What is diabetes mellitus?
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease characterized by an increase in blood sugar (glucose), mainly due to the deficient production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. One of its main roles is to help blood sugar enter cells, to be used as a “fuel” and to produce or store energy.
There are two main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in young people. It is characterized by the destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin, as a result of which it is necessary to administer insulin by injections.
- Type 2 diabetes mainly concerns older people, usually obese and often there is a hereditary predisposition to its occurrence. For its treatment, weight loss is required (with proper nutrition and exercise).
- Gestational diabetes is essentially a special case of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy and usually subsides immediately after childbirth.
How is diabetes treated?
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic evolutionary disease. The treatment of diabetes primarily requires continuous monitoring by a specialized team of health professionals. The first and most important piece of advice from the doctor is to change the lifestyle and diet.
How is diabetes regulation monitored?
The monitoring is based on the measurement of blood sugar, which can be done either in a medical clinic after taking blood from the vein, or after a finger piercing by the diabetic himself with the use of special portable glucose meters.
The goal, in general, is for blood sugars before eating to be as close as possible to normal, but because blood sugar fluctuates during the 24 hours, it is difficult to draw a conclusion about the regulation of diabetes based on individual sugar values times a week. For this reason, it is necessary for every diabetic to measure glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c), which is a blood test that gives a picture of the average of all blood sugars in the previous 2-3 months, without being affected by the intake of food at the time of blood sampling to measure it.
The goal in diabetes is to achieve glycosylated haemoglobin between 4.80 – 5.90%, which has been shown to reduce the risk of complications. How often and at what times of the day measurements should be made from the finger differs from person to person and should be discussed with the attending physician. The combination of regular measurements from the finger with the measurement of glycosylated haemoglobin every 3 months, will enable the doctor to assess more objectively the regulation of diabetes.
At Gold Medical Centre we can check and review your blood sugar levels.