WHAT IS DIABETES?

Diabetes mellitus is today, a very well known and common disease-where there is increased glucose or sugar level in the blood despite this the body cells cannot utilize the glucose. This disease is mainly due to deficiency of a chemical called Insulin- which is released in the blood by the pancreas.

      Diabetes mellitus (also known as hyperglycemia, high sugar, high glucose, madhumeha, glucose intolerance) literally means “sweet urine” – as it was found that diabetes patients often have more amount of sugar in the urine. When it occurs with high blood pressure and obesity this disease is also called “metabolic syndrome”. This disease is called Mellitus — to distinguish it from a rare disease called diabetes insipidus-where there is excess urine formation but there is no glucose or sugar in the urine. Since out of the two diabetes mellitus is very common-the disease is casually referred to as “diabetes”.

Diabetes is a disease where most of the patients do not complain of any immediate symptoms but the blood sugar being high this disease silently damages almost all the major organs of the body including the heart and kidney. So it is called a silent killer.

   This disease is a chronic disease-where people live with the disease for years, sometimes thirty-forty years. It does not harm so much if the patients take good care and keep the blood glucose under control. In most cases, only a careful diet can control the disease-but with a fair amount of exercise, stress management, yoga and education most of the patients can have a disease-free state for a long time. Though plenty of medicines for diabetes are available in the market- many of them are not needed if people take adequate care with proper education about this disease and good follow-up.

    In some cases, good control can only be achieved with a combination of drugs and lifestyle changes and thereby the patients can remain healthy. In 10-15% of advanced cases and cases of young diabetes injections of insulin can also be recommended if all the other measures fail to keep the blood sugar level under control.