Diabetes and Drug Treatments
Diabetes mellitus refers to a condition in which the regulation of blood glucose levels within the normal range is impaired. It is characterized by problems in insulin production, and utilization or both as insulin regulates the use and storage of glucose and fats. The condition results from the production of little or no insulin at all causing glucose to accumulate in the bloodstream. Diabetes also occurs due to the failure of the body tissues to respond appropriately to the insulin produced (American Diabetes Association, 2014). The disease has no cure currently hence the people with diabetes only benefit from symptomatic management of the condition to improve the quality of life.
Types of Diabetes
The types of diabetes mellitus include type 1 diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus, gestational diabetes among other categories. The primary characteristic of the different types of diabetes is that the problem could be the insufficient production of insulin, inability to utilize the produced insulin or both (American Diabetes Association, 2014). As a result, glucose builds up within the blood vessels to toxic levels which the body cannot tolerate and causes side effects. Type 1 diabetes was formerly known as juvenile diabetes due to its childhood onset and is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes (Kaufman, 2013). The type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the pancreas is destroyed when the body’s antibodies attack it.
The pancreas gets damaged in type 1 diabetes and cannot produce adequate amounts of insulin which can be used to regulate glucose metabolism. Genetics are implicated in type 1 diabetes, and it is associated with health risks such as diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy, and nephropathy among other conditions. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and is mostly found in the adults. The increasing overweight and obesity among children have however increased the risk of children for diabetes mellitus type 2 (DeFronzo et al, 2015). The type 2 diabetes is milder than type 1 but can still cause dire complications with poor glucose control. The pancreas makes some insulin in type 2 diabetes but the amount is too small, or the body is resistant to the insulin.
The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is high among the obese people since obesity causes insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but a person can live a near healthy lifestyle through weight management, nutrition, exercise and drug therapy. Gestational diabetes is triggered by pregnancy and due to the hormone changes which cause insulin resistance. The condition should be controlled to maximize the welfare of the unborn baby, but it resolves on its own upon delivery (Coustan, 2013). It, however, increases the risk for type 2 diabetes and predisposes the baby to macrosomia, respiratory problems and risk for obesity in future.
Dietary Considerations and Metformin in Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Evert et al. (2014) are of the opinion that the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus requires healthy eating, regular exercise, drug therapy, and glucose monitoring. Patients with type 2 diabetes should eat a diet with high fiber and low fat such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Such patients should avoid animal products, refined carbohydrates and sweets. A patient with type 2 diabetes should major on foods that have a low glycemic index to help stabilize the blood glucose levels. Metformin is the first drug prescribed for patients with type 2 diabetes (Arcangelo et al. 2017). According to Wang et al. (2017) metformin improves the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin and lowers the production of glucose by the liver. The drug may not reduce blood sugars on its own and requires combination with lifestyle modification.
Short-Term and Long-Term Impacts of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes mellitus causes some health problems not just in the short term but also in the long run. Failure to achieve a stable glucose control is associated with metabolic events such as hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia and the accompanying symptoms. Diabetic ketoacidosis can result from type 2 diabetes mellitus and is fatal if left uncontrolled. Type 2 diabetes also leads to heart disease and stroke due to increased blood viscosity and damage to blood vessels. Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus also experience nerve damage, sores and infections of the feet and sexual problems. Loss of vision and blindness are long-term effects of type 2 diabetes coupled with other issues like kidney failure. Miscarriage and stillbirth are common among expectant mothers who have type 2 diabetes.
Chronic disease including diabetes mellitus, cancer, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity globally. Diabetes mellitus affects all ages and has severe complications if left untreated hence prevention, and prompt management is vital to improving the quality of life. Measures such as lifestyle modification should be embraced to prevent the onset of diabetes mellitus failure to which changes should be done to enhance the quality of life of diabetic patients. There are several types of diabetes, but the key to effective management and control of sugars is lifestyle modification, physical activity, glucose monitoring and adherence to treatment regimen. Diabetic patients should, therefore, adhere to the recommendations to live near-normal healthy lives.
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DeFronzo, R. A., Ferrannini, E., Groop, L., Henry, R. R., Herman, W. H., Holst, J. J., … & Simonson, D. C. (2015). Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nature reviews. Disease primers, 1, 15019-15019.
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