Diabetes Mellitus: Symptoms | Causes | Prevention

Diabetes Mellitus: Symptoms | Causes | Prevention

Diabetes Mellitus is a metabolic disease that causes a high level of glucose in your blood. Your body gains glucose from the food you eat and convert it into energy. When you don’t work out your glucose start accumulating in your blood. 

Normally, a hormone ‘insulin’ that releases from the pancreas helps glucose to enter the cells and convert into energy. But in type 1 diabetes your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin and without it, glucose stays in your blood. 

When your body is secreting the proper amount of insulin but the receptor is not able to use it then it leads to insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. 90 to 95% person of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes as stated by Center of Disease Control and Prevention.

Diabetes is first identified as sweet urine because of the sugar level increase in the blood and it appears in the urine. Diabetes is a chronic condition although it can be controlled.

Symptoms of diabetes mellitus

Symptoms of both types of diabetes are as follows:

  • Increased urine output causes dehydration 
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue 
  • Skin problem 
  • Nausea and vomiting also occur in the untreated diabetic person
  • Slow-healing wounds 
  • Depression 
  • Skin problems such as bacterial and fungal infections 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Extreme hunger 

Causes of diabetes 

Insufficient production of insulin relative to the body’s needs or inability of cells to utilize insulin causes increase sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. 

The immune system due to some issues or mistakenly starts fighting against its cells that are; insulin providing beta cells. The immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas and insulin level falls. 

You can get type 1 diabetes since childhood because you carry some defective genes. The inability of cells of muscles and tissue to use insulin leads to insulin resistance. This is the primary problem in type 2 diabetes. 

In this condition, there is a steady decline in beta cells because the pancreas continues to secrete insulin to overcome insulin resistance. 

According to National Institute of Health, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases if you have the following conditions:

  • Older than 45 years 
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Overweight 
  • Have prediabetes 
  • Have high cholesterol level 
  • Have high blood pressure 

Complications of diabetes 

Diabetes mellitus is strongly related to blood vessel diseases. This is generally classified as small vessel diseases include nerves, kidney, eyes and large vessel diseases include heart, brain, blood vessels. The brief explanation of these complications are as follows:

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetes type 1 causes retinopathy in which the small blood vessels behind the eye release protein and blood. The vessels become brittle and form a small aneurysm. The brittle blood vessels cause a spontaneous leak of blood which leads to retinal detachment and scarring. 

Most of the patients develop this after 10 years of diabetes and others with 15 years of diabetes. The treatment of retinal detachment includes a laser, that attaches the layer of the retina with other layers of the eye.


diabetes mellitus

Cataract and glaucoma are also very common in patients with type 1 diabetes. The lens of the eye receives oxygen from the aqueous humor, which is the fluids present in the back chamber of the eye. When your blood sugar level increases your lens swells and can’t receive oxygen. As a result, blurry vision is very common in uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. 

Diabetic nephropathy 

The increased sugar level damages the nephrons in the kidney and leak the protein in the urine. This happens in the initial stages and later kidney fails to clean and filter the blood and leads to the condition of dialysis. The nephropathy can be controlled by lowering the blood pressure. ACE inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker used in lowering blood pressure are also helpful in patients with kidney disease with diabetes.

Diabetic neuropathy

diabetes mellitus

The increased blood glucose level decreases the blood supply to nerves which causes nerve damage and eventually death of nerve cells. Symptoms of diabetic nerve damage include numbness, aching in lower extremities and, burning sensations. 

When nerve damage causes a complete loss of sensation then a person cannot sense any injury and fail to protect it. Diabetic nerve damage can also lead to erectile dysfunction. Diabetic neuropathy also affects the nerves supplying the stomach and intestines showing symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss. 

The pain feels in diabetic nerve damage can be treated by different medications such as phenytoin, gabapentin, and carbamazepine. 

Other complications of diabetes include:

  • Dementia
  • Hearing loss
  • Heart attack, strokes 
  • Foot damage 
  • Depression 

Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus

One who has the symptoms of diabetes should be tested for a clear diagnosis. Following test are performed to check prediabetes and diabetes:

  • Fasting plasma glucose test measures your blood sugar level after eight hours of fasting 
  • A1C test provides you a record of your blood sugar level for the previous three months.
  • Glucose tolerance test is the standard test for measuring glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.
  • According to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and kidney diseases, measuring the level of hemoglobin H1c is a very effective method to check sugar in the bloodstream. Sugar sticks with the protein similarly when sugar level increases it sticks with the hemoglobin and form glycosylated hemoglobin or hemoglobin H1c. 

The percentage of Hb1c gives an estimate of the mean blood sugar level. Following is the correlation between Hb1c and mean blood sugar level.

Treatment of diabetes 

There are many different types of medication use in the treatment of diabetes some of them are taken orally and some are injected intravenously. Type 1 diabetes is mainly treated by insulin, the artificial insulin replaces the insulin of your body. There are many different types of insulin according to your body’s needs. 

Type 2 diabetes can be control by changing diet and doing exercise but it is not enough to control the sugar level. Therefore, you have to take proper medications.

Prevention of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is not preventable because it is an autoimmune disease but type 2 diabetes is preventable just by changing your lifestyle a little bit.

  • Give 30 minutes daily to aerobic exercises such as walking and cycling.
  • Do not take a saturated carbohydrate or high carbohydrate diet.
  • Eat more fruits vegetables and whole grains.
  • Try to lose 5 percent of your weight if you are overweight.


The prevention can save you from complications of diabetes mellitus but it is not very useful in lowering the blood sugar level. Therefore, you have to take proper medications for it. Discuss your potential risk and symptoms with your health care provider, perform the diagnostic tests, and follow the advice for managing your blood sugar level.


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