Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels that result from defects in insulin secretion, or its action, or both. Diabetes mellitus, commonly referred to as diabetes (as it will be in this article) was first identified as a disease associated with "sweet urine," and excessive muscle loss in the ancient world. Elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia) lead to spillage of glucose into the urine, hence the term sweet urine.
Doctors may also prescribe medications to lower blood pressure, control cholesterol or help you lose weight. Insulin sensitizers like Glucophage (Metformin) may be prescribed to help your body use insulin more effectively. It lowers blood sugar, which also seems to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides as well as decreasing appetite. The side effects of Metformin (often temporary) include nausea, stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea. A more serious side effect, lactic acidosis, can affect those with kidney or liver disease, severe heart failure or a history of alcohol abuse and is potentially, though rarely, fatal. Aspirin therapy is often given to help reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.
Treatment of hypertension is important, despite the fact that it rarely causes noticeable symptoms at the early stages. Hypertension accelerates atherosclerosis, which leads to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysms. Treating hypertension in the early stages has been shown to prevent these complications.
Exposure to certain viral infections (mumps and Coxsackie viruses) or other environmental toxins may serve to trigger abnormal antibody responses that cause damage to the pancreas cells where insulin is made. Some of the antibodies seen in type 1 diabetes include anti-islet cell antibodies, anti-insulin antibodies and anti-glutamic decarboxylase antibodies. These antibodies can be detected in the majority of patients, and may help determine which individuals are at risk for developing type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes was also previously referred to as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), or adult-onset diabetes mellitus (AODM). In type 2 diabetes, patients can still produce insulin, but do so relatively inadequately for their body's needs, particularly in the face of insulin resistance as discussed above. In many cases this actually means the pancreas produces larger than normal quantities of insulin. A major feature of type 2 diabetes is a lack of sensitivity to insulin by the cells of the body (particularly fat and muscle cells).
You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
At the end of the 3 week period most of the women ended up losing weight. However, 10 women did not lose any weight, and 1 of the women actually gained weight. This makes two points very clear. First, metabolism varies from person to person. Second, compensatory reactions can suppress the metabolism so much that even very low calorie diets are no longer effective even in the short-term.
“When you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar levels rise and your pancreas releases insulin to move the sugar from your blood into your cells to be used or stored,” explains Chere Bork, RDN, a nutritionist and life coach in the Minneapolis–St. Paul area. But if your body is continuously exposed to high levels of insulin, Bork says, “the receptor cells become inefficient and resistant to the effects of insulin,” and this leaves blood glucose levels elevated. It is insulin resistance that promotes the high cholesterol, high glucose, and high blood pressure of metabolic syndrome — also known as insulin resistance syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of metabolic risk factors that come together in a single individual. These metabolic factors include insulin resistance, hypertension (high blood pressure), cholesterol abnormalities, and an increased risk for blood clotting. Affected individuals are most often overweight or obese. An association between certain metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease has been known since the 1940s.