Diabetes - Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

I May Have Diabetes But Diabetes Does Not Have Me. Diabetes Must Never Win!

The term diabetes was probably coined by Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC. It is first recorded in English, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425 and coined by Apollonius of Memphis around 250 BC

In 1675 Thomas Willis added the word “'mellitus'” to the word diabetes because of the sweet taste of the urine. This sweet taste had been noticed in urine by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, and Persians as is evident from their literature.

The term diabetes is the shortened version of the full name diabetes mellitus and was known as “pissing evil”. Diabetes mellitus is derived from the Greek word diabetes meaning siphon to pass through and the latin word mellitus meaning honeyed or sweet as in diabetes excess sugar is found in blood as well as the urine.

Don't like reading? consider watching highlight's of the article

OR Continue reading

Sushruta (6th century BCE) an Indian healer identified diabetes and classified it as “Madhumeha”. Here the word “madhu” means honey and combined the term means sweet urine.

In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer found that diabetes resulted from lack of insulin

In 1922 January, Leonard Thompson, 14, a charity patient at the Toronto General Hospital, became the first person to receive and injection of insulin to treat diabetes. Thompson lived another 13 years before dying of pneumonia at age 27.

In the United States 25.8 million people or 8.3% of the population have diabetes. Of these, 7.0 million have undiagnosed diabetes. In 2010, about 1.9 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in population over 20 years. It is said that if this trend continues, 1 in 3 Americans would be diabetic by 2050.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which regulates the blood glucose levels between certain limits.

When your body turns the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), the blood glucose level rises. In response to the increased glucose level, the pancreas normally releases more insulin into the bloodstream to help glucose enter the cells and lower blood glucose levels after a meal.

Each cell in body has a ‘door’ (receptor) that can allow glucose to enter. However, this door stays locked until insulin arrives as the key to ‘unlock’ it. When insulin is present, and the door is opened, glucose can enter the cell to be used as fuel. after a meal.

With diabetes, glucose is unable to travel to the cells due to a lack of insulin or insulin resistance. This means too much glucose remains in the blood, causing high blood glucose readings. Excess body fat ‘clogs’ the lock, making it harder for the insulin to open the door.

Types of diabetes

#1 Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not produce insulin or make a very small amount of insulin. In simple words type 1 diabetes is associated with a  deficiency or lack of insulin. It is also called as juvenile diabetes as its often diagnosed in children or teens. However, it can also occur in adults. This type accounts for 5-10 percent of people with diabetes.

#2 Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the cells are unable to use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. It is commonly called as “adult-onset diabetes” or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) since it is diagnosed later in life, generally after the age of 45. It accounts for 90-95 percent of people with diabetes. A major feature of type 2 diabetes is a lack of sensitivity to insulin by the cells of the body (particularly fat and muscle cells)


Both types of diabetes, if not controlled, share many similar symptoms like -

  • Extreme thirst

  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)

  • Dry mouth

  • Upset stomach and vomiting

  • Frequent urination

  • Some untreated diabetes patients also complain of Fatigue

  • Fluctuations in blood glucose levels results in blurry vision

  • Frequent infections of your skin, urinary tract, or vagina

  • Bed wetting in a child who’s been dry at night

  • Belly pain

  • Rapid breathing


Insufficient production of insulin (either absolutely or relative to the body's needs), production of defective insulin (which is uncommon), or the inability of cells to use insulin properly and efficiently leads to hyperglycemia and diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar, or glucose, into your body's tissues.

Glucose doesn’t move into your cells because insulin isn’t there to do the job as glucose cannot enter the cells alone and needs insulin to aid in its transport into the cells.

Without insulin, the cells become starved of glucose energy despite the presence of abundant glucose in the bloodstream. Instead, it builds up in your blood, and your cells starve. This leads to

  • Dehydration as presence of extra sugar in blood we tend to pee more to get ride of sugar in body causing your body to dry out.

  • Due to dehydration glucose goes out and burn calories which will result in weight loss.

  • Suffer diabetic ketoacidosis as body has enough insulin so it builds up in blood along with acidic ketones. This can be life-threatening if not treated right away.

  • Over time, high glucose levels in your blood can harm the nerves and small blood vessels in your eyes, kidneys, and heart.


Doctor recommends to check blood sugar levels. They may even suggest to test your urine for glucose or chemicals your body makes when you don’t have enough insulin.

People are diagnosed if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Random blood sugar test if blood sugar > 200 mg/dL, along with symptoms of diabetes. This is the primary screening test for diabetes. A blood sample is taken at a random time.

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This test indicates average blood sugar level for the past three months. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes.

  • Fasting blood sugar test. A blood sample is taken after fasts overnight. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L) or higher suggests type 1 diabetes.

Doctor may also run blood tests to check for auto-antibodies that are common in type 1 diabetes. These tests help doctor distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes when the diagnosis is uncertain. The presence of ketones byproducts from the breakdown of fat in your urine also suggests type 1 diabetes, rather than type 2.


There’s no cure for type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes don’t produce insulin, so it must be regularly injected into your body. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed with diet and exercise alone, but many people need extra support. Common recommended treatment includes to inculcate below tips -

  • Taking insulin through injection or through insulin pump as insulin cannot be taken as a pill because the juices in the stomach would destroy the insulin's 3-dimensional structure before it could work.

  • Frequent blood sugar monitoring

  • Eating healthy foods

  • Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight

The goal is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible to delay or prevent complications.


  • Adjust your insulin, food, and activities as necessary within range suggested by doctor.

  • Use insulin shots to control their blood sugar

  • Exercise is an important part of treating diabetes. Exercise affects your blood sugar levels so ensure to balance insulin dose and the food you eat with any activity, even simple tasks around the house or yard. Engaging in at least 30 minutes exercise a day on at least 5 days of the week, such as of walking, aerobics, yoga etc.

  • Check blood sugar before, during, and after an activity to find out how it affects you to take precautions accordingly and follow healthy eating plan.

  • Food is a big component of any diabetes treatment plan. So inculcate good food habits and consume fruits, vegetables, lean protein whole grains etc. and monitor carb intake. Its important to learn to count the amount of carbohydrates in the foods you eat so that you can give yourself enough insulin to properly metabolize those carbohydrates. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan that fits your needs.

  • Regular follow-up appointments to ensure good diabetes management and to check his or her A1C levels.

  • Choosing unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, corn oil, or sunflower oil) instead of saturated fats (butter, ghee, animal fat, coconut oil or palm oil.

  • Its important to recognize signs of low blood sugar when exercising, including dizziness, confusion, weakness, and profuse sweating

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes

Doctors often spot it in middle or late pregnancy some form of insulin resistance. If this becomes diabetes, it’s called gestational. It is caused by the hormonal changes and metabolic demands of pregnancy together with genetic and environmental factors.

It’s important to control gestational diabetes to protect the baby's growth and development. Besides, it is more risk for the baby than the mother. A baby might have unusual weight gain before birth, trouble breathing at birth, or a higher risk of obesity and diabetes later in life

It usually goes away after pregnancy, but once you've had gestational diabetes, your chances are higher that you will develop type 2 diabetes later on. Gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes both involve insulin resistance.

Pregnant women who have a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes include those who:

  • Are over 35 years old.

  • Are overweight.

  • Has a family history of diabetes.

  • Has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

  • Having given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

  • Has too much amniotic fluid


All pregnant women should receive an oral glucose tolerance test (glucose challenge test) between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy to look for the condition. Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes may have this test earlier in the pregnancy.


Gestational diabetes treatment involves a careful meal planning to make sure you get enough nutrients without too much fat and calories, regular mild exercise and keeping weight gain under control


Diabetes has become one of the largest public health problems to date. It affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.

The deadly disease prevention is likely to bring huge benefits for individuals, countries and the entire human race as a whole through constraints on human behavior, scientific guidance, and years of persistence and self-discipline.

The planned and systematic approaches used in diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases would no longer be unconquerable diseases affecting human health, and their prevention would greatly enhance the quality of life.