Diabetes mellitus is a life threatening diseases that according to WHO (World Health Organization) will cause almost 3 million worldwide deaths per year! These statistics cause alarm, but the responsibility is still in our hands to take action against this killer disease.

Diabetes mellitus or sugar diabetes is a metabolic disease that involves the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It is characterized by increased blood sugar or blood glucose levels. Diabetes can occur when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or when the cells of the body become resistant to insulin’s action. In both these cases the blood sugar cannot enter into the cells for storage. This leads to the increase of blood sugar levels and cause serious complications.

Symptoms of diabetes usually develop over a period of time and include more than one up to all of the following symptoms:
1. Excessive Thirst: A dry mouth and excessive thirst could be the first sign of diabetes mellitus. This happens when the body is drawing extra water in an attempt to dilute the increased glucose concentration in the blood. Dehydration is evident.
2. Excessive urination: The increased water intake to quench the thirst will put a burden on the kidneys and the bladder.
3. Weight changes: Glucose remains in the bloodstream and cannot be utilized by the muscle cells for energy. The body desperately looks for an alternative energy source. The body starts using muscle tissue and fat for energy
4. Constant fatigue and lack of energy. The body cannot use the glucose from food to produce energy
5. Blurry vision and visual changes. Any visual change must be reported immediately to the health care worker or general practitioner. With proper, vigilant treatment and frequent eye tests blindness can be prevented.
6. Slow healing wounds. Cuts, bruises and slow healing wounds are also directly related to the high glucose levels in the blood.
7. Numbness in hands and feet. The tingling and numbness in the hands and feet is a symptom and is called neuropathy and develops as a result of damage to the nerve endings
8. Erectile dysfunction affects about 50% of all diabetic men. The same increased glucose levels that cause damage to the blood vessels and nerve endings can cause changes in blood flow and nerve damage to the penis.
9. Constant hunger arises as result of the loss of glucose through the urine. The cells are “starving” for glucose and this leads to the constant hunger sensation.

Signs and symptoms are the hints our body is communicating to the environment. We need to take these serious and act upon them immediately. Our active participation and guidance from the medical support team can manage diabetes effectively.
Diabetes mellitus gets diagnosed by the general practitioner after careful examination and follow up laboratory tests. Type-1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes), type-2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes) and gestational or diabetes during pregnancy are the different types of diabetes that one can be diagnosed into. The sooner diabetes gets diagnosed, the sooner treatment can commence. With good diabetic control, the body will not suffer the complications of diabetes.

What are the dreadful complications of diabetes? Complications are a disease or other condition that arises during the course of or as a consequence of a disease – in this case diabetes mellitus. Years of poorly controlled high blood glucose levels (hyperglycaemia) lead to the development of complications. Micro-vascular complications affect the small blood vessels while macro-vascular complications affect the larger blood vessels. Complications can be summarised as follow:
⌂ Visual disturbances leading to glaucoma and cataracts
⌂ Nephropathy leading to chronic renal failure
⌂ Diabetic neuropathy develops as a result of decreased oxygen supply to the nerve endings
⌂ Dental problems and gum disease
The treatment of diabetes mellitus includes lifestyle changes, anti-diabetic tablets, and insulin. The general practitioner will prescribe insulin on its own or in combination with anti-diabetic tablets. It is important to adhere to the treatment guidelines as blood glucose control determines the development of complications. Lifestyle changes include the following:
Exercise and adapting to a more active lifestyle
⌂ Dietary measure and healthy eating
⌂ Proper rest and relaxation
⌂ Achieve and maintain the ideal body weight
⌂ Stop smoking as this is an aggravating risk
A healthy lifestyle is a way of living that lowers the risk of being diseased and dying prematurely. It is not just about preventing disease or illness; it is about physical, mental and social well-being too. It is the way of living that helps one to enjoy vibrant health and an abundance of energy! Healthy living is contagious! When one step up to the responsibility of taking care of their health needs and adopts a healthy lifestyle the rest of the family will also follow and together we can celebrate health!

Author's Bio: 

Past: I was born and bred on a Freestate farm in the district of Kroonstad, South Africa.

Profession: I qualified as a Pharmacist (1986) and obtained Mastersdegree (M.Sc) in 1988. I gained valuable experience in the following areas
Retail pharmacy
Consulting and DUR Drug Utilization Review
Training and skills development
Holistic approach to healing and preventative plans
Manufacturing of body care products
Passion: I have the following Passions:

Healing and empowering the body to heal itself
Beauty and skin care as ingredients of a Youthful Ageing Programme
People development through mentoring and coaching
Celebrate life! I do value the mentors in my life

People: I salute the following people that have influenced me - for better ...or for best!
Family: You have always been there to support me!
Friends: You have been there when I needed you most!