fiber content.

7. Eat whole wheat flour

8. Use natural sugar and totally avoid artificial or synthetic sugars

Blood tests for diabetes: Type-I, Type-II and Prediabetes

1. Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test

It indicates the average blood sugar levels for the past 2-3 months. It determines the percentage of blood sugar attached to the hemoglobin. If you have high blood sugar levels then you will have more hemoglobin attached to the sugar.

  • less than 5.7% is normal
  • between 5.7%-6.4% means that you have prediabetes
  • 6.5% or more means you have diabetes

2. Random blood sugar test

In this test blood sample will be taken at any random time.

  • higher than 200 mg/dL means diabetes

3. Fasting blood sugar test (FPG)

In this test the blood sample will be taken after an overnight fast.

  • less than 100 mg/dL is normal
  • between 100 mg/dL – 125 gm/dL means prediabetes
  • 126 mg/dL or higher means diabetes

4. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

In this test fasting blood sugar level is measured after an overnight fast. After that you drink a sugary liquid, and blood sugar levels are tested periodically for the next two hours.

  • less than 140 mg/dL is normal
  • between 140 mg/dL – 200mg/dL means prediabetes
  • 200 mg/dL or higher means diabetes

1 thought on “What is diabetes? – Definition, types, causes, symptoms and treatment

  1. Faulty life style, lack of exercise and man made environment makes our immune system weak and also make our life hell !!

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