Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. The hormone insulin moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it does make.
Untreated high blood sugar from diabetes can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
There are a few different types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The immune system attacks and destroys cells in the pancreas, where insulin is made. It’s unclear what causes this attack. About 10 percent of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body becomes resistant to insulin, and sugar builds up in your blood.
- Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar is higher than normal, but it’s not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar during pregnancy. Insulin-blocking hormones produced by the placenta cause this type of diabetes.
A rare condition called diabetes insipidus is not related to diabetes mellitus, although it has a similar name. It’s a different condition in which your kidneys remove too much fluid from your body.
Complications associated with diabetes include:
- heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
- retinopathy and vision loss
- hearing loss
- foot damage such as infections and sores that don’t heal
- skin conditions such as bacterial and fungal infections
Treatment of Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
Insulin is the main treatment for type 1 diabetes. It replaces the hormone your body isn’t able to produce.
- Rapid-acting insulin starts to work within 15 minutes and its effects last for 3 to 4 hours.
- Short-acting insulin starts to work within 30 minutes and lasts 6 to 8 hours
Type II Diabetes
Diet and exercise can help some people manage type 2 diabetes. If lifestyle changes aren’t enough to lower your blood sugar, you’ll need to take medication.
You’ll need to monitor your blood sugar level several times a day during pregnancy. If it’s high, dietary changes and exercise may or may not be enough to bring it down.