What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body is unable to breakdown glucose (sugar) into energy that is required by your body cells for survival. The food you eat is converted into glucose, which is further converted into energy by a hormone known as “insulin.” It means if a person has diabetes there is some problem with insulin production or its utilization.
In diabetes whether your body is not making enough insulin or not able to use it properly, glucose levels are going to increase in your blood. This leads to a condition known as hyperglycemia(hyper ~ high, glycemia ~ glucose).
What is the Role of Insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas (leaf shaped organ located behind the stomach). When you eat food, it is converted into glucose, which travels in your bloodstream (to gain entry into cells and to produce energy).
Sufficient amounts of insulin is required for the glucose to enter into your body cells. Without adequate amount of insulin, glucose levels increase in the bloodstream, leading to a condition known as diabetes.
What is Pre-Diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition that comes before type 2 diabetes. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal but aren’t high enough to be called diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
A large majority of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed due to lack of awareness and recognition of the symptoms.
Many of the diabetes symptoms appear during later stages of the disease. Therefore, if you feel any of the following symptoms, consult your physician immediately.
- Increased thirst and frequent urination: As excess glucose builds up in your bloodstream, water is pulled out from the tissues. This may make you unusually thirsty. As a result, you may drink and urinate more than usual
- Increased hunger: Without enough insulin to move glucose into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers hunger and increased cravings or hunger can be a sign of type 2 diabetes
- Weight loss: The cells in your body are deprived of energy. Due to the lack of glucose in the body cells, other body fuels such as fat is used to produce energy, and this results in loss of weight
- Fatigue: If your body cells are not getting enough glucose, they are deprived of energy, which results in fatigue
- Blurred vision: High blood glucose leads to swelling of eye lens and this may effect your vision
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections: Diabetes affects your ability to heal and resist infections
What is HbA1C test?
The hemoglobin (Hb)A1C test determines how your metabolism is working. A1C levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate that you have pre-diabetes.
What are the Different Types of Diabetes?
Defect in insulin leads to either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
- If your body is not making enough insulin, it leads to a condition called type 1 diabetes
- If your body is making insulin but not able to use it correctly, it leads to condition called type 2 diabetes
- Many women develop high blood glucose levels during their pregnancy. This is known as gestational diabetes
Last Reviewed on: July 26, 2014
Reviewed By: Dr. Kanchan Anand, MD (Nephrology and Internal Medicine)