Diabetes Mellitus refers to increased blood glucose levels. It is broadly divided into type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with type 1 diabetes being caused by the autoimmune destruction of the β cells of pancreas (responsible for producing insulin) and type 2 diabetes being caused by the body’s resistance to insulin’s action – termed as ‘insulin resistance’. Another type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, occurs during pregnancy and requires prompt treatment.
When fasting blood glucose is higher than 126 mg/dL or blood glucose levels 2 hours after oral glucose challenge exceed 200 mg/dL, the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is confirmed. Although genetic predisposition increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol intake, stress, sedentary lifestyle and smoking also play a significant role.
Diabetes tends to progress in severity over time and requires constant monitoring at regular intervals. The management regime is designed to minimize fasting hypoglycemia and long-term complications such as diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy. It consists of dietary/lifestyle modifications, antidiabetic drugs for oral administration, and injectable therapies.