About diabetes

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Diabetes is a disorder in which blood sugar or blood glucose levels are extremely elevated over a prolonged period of time. Blood sugar is created by the food the patient consumes, while insulin is a key hormone that allows glucose to reach the body cells and supply energy. There are two primary types of type I diabetes and type II diabetes (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Precisely, Type I exists due to the inability of the pancreas to develop sufficient insulin. It is commonly referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. On the other hand, Type II diabetes starts with the resistance of insulin, a disorder where the body cells are unable to react to insulin appropriately. As the condition develops, deficient of insulin may also occur (Levesque, 2013). It is commonly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. The third type of diabetes is referred to as gestational diabetes, which takes places when pregnant women have high levels of blood sugar (Colwell, 2012).

Statistics in 2015 indicated that approximately 415 million individuals across the globe are suffering from the disease. Moreover, Type II diabetes has the highest prevalence since it occupies nearly 90 per cent of all cases (Levesque, 2013). Similarly, about 8.3 per cent of all adults are victims of diabetes. Research has noted that cases of diabetes continue to rise each year. More importantly, the disease increases the risk of an individual to die prematurely. Approximately 5 million people lose their lives each year due to diabetes. The world also loses nearly $612 billion because of economic cost (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012).

Studies have highlighted that there is a wide range of factors that cause diabetes. For instance, Type I diabetes features the damage of beta cells which helps to produce insulin in the pancreatic islets causing insulin deficit (Holt, et al, (Eds.). (2017). It also occurs when the immune system (T-cells) attacks and damages these cells hence the inability to generate required levels of insulin (Levesque, 2013). Type I diabetes leads to nearly 10 per cent of all cases of diabetes in Europe and the US. In addition, it can affect both adults and children although it is more prevalent among children hence the term ‘juvenile diabetes”. Hereditary factors can also be a source of Type I diabetes hence some people inherit it from their parents (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). However, environmental factors such as diet or viral infection can trigger the commencement of this type of diabetes to genetically susceptible individuals.

Type II diabetes is mainly caused by insulin resistance and poor insulin secretion. The faulty receptiveness of body tissues to this hormone involves of insulin receptor. Nonetheless, research has not established the exact defect in the insulin receptor (Holt, et al, (Eds.). (2017). Type II diabetes is the most prevalent type of diabetes across the globe. In the initial stages of the disease, the major abnormality minimizes sensitivity to insulin (Levesque, 2013). At this point, high glucose level can be preserved through differed kinds of medications and measures intended to enhance the sensitivity of insulin or minimize the production of blood sugar by the liver. Moreover, the disease is mainly caused by genetics and lifestyle factors. For instance, lifestyle conditions are key issues that predispose an individual to Type II diabetes including, poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, urbanization and stress (Colwell, 2012). Additionally, surplus body fat is linked to about 30 per cent of all cases in East Asian countries, 70 per cent of infected individuals of African and European descent and 100 per cent of Pacific Islanders and Pima Indians. Meanwhile, dietary factors contribute to high risk of a person developing the disease (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). For instance, drinking products with excess levels of sugar are related to a higher risk of Type II diabetes. Various studies have confirmed that the kind of fats in the diet is also vital, with Trans fats and saturated fat raising the risk while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are reducing the threat to diabetes. Prolonged consumption of white rice stimulates threat to this disorder. Finally, people with minimum physical exercise have about 7 per cent risk of developing the disease (Goldstein, et al, (Eds.). 2016).

Gestational diabetes is similar to Type II diabetes in various ways such as poor responsiveness of insulin receptors and insufficient secretion of insulin. It affects about 6 per cent of all pregnant mothers and may vanish after delivery. Nevertheless, after pregnancy, about 5-10 per cent of mothers with gestational diabetes progresses to Type II diabetes (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Unlike type I and II diabetes, gestational diabetes is completely treatable although it needs cautious medical supervision during the pregnancy. Some of the management practices include blood sugar assessment and dietary changes as well as use of insulin. In some cases, when it is untreated, it can affect the health of the mother or foetus (Colwell, 2012). For instance, a baby may be exposed to high birth weight, malformations of the skeletal muscles, CNS abnormalities and congenital heart problems (Levesque, 2013). In serious cases, gestational diabetes may cause perinatal death because of deprived placental perfusion.

Diabetes manifests with a broad range of signs and symptoms. Some of these include increased hunger (polyphagia), increased thirst (polydipsia), increased urination (polyuria) and weight loss. In Type II diabetes, the symptoms develop slowly as compared to type I diabetes. Other symptoms of the disease include itchy skin, fatigue, headache, and blurry vision (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Additionally, a patient may indicate prolonged healing of wounds. Diabetes can lead to serious complications if medical interventions are not initiated on time. For instance, it can destroy the nerves, kidney, and eyes (Colwell, 2012). Furthermore, it can cause stroke, heart disease, and removal of limbs. Besides, other complications are associated to the destruction of the blood vessels (Levesque, 2013). Indeed, it increases the threat of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and coronary artery diseases.

Moreover, due to the destruction of vital blood vessels, diabetes can harm the nerves, kidneys, and eyes. Consequently, it can promote blindness, vision loss, kidney failure, and numbness. Similarly, it can raise the risk of skin problems because of changed pain feeling (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Diabetes also promotes development of foot ulcers, which are challenging to treat and sometimes cause amputation.

Diagnosis of diabetes is conducted through various processes including assessment of fasting level of plasma sugar, and glucose tolerance tests. Moreover, it can be diagnosed through monitoring the symptoms of causal plasma sugar and high blood glucose as well as glycated haemoglobin (Levesque, 2013). The nonappearance of clear high blood glucose must be ascertained through repetition of other techniques on another day. Precisely, double fasting blood sugar measurement that exceeds 7.0 mmol/l is believed to be the pointer for diabetes mellitus (Goldstein, et al, (Eds.). 2016).

Since diabetes is a chronic disease, it is important to pay close attention to the prevention mechanism, especially for Type II diabetes. Researchers have noted that Type I diabetes has no recognized preventive mechanism (Holt, et al, (Eds.). (2017). Fortunately, Type II diabetes can be prevented through various ways such as intake of healthy diets, participating in physical exercises and maintenance of healthy body weight. For instance, engaging in intensive physical activity for over 90 minutes every day minimize the likelihood of diabetes by about 28 per cent (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Furthermore, individual should also consume diets with high content of fibre, whole grains, and better fats such as the fish, vegetable oil and in nuts. Similarly, they should reduce beverages with high levels of sugar as well as reducing consumption of red meat because it has excessive content of saturated fats. More importantly, avoiding tobacco smoke is an effective way to prevent diabetes since tobacco smoking is highly linked to this disorder and its complications (Levesque, 2013).

Patients suffering from this condition require proper management of the disease since there is no known treatment. The management of diabetes focus on maintaining levels of blood glucose close to desired levels avoiding low blood glucose levels (Colwell, 2012). It is normally achieved with weight loss, exercise, healthy diet and proper utilization of medications, especially oral medications in type II and insulin administration in Type I. Moreover, patients are advised to adhere to the treatment because it can play a central part in reducing cases of complications (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). Management also concentrates on elimination of other health issues that may stimulate the adverse impacts of this condition.


Diabetes is a chronic condition, which leads to high levels of blood glucose. Type I and II diabetes are the most common types although gestational diabetes affects mothers during pregnancy. Precisely, Type I diabetes occur when the immune system in the body attacks and damages the pancreatic cells which are responsible for the production of insulin (Shaw & Cummings, (Eds.) 2012). It frequently found in children. On the other hand, Type II diabetes is more prevalent in adults, and it takes place when the pancreas fails to generate adequate insulin or when the cells are unable to respond to the insulin produced. Some of the symptoms of this disease include blurred vision, weight loss, frequent urination and getting thirsty (Levesque, 2013). It can be managed through balanced diet, high rate of exercise, medication and weight control.

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Colwell, J. A. (2012). Atlas of Diabetes. JAMA, 308(10), 1042-1042.

Goldstein, B. J., & Müller-Wieland, D. (Eds.). (2016). Type 2 diabetes: principles and practice. CRC Press.

Holt, R. I., Cockram, C., Flyvbjerg, A., & Goldstein, B. J. (Eds.). (2017). Textbook of diabetes. John Wiley & Sons.

Levesque, C. M. (2013). Diabetes, An Issue of Critical Care Nursing Clinics, E-Book (Vol. 25, No. 1). Elsevier Health Sciences.

Shaw, K. M., & Cummings, M. H. (Eds.). (2012). Diabetes chronic complications. John Wiley & Sons.

July 24, 2021



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