Diabetes mellitus (Type 1) is a disease which results from the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, which regulates the uptake of sugar to the body's cells. As a result, sugar builds up in the blood until the patient goes into a coma. Although there are other diseases called diabetes, this form of the disease is what is usually meant when no other word is used to modify it. Until the early 20th century, a diagnosis of diabetes meant certain death. However, the discovery that there was a hormone produced by the pancreas known as insulin and its subsequent isolation allow diabetics to lead fairly normal lives. The isolation of insulin also gave birth to the modern medical science of endocrinology.

Diabetes has been known since ancient times. The Roman physician Celcus diagnosed the disease by tasting a patient's urine, which would take on a sweet taste due to the sugar in it (diabetes mellitus literally meaning sweet urine). However, it could also be diagnosed by seeing if insects would be attracted to the sugar in a patient's urine. Nowadays, the disease is diagnosed with blood tests and urine tests, both of which show higher than normal levels of sugar.

In a normal person, sugar in the bloodstream triggers the pancreas to produce insulin, which allows the sugar in the blood to be rapidly absorbed into cells. As a result, the sugar is converted to glycogen (stored sugar) if there is a surplus. In a patient with diabetes, the sugar remains the bloodstream, and the kidneys filter it out along with urea. However, the sugar in the urine concentrates the urine, requiring more water in the body in order to allow the kidneys to function to remove it, resulting in severe thirst. In addition, the patient can no longer take up sugar when exterting themselves, and as a result is easily fatigued. The excess sugar also interferes with the body's ability to heal itself.

Insulin is destroyed by stomach acid and patients must inject it, usually twice a day. Although this allows the body to metabolize sugar, it does not allow full control of the level of insulin or blood sugar. As a result, diabetics must eat regularly, avoid high carbohydrate foods and monitor their blood sugar as often as possible.

Diabetes is a dangerous condition and improper management of insulin or food can lead to blood sugar either becoming too high if not enough insulin is taken, or too low if too much is taken. Either situation can quickly lead to disorientation and coma. Luckily, either condition can be treated quickly, either by administering intravenous glucose to patients with low blood sugar or insulin to patients with high blood sugar. In addition, the coma is not immediately life threatening, and patients have been known to remain in a coma for hours before being treated. When insulin was first made available, patients in what appeared to be fatal comas were immediately revived and went on to live normal lives.

The only option for insulin therapy used to be insulin extracted from the pancreas of slaughtered pigs which, though not identical to human insulin, was close enough to function and causes no side effects. However, with medical advancements, artificial insulin is now produced and used to treat Type 1 diabetics. Lantus (continuous acting insulin) and Novolog (fast acting insulin) are the two most used types of artificial insulin.

If diabetes is not managed properly means; if the blood sugar is not controlled within nominal level for prolong period can cause many complications called as diabetes complications. Some of the common diabetes complications are nerve damage, kidney problems, eye problems, heart attack, stroke and erectile dysfunction. But diabetes complications can be avoided by proper diabetes management.

Diabetes at NIH

Diabetes mellitus at Wikipedia

Diabetes at Mayo Clinic


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