Diabetes Mellitus

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Diabetes mellitus is often simply known as diabetes and describes a condition where you have high levels of sugar in your blood. If you are diabetic, high levels of sugar are allowed to build up in your blood either because your body is not able to produce insulin, or because your body is no longer responding to the insulin that it is producing. Insulin is a molecule that is normally produced by β cells in the pancreas that signals the body to absorb some of the sugar from your blood (to reduce the blood sugar levels back down to normal). The three most common symptoms of diabetes are; frequent urination, increased thirst and increased hunger. Diabetes mellitus is general described in three different types. Type I diabetes occurs when your body’s own immune system attacks your β cells in a way that prevents them from producing any insulin. If you have type I diabetes you will have to inject insulin into your body in order to control your blood sugar levels. Type II diabetes (which is more common) occurs due to a lifestyle that has caused your body to stop responding to the insulin released by your β cells. This most commonly occurs in people whose bodies have been over exposed to insulin so that they have essentially become desensitized to this important signalling molecule. This is why obesity greatly increases your risk of developing diabetes type II. The third type of diabetes is known as gestational diabetes and occurs in pregnant women. However, gestational diabetes has few symptoms and your blood sugar level usually returns to normal after birth (although in a proportion of women gestational diabetes can develop into type II diabetes). If you have gestational diabetes you should be aware of your higher risk of developing certain pregnancy related conditions (such as pre-eclampsia) and a larger likelihood of requiring a caesarean section.

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