Diabetes mellitus is a hormonal disorder which is characterized by high blood sugar levels due to no or insufficient production of insulin or due to unresponsiveness of the body cells to insulin. Diabetes causes symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger.
Facts About Diabetes
There are three main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by failure of the body to produce insulin. This type of diabetes is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes or early onset diabetes. These people usually develop diabetes before the age of 40 years old. These patients need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes patients do not produce enough insulin to meet the needs of the body because the cells in the body do not react to insulin very well. Most of these people are overweight so that they are able to control their blood sugar well by losing weight, following a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise and monitoring their blood glucose levels. Being overweight or obese can cause the body to release chemicals that disrupt the normal physiological process of the body including blood glucose control mechanisms. The risk for Type 2 diabetes also increases as we get older due to excess weight and less physical activity as we age. Another type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which typically affects females during pregnancy. These pregnant women have high levels of blood sugar in their bodies because they are unable to produce insulin to facilitate the transport of glucose into cells.
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Diabetes is known as a metabolic disorder because it affects how the body utilizes digested food for growth and energy. The food that we eat is broken down into glucose once inside the body and this glucose serves as fuel or energy for bodily processes. A diabetic person often suffers from episodes of elevated blood glucose levels, a condition known as hyperglycemia. This happens because the body either does not produce insulin, or produces insufficient insulin or cells do not respond to insulin secreted by the pancreas. This causes a buildup of glucose in the blood, some of which passes through the urine. Diabetes is often diagnosed by laboratory tests such as the A1C test, fasting plasma glucose and oral glucose tolerance test. Diabetes is diagnosed when the A1C test result is at least 6.5%, the FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test is at least 126 mg/dl, and the OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test) is at least 200 mg/dl.
Diabetics and Meals
A recent study published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) has shown that for better weight control and blood sugar control in Type 2 diabetes, two large meals (breakfast and lunch) rather than six small meals with the same total calories should be consumed. The study gathered data from 54 patients (29 men, 25 women) treated with oral diabetes drugs, aged 30-70 years, BMI 27-50 kg/m2 and HbA1c of 6-11.8% (42-105 mmol/mol). The authors found out that eating only breakfast and lunch reduced body weight, liver fat content, fasting plasma glucose, C-peptide and glucagon, and increased OGIS. To know more about diabetes, you can read our other articles on this site.