Insulin is essential to process carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Insulin reduces blood glucose levels by allowing glucose to enter muscle cells and by stimulating the conversion of glucose to glycogen (glycogenesis) as a carbohydrate store. Insulin also inhibits the release of stored glucose from liver glycogen (glycogenolysis) and slows the breakdown of fat to triglycerides, free fatty acids, and ketones. It also stimulates fat storage. Additionally, insulin inhibits the breakdown of protein and fat for glucose production (gluconeogenesis) in the liver and kidneys.
Diabetes mellitus has been recorded in all species but is most commonly seen in middle-aged to older, obese, female dogs. A familial predisposition has been suggested. It is possible to identify two types of diabetes, corresponding to the disease in humans, depending on the response to an intravenous glucose tolerance test. Type I is insulin-dependent and comparable to the juvenile onset form of the disease in children in which there is an absolute deficiency of insulin—there is a very low initial blood insulin level and a low response to the injected glucose. This form is seen in a number of dog breeds, particularly the Keeshond, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd dog, Poodle, Golden retriever and Labrador retriever.
People with diabetes can benefit from education about the disease and treatment, good nutrition to achieve a normal body weight, and exercise, with the goal of keeping both short-term and long-term blood glucose levels within acceptable bounds. In addition, given the associated higher risks of cardiovascular disease, lifestyle modifications are recommended to control blood pressure.
Although urine can also be tested for the presence of glucose, checking urine is not a good way to monitor treatment or adjust therapy. Urine testing can be misleading because the amount of glucose in the urine may not reflect the current level of glucose in the blood. Blood glucose levels can get very low or reasonably high without any change in the glucose levels in the urine.
A second oral agent of another class or insulin may be added if metformin is not sufficient after three months. Other classes of medications include: sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors, and glucagon-like peptide-1 analogs. As of 2015 there was no significant difference between these agents. A 2018 review found that SGLT2 inhibitors may be better than glucagon-like peptide-1 analogs or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors.
What are the symptoms of diabetes in women? Diabetes can have different effects on men and women. Learn all about the symptoms of diabetes experienced by women with this article, including how the disease may affect pregnancy and the menopause. This MNT Knowledge Center article will also look at gestational diabetes and the risk factors involved. Read now
How to prevent type 2 diabetes: Six useful steps What are the risks factors for developing type 2 diabetes, and how can we prevent it? Some factors such as blood sugar levels, body weight, fiber intake, and stress can be controlled to some extent, but others, such as age and family history cannot. Find out more about reducing the risk of developing this condition. Read now
Jock itch is an itchy red rash that appears in the groin area. The rash may be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. People with diabetes and those who are obese are more susceptible to developing jock itch. Antifungal shampoos, creams, and pills may be needed to treat fungal jock itch. Bacterial jock itch may be treated with antibacterial soaps and topical and oral antibiotics.
Several common medications can impair the body's use of insulin, causing a condition known as secondary diabetes. These medications include treatments for high blood pressure (furosemide, clonidine, and thiazide diuretics), drugs with hormonal activity (oral contraceptives, thyroid hormone, progestins, and glucocorticorids), and the anti-inflammation drug indomethacin. Several drugs that are used to treat mood disorders (such as anxiety and depression) also can impair glucose absorption. These drugs include haloperidol, lithium carbonate, phenothiazines, tricyclic antidepressants, and adrenergic agonists. Other medications that can cause diabetes symptoms include isoniazid, nicotinic acid, cimetidine, and heparin. A 2004 study found that low levels of the essential mineral chromium in the body may be linked to increased risk for diseases associated with insulin resistance.
A final note about type 1: Some people have a "honeymoon" period, a brief remission of symptoms while the pancreas is still secreting some insulin. The honeymoon phase typically occurs after insulin treatment has been started. A honeymoon can last as little as a week or even up to a year. But the absence of symptoms doesn't mean the diabetes is gone. The pancreas will eventually be unable to secrete insulin, and, if untreated, the symptoms will return.
Adult and pediatric endocrinologists, specialists in treating hormone imbalances and disorders of the endocrine system, are experts in helping patients with diabetes manage their disease. People with the disease also may be cared for by a number of primary care providers including family or internal medicine practitioners, naturopathic doctors, or nurse practitioners. When complications arise, these patients often consult other specialists, including neurologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, acupuncturists, surgeons, and cardiologists. Nutritionists, integrative and functional medicine doctors, and physical activity experts such as personal trainers are also important members of a diabetes treatment team. It is important to interview a new health care professional about their experience, expertise, and credentials to make sure they are well qualified to help you.
In people with type 1 diabetes, the symptoms often begin abruptly and dramatically. A serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, a complication in which the body produces excess acid, may quickly develop. In addition to the usual diabetes symptoms of excessive thirst and urination, the initial symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis also include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and—particularly in children—abdominal pain. Breathing tends to become deep and rapid as the body attempts to correct the blood’s acidity (see Acidosis), and the breath smells fruity and like nail polish remover. Without treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can progress to coma and death, sometimes very quickly.
Type 2 DM is primarily due to lifestyle factors and genetics. A number of lifestyle factors are known to be important to the development of type 2 DM, including obesity (defined by a body mass index of greater than 30), lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, and urbanization. Excess body fat is associated with 30% of cases in those of Chinese and Japanese descent, 60–80% of cases in those of European and African descent, and 100% of Pima Indians and Pacific Islanders. Even those who are not obese often have a high waist–hip ratio.
Type 2 diabetes is partly preventable by staying a normal weight, exercising regularly, and eating properly. Treatment involves exercise and dietary changes. If blood sugar levels are not adequately lowered, the medication metformin is typically recommended. Many people may eventually also require insulin injections. In those on insulin, routinely checking blood sugar levels is advised; however, this may not be needed in those taking pills. Bariatric surgery often improves diabetes in those who are obese.
Type 2 Diabetes: Accounting for 90 to 95 percent of those with diabetes, type 2 is the most common form. Usually, it's diagnosed in adults over age 40 and 80 percent of those with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Because of the increase in obesity, type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed at younger ages, including in children. Initially in type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced, but the insulin doesn't function properly, leading to a condition called insulin resistance. Eventually, most people with type 2 diabetes suffer from decreased insulin production.
Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms. When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant hunger. The combined effect is potentially rapid weight loss, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
A positive result, in the absence of unequivocal high blood sugar, should be confirmed by a repeat of any of the above methods on a different day. It is preferable to measure a fasting glucose level because of the ease of measurement and the considerable time commitment of formal glucose tolerance testing, which takes two hours to complete and offers no prognostic advantage over the fasting test. According to the current definition, two fasting glucose measurements above 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl) is considered diagnostic for diabetes mellitus.
5. Signs and symptoms ofhyperglycemiaandhypoglycemia, and measures to take when they occur. (See accompanying table.) It is important for patients to become familiar with specific signs that are unique to themselves. Each person responds differently and may exhibit symptoms different from those experienced by others. It should be noted that the signs and symptoms may vary even within one individual. Thus it is vital that the person understand all reactions that could occur. When there is doubt, a simple blood glucose reading will determine the actions that should be taken.
Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness and visual disability. Diabetes mellitus is associated with damage to the small blood vessels in the retina, resulting in loss of vision. Findings, consistent from study to study, make it possible to suggest that, after 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2% of people become blind, while about 10% develop severe visual handicap. Loss of vision due to certain types of glaucoma and cataract may also be more common in people with diabetes than in those without the disease.
It's not as clear what the rest of the type 1 genes are up to, but researchers are eager to find out. "Even though something accounts for a small part [of the genetic risk], it could have a significant impact," says Stephen Rich, PhD, director of the Center for Public Health Genomics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Understanding these genes' role may clue researchers in to less obvious biological pathways involved in type 1 diabetes, and to possible prevention strategies.
Acute Coronary Syndrome Moderate Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Low Risk Acute Coronary Syndrome Management Myocardial Infarction Stabilization Post Myocardial Infarction Medications Cardiac Rehabilitation Angina Pectoris Heart Failure Causes NYHA Heart Failure Classification Diastolic Heart Failure Systolic Dysfunction Atrial Fibrillation Acute Management Atrial Fibrillation Anticoagulation Coronary Artery Disease Prevention in Diabetes Hypertension in Diabetes Mellitus CHAD Score Hypertension in the Elderly Isolated Systolic Hypertension Hypertension Criteria Hypertension Evaluation History Hypertension Management Hypertension Risk Stratification Resistant Hypertension Hypertension Management for Specific Comorbid Diseases Hypertension Management for Specific Emergencies Bacterial Endocarditis HDL Cholesterol LDL Cholesterol Triglyceride VLDL Cholesterol Hypercholesterolemia Hypertriglyceridemia AntiHyperlipidemic Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Preeclampsia Prevention Congenital Heart Disease Hypertension in Children Medication Causes of Hypertension ACE Inhibitor Angiotensin 2 Receptor Blocking Agent Dihydropyridine Calcium Channel Blocker Nifedipine Selective Aldosterone Receptor Antagonist Niacin HMG-CoA Reductase Inhibitor Cardiac Risk Cardiac Risk Management Exercise Stress Test Stress Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Preoperative Cardiovascular Evaluation Eagle's Cardiac Risk Assessment Revised Cardiac Risk Index ACC-AHA Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment ACP Preoperative Cardiac Risk Assessment Syncope Subclavian Steal Syndrome Periodontitis Oral Health Cellulitis Necrotizing Soft Tissue Infection Group A Streptococcal Cellulitis Vibrio Cellulitis Gram-Negative Toe Web Infection Impetigo Skin Infections in Diabetes Mellitus Erythralgia Blister Skin Ulcer Cutaneous Candidiasis Onychomycosis Alopecia Areata Skin Abscess Skin Infection Intertrigo Nail Discoloration Terry's Nail Ingrown Toenail Hyperpigmentation Carotenemia Incision and Drainage Cryotherapy Skin Conditions in Diabetes Mellitus Acanthosis Nigricans Diabetic Dermopathy Granuloma Annulare Necrobiosis Lipoidica Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Metabolic Syndrome Diabetes Mellitus Complications Diabetic Ketoacidosis Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Adults Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in Children Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State Diabetic Education Diabetes Mellitus Glucose Management Diabetes Mellitus Control in Hospital Diabetes Resources Diabetic Retinopathy Unintentional Weight Loss Unintentional Weight Loss Causes Hypoglycemia Serum Glucose Glucose Challenge Test Glucose Tolerance Test 2 hour Hemoglobin A1C Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Endocrinology Links Diabetic Neuropathy Neonatal Hypoglycemia Obesity Risk Gestational Diabetes Gestational Diabetes Management Gestational Diabetes Perinatal Mortality Diabetes Mellitus Preconception Counseling Obesity in Children Systemic Corticosteroid Medication Causes of Hyperglycemia GlucoWatch Biographer Symlin Inhaled Insulin Somogyi Phenomena Glucophage Human Growth Hormone Orlistat Diabetic Foot Care Nutrition in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 Diabetic Nephropathy Klinefelter Syndrome Hypogonadotropic Hypogonadism Pubertal Delay Exercise in Diabetes Mellitus Perioperative Diabetes Management Obesity Surgery Night Sweats Acute Otitis Externa Bacterial Otitis Externa Necrotizing Otitis Externa Hearing Loss Sensorineural Hearing Loss Vocal Cord Paralysis Thrush Manual Cerumen Removal Sinus XRay Acute Suppurative Sialoadenitis Rhinosinusitis Tinnitus Burning Mouth Syndrome Taste Dysfunction Loss of Smell Dry Mouth Salivary Gland Enlargement Tongue Pain Dysequilibrium Atrophic Glossitis Animal Bite Infected Animal Bite Human Bite Heat Illness Risk Factors Burn Management Trauma in Pregnancy Bacterial Conjunctivitis Central Retinal Artery Occlusion Open Angle Glaucoma Cataract Ischemic Optic Neuritis Vitreous Hemorrhage Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis Floaters Light Flashes Acute Vision Loss Health Concerns in the Elderly Infections in Older Adults Medication Use in the Elderly Failure to Thrive in the Elderly Fall Prevention in the Elderly Irritable Bowel Syndrome Constipation Causes Chronic Diarrhea Traveler's Diarrhea Esophageal Dysmotility Gastroesophageal Reflux Hemochromatosis Pancreatic Cancer Hepatitis C Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Serum Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Liver Function Test Abnormality Lactase Deficiency Acute Pancreatitis Chronic Pancreatitis Osmotic Laxative Hepatotoxic Medication Traveler's Diarrhea Prophylaxis Pruritus Ani Perirectal Abscess Gastroparesis Whipple Procedure Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding Dyspepsia Causes Nausea Causes Contraception HAIR-AN Syndrome Polycystic Ovary Disease Menopause Endometrial Cancer Risk Factor Candida Vulvovaginitis Anovulatory Bleeding Oral Contraceptive Female Sexual Dysfunction Cancer Survivor Care Serum Protein Electrophoresis Perioperative Anticoagulation Cardiovascular Manifestations of HIV HIV Presentation Hepatitis in HIV HIV Related Neuropathy Stavudine Emerging Infection Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Fever of Unknown Origin Candidiasis Neutropenic Fever Hepatitis B Vaccine Influenza Vaccine Postherpetic Neuralgia Fluoroquinolone Third Generation Fluoroquinolone Sulfonamide Travel Preparation Travel Immunization Influenza Dengue Legionella Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Bronchitis Pneumonia in the Elderly Pneumonia Churg-Strauss Syndrome Tuberculin Skin Test Cystic Fibrosis Isoniazid Lung Transplantation in Cystic Fibrosis Active Tuberculosis Treatment Medical Literature Autonomic Dysfunction Bell's Palsy Facial Nerve Paralysis Causes Dementia Agitation in Dementia Ischemic Stroke Stroke Pathophysiology CVA Management Multiple Sclerosis Down Syndrome Cranial Nerve 3 Coma Exam Hemiplegia Giant Cell Arteritis Spinal Headache CSF Protein Altered Level of Consciousness Causes Guillain Barre Syndrome Restless Leg Syndrome Triptan Prevention of Ischemic Stroke Nerve Conduction Velocity Paresthesia Causes Peripheral Neuropathy Asymmetric Peripheral Neuropathy Peripheral Neuropathy Tremor Neonatal Distress Causes Newborn History Newborn Exam Neonatal Jaundice Causes Respiratory Distress Syndrome in the Newborn Late Pregnancy Loss Preterm Labor First Trimester Bleeding Fetal Macrosomia Hyperemesis Gravidarum Medications in Pregnancy Ritodrine Terbutaline Pregnancy Risk Assessment Probe-to-Bone Test Shoulder History Dupuytren's Disease Septic Bursitis Spinal Infection Osteomyelitis Causes Vertebral Osteomyelitis Patellar Tendinopathy Meralgia Paresthetica Frozen Shoulder Exertional Compartment Syndrome Hip Pain Low Back Pain Red Flag Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Adolescent Health Bullying Ephedrine Ginseng Myoinositol Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Lab Markers of Malnutrition Nutrition Guidelines Glycemic Index Non-nutritive Sweetener Conenzyme Q10 Mortality Statistics Adult Health Maintenance Screening DOT Examination Family History Refugee Health Exam Automobile Safety Substance Abuse Evaluation Alcohol Detoxification in Ambulatory Setting Major Depression Major Depression Differential Diagnosis Anorexia Nervosa Antabuse Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor Antipsychotic Medication Clozapine Olanzapine Psychosis Insomnia Causes Renal Artery Stenosis Idiopathic Cyclic Edema Acute Kidney Injury Risk Chronic Renal Failure Acute Glomerulonephritis Nephrotic Syndrome Serum Osmolality Hypomagnesemia Drug Dosing in Chronic Kidney Disease Hyperkalemia due to Medications Hyperkalemia Causes Prevention of Kidney Disease Progression Intravenous Contrast Related Acute Renal Failure Osteoporosis Evaluation Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Polymyositis Differential Diagnosis Septic Joint Gouty Arthritis Fibromyalgia Charcot's Joint Charcot Foot Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Osteoarthritis Methotrexate Joint Injection Rheumatoid Arthritis Fatigue Causes Impairment Evaluation Pre-participation History Exercise Exercise in the Elderly Walking Program Scuba Diving Procedural Sedation and Analgesia Peripheral Arterial Occlusive Disease Peripheral Vascular Disease Management Venous Insufficiency Wound Decubitus Ulcer Foot Wound Leg Ulcer Causes Wound Repair Fishhook Removal Ankle-Brachial Index Preoperative Examination Gallstone Acalculous Cholecystitis Cholecystectomy Small Bowel Obstruction Bowel Pseudoobstruction Abdominal Muscle Wall Pain Abdominal Wall Pain Causes Hydrocolloid Dressing Suture Material Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis Male Infertility Testicular Failure Bladder Cancer Urinary Tract Infection Recurrent Cystitis Acute Bacterial Prostatitis Acute Pyelonephritis Erectile Dysfunction Erectile Dysfunction Causes Erectile Dysfunction Management Urinary Incontinence Overflow Incontinence Urine pH Urine Specific Gravity Enuresis Proteinuria in Children Balanitis Peyronie's Disease Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Vasectomy Counseling Proteinuria Causes Targeted Cancer Therapy Acute Paronychia Chronic Paronychia Urinary Retention Decreased Visual Acuity Gastrointestinal Manifestations of Diabetes Mellitus Shoulder Osteoarthritis Vitiligo Cardiomyopathy Heart Transplant Contraceptive Selection in Diabetes Mellitus Periodontal Bleeding Perioperative Antiplatelet Therapy Charlson Comorbidity Index Constipation Causes in the Elderly Chronic Osteomyelitis Abnormal Gait and Balance Causes in the Elderly Calcium Channel Blocker Overdose Diverticular Bleeding Framingham Cardiac Risk Scale Cardiac Risk in Diabetes Score Outpatient Bleeding Risk Index Four Year Prognostic Index Diabetes Screening ABCD2 Score Urine Microalbumin Hearing Loss in Older Adults Preoperative Guidelines for Medications Prior to Surgery Contrast-Induced Nephropathy Risk Score Hyperlipidemia in Diabetes Mellitus Diamond and Forrester Chest Pain Prediction Rule Coronary Risk Stratification of Chest Pain Diabetes Sick Day Management Urinary Tract Infection in Geriatric Patients Insulinlike Growth Factor 1 Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head Family Practice Notebook Updates 2014 Emergency Care in ESRD Medication Compliance Slit Lamp Sulfonamide Allergy Health Care of the Homeless CHADS2-VASc Score Tuberculosis Risk Factors for progression from Latent to Active Disease Family Practice Notebook Updates 2015 Wound Infection Asymptomatic Bacteriuria Toxic Shock Syndrome Tetanus ASA Physical Status Classification System Family Practice Notebook Updates 2016 Solid Organ Transplant Calcineurin Inhibitor Cardiac Pacemaker Infection DAPT Score Acute Maculopathy Medication Causes of Delirium in the Elderly Family Practice Notebook Updates 2017 Major Bleeding Risk With Anticoagulants Severe Asymptomatic Hypertension Chronic Wound Family Practice Notebook Updates Stable Coronary Artery Disease Nocturia Polyuria Hyperhidrosis Causes Pneumaturia Anemia in Older Adults Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Children
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a condition where nerve endings, particularly in the legs and feet, become less sensitive. Diabetic foot ulcers are a particular problem since the patient does not feel the pain of a blister, callous, or other minor injury. Poor blood circulation in the legs and feet contribute to delayed wound healing. The inability to sense pain along with the complications of delayed wound healing can result in minor injuries, blisters, or callouses becoming infected and difficult to treat. In cases of severe infection, the infected tissue begins to break down and rot away. The most serious consequence of this condition is the need for amputation of toes, feet, or legs due to severe infection.
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a strong predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and is associated with both micro- and macrovascular complications.1 Cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes up to 70% of all deaths in people with DM. The epidemic of DM will thus be followed by a burden of diabetes-related vascular diseases. The number of DM patients increases with aging of the population, in part because of the increasing prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Although the mortality from coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients without DM has declined since the 1990s, the mortality in men with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) has not changed significantly.2 Moreover, DM is an independent risk factor for heart failure. Heart failure is closely related to diabetic cardiomyopathy: changes in the structure and function of the myocardium are not directly linked to CAD or hypertension. Diabetic cardiomyopathy is clinically characterized by an initial increase in left ventricular stiffness and subclinical diastolic dysfunction, gradually compromising left ventricular systolic function with loss of contractile function and progress into overt congestive heart failure. DM accounts for a significant percentage of patients with a diagnosis of heart failure in epidemiologic studies such as the Framingham Study and the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS).2 A 1% increase in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) correlates to an increment of 8% in heart failure.3 The prevalence of heart failure in elderly diabetic patients is up to 30%.3
Know Your Numbers: Knowing your ABCs—A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol—are important in reducing your risk for diabetes and keeping your diabetes in good control. If you are someone with diabetes who has elevated blood pressure or cholesterol, you are increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. Your physician will give you your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol targets. Make sure you pay attention to them and understand what they mean and why they are important.
Type 1 diabetes mellitus has wide geographic variation in incidence and prevalence.  Annual incidence varies from 0.61 cases per 100,000 population in China to 41.4 cases per 100,000 population in Finland. Substantial variations are observed between nearby countries with differing lifestyles, such as Estonia and Finland, and between genetically similar populations, such as those in Iceland and Norway.
While it's conceivable that scientists will isolate a single factor as causing type 1 and type 2, the much more likely outcome is that there is more than one cause. Each person seems to take a unique path in developing diabetes. Someday, doctors may be able to assess an individual's genetic risk for diabetes, allowing him or her to dodge the particular environmental factors that would trigger the disease. And perhaps if the baffling question of why a person gets diabetes can be put to rest, the answer will also offer a cure for the disease.
Get Educated: The American Diabetes Association advises that all persons with diabetes receive diabetes self-management education (DSME) at diagnosis and thereafter. A certified diabetes educator or other qualified health professional can give you the tools you need to understand and take care of your diabetes. In addition, these individuals are trained to create a customized plan that works for you. Diabetes self-management education is a patient-centered approach that enables patients to get involved in their care.
Poor vision, limited manual dexterity due to arthritis, tremor, or stroke, or other physical limitations may make monitoring blood glucose levels more difficult for older people. However, special monitors are available. Some have large numerical displays that are easier to read. Some provide audible instructions and results. Some monitors read blood glucose levels through the skin and do not require a blood sample. People can consult a diabetes educator to determine which meter is most appropriate.
Diabetes mellitus (“diabetes”) and hypertension, which commonly coexist, are global public health issues contributing to an enormous burden of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and premature mortality and disability. The presence of both conditions has an amplifying effect on risk for microvascular and macrovascular complications.1 The prevalence of diabetes is rising worldwide (Fig. 37.1). Both diabetes and hypertension disproportionately affect people in middle and low-income countries, and an estimated 70% of all cases of diabetes are found in these countries.2,3 In the United States alone, the total costs of care for diabetes and hypertension in the years 2012 and 2011 were 245 and 46 billion dollars, respectively.4,5 Therefore, there is a great potential for meaningful health and economic gains attached to prevention, detection, and intervention for diabetes and hypertension.
Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms. When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant hunger. The combined effect is potentially rapid weight loss, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
Kidney damage from diabetes is called diabetic nephropathy. The onset of kidney disease and its progression is extremely variable. Initially, diseased small blood vessels in the kidneys cause the leakage of protein in the urine. Later on, the kidneys lose their ability to cleanse and filter blood. The accumulation of toxic waste products in the blood leads to the need for dialysis. Dialysis involves using a machine that serves the function of the kidney by filtering and cleaning the blood. In patients who do not want to undergo chronic dialysis, kidney transplantation can be considered.
Supporting evidence for Shulman's theory comes from observations about a rare genetic illness called lipodystrophy. People with lipodystrophy can't make fat tissue, which is where fat should properly be stored. These thin people also develop severe insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. "They have fat stored in places it doesn't belong," like the liver and muscles, says Shulman. "When we treat them . . . we melt the fat away, reversing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes." Shulman's theory also suggests why some people who carry extra fat don't get type 2. "There are some individuals who store fat [under the skin] who have relatively normal insulin sensitivity, a so-called fit fat individual," he says. Because of the way their bodies store fat, he believes, they don't get diabetes.
Endocrinology is the specialty of medicine that deals with hormone disturbances, and both endocrinologists and pediatric endocrinologists manage patients with diabetes. People with diabetes may also be treated by family medicine or internal medicine specialists. When complications arise, people with diabetes may be treated by other specialists, including neurologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, cardiologists, or others.
The diabetic patient should learn to recognize symptoms of low blood sugar (such as confusion, sweats, and palpitations) and high blood sugar (such as, polyuria and polydipsia). When either condition results in hospitalization, vital signs, weight, fluid intake, urine output, and caloric intake are accurately documented. Serum glucose and urine ketone levels are evaluated. Chronic management of DM is also based on periodic measurement of glycosylated hemoglobin levels (HbA1c). Elevated levels of HbA1c suggest poor long-term glucose control. The effects of diabetes on other body systems (such as cerebrovascular, coronary artery, and peripheral vascular) should be regularly assessed. Patients should be evaluated regularly for retinal disease and visual impairment and peripheral and autonomic nervous system abnormalities, e.g., loss of sensation in the feet. The patient is observed for signs and symptoms of diabetic neuropathy, e.g., numbness or pain in the hands and feet, decreased vibratory sense, footdrop, and neurogenic bladder. The urine is checked for microalbumin or overt protein losses, an early indication of nephropathy. The combination of peripheral neuropathy and peripheral arterial disease results in changes in the skin and microvasculature that lead to ulcer formation on the feet and lower legs with poor healing. Approx. 45,000 lower-extremity diabetic amputations are performed in the U.S. each year. Many amputees have a second amputation within five years. Most of these amputations are preventable with regular foot care and examinations. Diabetic patients and their providers should look for changes in sensation to touch and vibration, the integrity of pulses, capillary refill, and the skin. All injuries, cuts, and blisters should be treated promptly. The patient should avoid constricting hose, slippers, shoes, and bed linens or walking barefoot. The patient with ulcerated or insensitive feet is referred to a podiatrist for continuing foot care and is warned that decreased sensation can mask injuries.
All types of diabetes mellitus have something in common. Normally, your body breaks down the sugars and carbohydrates you eat into a special sugar called glucose. Glucose fuels the cells in your body. But the cells need insulin, a hormone, in your bloodstream in order to take in the glucose and use it for energy. With diabetes mellitus, either your body doesn't make enough insulin, it can't use the insulin it does produce, or a combination of both.
Talk with your doctor about connecting with a certified diabetes educator and receiving diabetes self-management education. Learning about what to eat, what your medicines do, and how to test your blood sugars are just some of the things these resources can help with. Educators can also dispel myths, create meal plans, coordinate other doctors appointments for you, and listen to your needs. They are trained to teach using a patient-centered approach. They are your advocates who specialize in diabetes. Ask your doctor today or go to the American Association of Diabetes Educators website to find someone near you. Be sure to call your insurance company to see if these services are covered, too.
Diabetes is suspected based on symptoms. Urine tests and blood tests can be used to confirm a diagnose of diabetes based on the amount of glucose found. Urine can also detect ketones and protein in the urine that may help diagnose diabetes and assess how well the kidneys are functioning. These tests also can be used to monitor the disease once the patient is on a standardized diet, oral medications, or insulin.
Another area of pathologic changes associated with diabetes mellitus is the nervous system (diabetic neuropathy), particularly in the peripheral nerves of the lower extremities. The patient typically experiences a “stocking-type” anesthesia beginning about 10 years after the onset of the disease. There may eventually be almost total anesthesia of the affected part with the potential for serious injury to the part without the patient being aware of it. In contrast, some patients experience debilitating pain and hyperesthesia, with loss of deep tendon reflexes.
The body’s immune system is responsible for fighting off foreign invaders, like harmful viruses and bacteria. In people with type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakes the body’s own healthy cells for foreign invaders. The immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. After these beta cells are destroyed, the body is unable to produce insulin.
Patients with Type I diabetes need daily injections of insulin to help their bodies use glucose. The amount and type of insulin required depends on the height, weight, age, food intake, and activity level of the individual diabetic patient. Some patients with Type II diabetes may need to use insulin injections if their diabetes cannot be controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication. Injections are given subcutaneously, that is, just under the skin, using a small needle and syringe. Injection sites can be anywhere on the body where there is looser skin, including the upper arm, abdomen, or upper thigh.
The major eye complication of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in patients who have had diabetes for at least five years. Diseased small blood vessels in the back of the eye cause the leakage of protein and blood in the retina. Disease in these blood vessels also causes the formation of small aneurysms (microaneurysms), and new but brittle blood vessels (neovascularization). Spontaneous bleeding from the new and brittle blood vessels can lead to retinal scarring and retinal detachment, thus impairing vision.
Rosiglitazone, a thiazolidinedione, has not been found to improve long-term outcomes even though it improves blood sugar levels. Additionally it is associated with increased rates of heart disease and death. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) prevent kidney disease and improve outcomes in those with diabetes. The similar medications angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) do not. A 2016 review recommended treating to a systolic blood pressure of 140 to 150 mmHg.
There are two major types of diabetes, called type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes was also formerly called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), or juvenile-onset diabetes mellitus. In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas undergoes an autoimmune attack by the body itself, and is rendered incapable of making insulin. Abnormal antibodies have been found in the majority of patients with type 1 diabetes. Antibodies are proteins in the blood that are part of the body's immune system. The patient with type 1 diabetes must rely on insulin medication for survival.
Regular ophthalmological examinations are recommended for early detection of diabetic retinopathy. The patient is educated about diabetes, its possible complications and their management, and the importance of adherence to the prescribed therapy. The patient is taught the importance of maintaining normal blood pressure levels (120/80 mm Hg or lower). Control of even mild-to-moderate hypertension results in fewer diabetic complications, esp. nephropathy, cerebrovascular disease, and cardiovascular disease. Limiting alcohol intake to approximately one drink daily and avoiding tobacco are also important for self-management. Emotional support and a realistic assessment of the patient's condition are offered; this assessment should stress that, with proper treatment, the patient can have a near-normal lifestyle and life expectancy. Long-term goals for a patient with diabetes should include achieving and maintaining optimal metabolic outcomes to prevent complications; modifying diet and lifestyle to prevent and treat obesity, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and nephropathy; improving physical activity; and allowing for the patient’s nutritional and psychosocial needs and preferences. Assistance is offered to help the patient develop positive coping strategies. It is estimated that 23 million Americans will be diabetic by the year 2030. The increasing prevalence of obesity coincides with the increasing incidence of diabetes; approx. 45% of those diagnosed receive optimal care according to established guidelines. According to the CDC, the NIH, and the ADA, about 40% of Americans between ages 40 and 74 have prediabetes, putting them at increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Lifestyle changes with a focus on decreasing obesity can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in 58% of this population. The patient and family should be referred to local and national support and information groups and may require psychological counseling.
People who are obese -- more than 20% over their ideal body weight for their height -- are at particularly high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its related medical problems. Obese people have insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, the pancreas has to work overly hard to produce more insulin. But even then, there is not enough insulin to keep sugars normal.
In autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly manufactures antibodies and inflammatory cells that are directed against and cause damage to patients' own body tissues. In persons with type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production, are attacked by the misdirected immune system. It is believed that the tendency to develop abnormal antibodies in type 1 diabetes is, in part, genetically inherited, though the details are not fully understood.
A growing number of people in the U.S. and throughout the world are overweight and more prone to develop Type 2 diabetes, particularly if they have the genetics for it. "Type 2 diabetes can be caused by genetic inheritance, but by far the obesity epidemic has created massive increases in the occurrence of Type 2 diabetes. This is due to the major insulin resistance that is created by obesity," Gage says.
Because type 2 diabetes is linked to high levels of sugar in the blood, it may seem logical to assume that eating too much sugar is the cause of the disease. But of course, it’s not that simple. “This has been around for years, this idea that eating too much sugar causes diabetes — but the truth is, type 2 diabetes is a multifactorial disease with many different types of causes,” says Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDE, a nutrition coach in Prescott, Arizona, and a medical reviewer for Everyday Health. “Type 2 diabetes is really complex.”
There is an overall lack of public awareness of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes. Making yourself aware of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes is a great way to be proactive about your health and the health of your family members. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s possible that you have (or your child has) type 1 diabetes. A doctor can make that diagnosis by checking blood glucose levels.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can be caused by too much insulin, too little food (or eating too late to coincide with the action of the insulin), alcohol consumption, or increased exercise. A patient with symptoms of hypoglycemia may be hungry, cranky, confused, and tired. The patient may become sweaty and shaky. Left untreated, the patient can lose consciousness or have a seizure. This condition is sometimes called an insulin reaction and should be treated by giving the patient something sweet to eat or drink like a candy, sugar cubes, juice, or another high sugar snack.
While there are competing explanations of the link between obesity and type 2 diabetes, Gerald Shulman, MD, PhD, a professor of internal medicine and physiology at Yale University, believes the key is figuring out insulin resistance. He has studied the causes of insulin resistance for 25 years and thinks he may have the answer to the weight-diabetes link.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.