Diabetes Mellitus – Disorder v/s Disease

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Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is often defined as a ‘disease’ which, I presume, is the main reason why people shudder at the thought of the very word. I’d rather like to see it as a metabolic disorder that can be controlled by following a proper routine of diet and exercise. Although many people follow the routine with unfailing devotion, they still are unable to control the blood sugar levels. The reason is perhaps – lack of right attitude.

Constant worrying leads to stress which is one of the contributing factors to varying results. To understand diabetes better, the first stage is acceptance. Once that is done, diabetes management becomes a lot easier.

Diabetes Mellitus, from a layman point of view, could mean a deadly disease that causes the dysfunction of vital organs like kidney, eyes, heart etc., and makes the doctor chop your leg off causing gangrene. Well it does hamper the normal functioning of the organs to a certain extent, but only in the longer run, provided we let it hamper -- not just the organs, but also our spirits. Attitude is the key to managing any disorder, let alone diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus is broadly classified into:

  • Type 1 DM or IDDM: Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which the (beta) cells in the pancreas fail to secrete insulin, as a result of which the body has no insulin hormone to synthesize the glucose and convert it into energy required by the body to carry out day-to-day activities, which explains the ‘tiredness’ experienced by diabetes patients. Insulin is hence injected to the blood veins directly, to help the body breakdown the glucose content. The failure of this breakdown leads to high blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates which are high on glucose should thus be taken in lesser quantities to avoid burdening the body. IDDM is also referred to as Juvenile Diabetes since it is common in children.

  • Type 2 DM or NIDDM: Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which the beta cells do produce insulin, but, the quantity produced is insufficient to breakdown the glucose in the body. This deficit is tackled by providing oral medication in the form of pills (usually metformin) that stimulate the production of insulin. Type 2 is often a lifestyle disorder that is caused by unhealthy habits (read through to find out more).

  • Gestational Diabetes: This mainly occurs during pregnancy and often precedes Type 2 DM. It can be controlled with proper medication.

Diabetes is believed to be chronic in nature that has no cure. But what is important to know and understand is that it can be controlled to a great extent. As for how much damage it can do to us - that depends on our lifestyle entirely. A stitch in time saves nine. So it is imperative to prevent any kind of damage rather than struggling to find a cure, which is not available in a majority of the cases. Any step taken after the damage is done is too little, too late.

Highly essential steps in Diabetes Management:

  • Exercise: It is as essential as daily ablutions in case of Diabetics. It should be made a part of the routine in order to control the blood sugar level.

  • Food habits: One has to adhere to the prescribed diet rather than falling prey to the temptations (a lot easier said than done!). It is okay to indulge in ‘rich’ food once in a while, but not too often. One has to make a choice between pain and gain. If former is what you want, then feel free to ignore your doctor/dietician’s advice, but if your choice is the latter, then better resort to smart eating. Also, if one has a low BMR (basal metabolism rate), that often leads to difficulty in weight management, one has to be very careful about what they eat and how much they eat.

  • Winning the battle against vices: Smokers, alcoholics and people who go against the normal cycle of the body (working in night shifts and not getting enough sleep that in turn causes stress), indulgence in foods that are high on calories and cholesterol (junk) etc. are on high risk alert for diabetes. Knowing how much is too much definitely helps.

  • Keeping a tab on disorders that lead to DM: Other factors that lead to Type 2 DM are obesity (when Body Mass Index, i.e. Weight in Kilos/Height in meter squared, is greater than or equal to 30), thyroid imbalance, Poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) etc., that should be checked every once in a while. Some of the disorders make the body develop insulin resistance, as a result of which Diabetes Mellitus is the outcome.

  • Others factors: If there is family history of diabetes, one has to take precautionary measures. Also, DM accompanies ageing process in most of the cases, since the metabolism decreases with increasing age. Even if a person is biologically ‘young’, but takes too much stress than s/he is able to handle, and messes with the BMR, then it is as good as sending out an invitation to DM to be your guest!

Sedentary lifestyle does a lot of harm if one doesn’t make necessary modifications when necessary. All ye people lost in the rat race in those corporate jungles, and those who spend way too much time romancing their laptops/PCs etc. and, in the process, forget they’re inviting trouble, time to sit up and take notice and move your lazy derrière out for your own good! If you want to live a happy life, good health is the key to it.

Please do not abuse your body and mind. Let go of things (at times people) that do you no good and thus help yourself. Stay healthy, stay happy!

Health is wealth might sound too clichéd, but, it is wise not to wait until one personally gets to experience ill health. Also, having said that, if you can prefix ‘w’ to ill you have biggest of strengths, WILL, to help you win any number of battles. Diabetes Mellitus is only one of them.

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Raksha Raman said...

Hey Kadambari,

Thank you so much for pepping up the post by adding pictures and formatting it so neatly! A job well done :D Super like! Thanks again :)

November 1, 2010 at 9:38 AM
Kaddu said...

Thanks Raksha! :) Just trying to be a good editor :p Glad you like it. Will mail you today.

November 1, 2010 at 10:00 AM

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