Disease Guide: Diabetes mellitus

As this disease is increasingly gaining ground and causing a decline in quality and life expectancy by leaps and bounds, it is currently considered a major public health problem worldwide. The numbers are already worrisome. According to data from the Alliance for Food Health, between 2006 and 2012 diabetes caused the death in Mexico of about 500 thousand people and increased its incidence by 30%.

In 2006 the diagnosis of people with diabetes in our country was 4.3 million. In 2012 it is 6.4 million. Of these, only 1.6 million have adequate control and 1.8 million already have some complications, including kidney failure, amputation, heart attack or blindness.diabetes mellitus

But that is not all. It is also estimated that about 6 million Mexicans suffer from diabetes and do not know it. And worldwide, it is estimated, there are more than 366 million that by 2025 will increase to 540 (IDF, Diabetes Atlas, Fifth Edition).

And to all this, what is diabetes?

It is a chronic disease of the metabolism that is manifested by elevated levels of glucose in the blood, due to a secretion or deficient action of the insulin, produced by the pancreas. In other words, glucose is the fuel the body needs to function, but it must be entered into the cells by means of insulin, which in turn is produced by the pancreas. When the pancreas does not function properly, then it does not produce enough insulin and the glucose can not enter the cells staying in the blood and raising the sugar levels in it. When this occurs the person is said to have diabetes mellitus.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Increased thirst sensation
  • Tiredness
  • Increased appetite
  • Bad mood
  • Frequently contracting infectious diseases
  • Weight gain (in type II diabetes)
  • Frequent urination
  • Decreased weight (in type I diabetes)
  • It is also considered that it is not only a particular disease, but a family of syndromes that have in common the rise of sugar.

Types of diabetes

The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies diabetes in several types depending on their origin:

Insulin-dependent type I diabetes mellitus

It is the most frequent in children and adolescents and is related to hereditary factors, that is, with a history of parents or diabetic relatives (when a parent suffers from this syndrome, their descendants have a 40% risk and when they are both 80% , However, this increases or decreases according to the life characteristics of the patient). It occurs when cells in the pancreas impede the proper production of insulin (it transports glucose into cells). In these cases it is necessary to inject daily doses of insulin.

Non-insulin dependent type II diabetes mellitus

It is the most frequent, it appears in the adult age and its origin is not known with exactitude but it is related to the obesity and with hereditary antecedents. Therefore, if a person is obese and also has a diabetic family member, it is likely that the person and their offspring are predisposed as well. Obesity has been found to be one of the main triggers, as it is present in up to 90% of cases.

Diabetes mellitus related to poor nutrition and tension

People who have a history and are poorly fed are more likely to have diabetes, as well as those who are constantly at work and overworked.

Diabetes associated with other conditions

These include: pancreas disease, hormonal disease, use of chemicals or drugs, abnormalities in the insulin molecule and certain generic syndromes. Infectious diseases are also a serious risk. Infectious disease viruses such as hepatitis, rubella, mumps, or respiratory infections sometimes damage the pancreas, causing them to have insufficient insulin production.

Gestational diabetes mellitus

Gestational diabetes occurs during the seventh month of pregnancy and ends with childbirth. 2% of pregnant women present it on a temporary basis and a little less than half have the possibility of developing Diabetes mellitus permanently. Risk conditions include: overweight over 12 kilos, spontaneous abortions, history of gestational diabetes and glycemia greater than 105 mg / 100 ml.

Risk factor’s

In addition to obesity, heredity, stress, infectious diseases, can also be mentioned:

  • Age: Tolerance to glucose decreases with age and the frequency of onset increases as the patient progresses.
  • Excess food: When you eat a large amount of foods rich in refined flours and sugars, alcohol, meat, processed foods, canned foods, sodas, etc., diabetes rates increase.
  • Medications: Some decrease glucose tolerance.


This disease has the peculiarity that over time there are other types of illness, including:

  • Decreased vision
  • Loss of sensation in the skin
  • Cramps
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Ulcers in the feet and legs due to poor circulation and weight gain
  • Propensity to acquire urinary tract infections or wounds
  • Slow healing
  • Children who suffer from it may have decreased growth and development in general, as well as loss of weight if they are not well cared for

How is it diagnosed

Through laboratory tests such as

  1. Determination of blood glucose levels fasting or two hours after eating food,
  2. Determination of the presence of glucose in the urine and
  3. oral glucose tolerance curve.

Two determinations of fasting blood glucose (glycemia) reporting levels greater than 140 mg / 100 ml are considered to suggest a diagnosis of Diabetes mellitus, as well as 200 mg / 100 ml of glycemia two hours after eating.

How prevent it

  • Maintain adequate nutrition, do not eat excess refined sugars or saturated fats.
  • Do some physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Prevents overweight, even more obesity and high blood pressure.
  • Do not smoke
  • Take care of your health by avoiding infectious diseases
  • Observe your feet and legs from time to time by paying attention to any changes in skin color or injury.

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