Diabetes Mellitus (DM)
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a group of diseases which influence the body’s use of blood sugar. It is primarily characterized by persistent high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Type 1 and 2 diabetes are chronic conditions while gestational diabetes often resolves after giving birth.
In Type 1 DM, the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin and it typically manifests during childhood or adolescence; its exact cause is still unknown though it has been linked with family history. In Type 2 DM, the body’s cells are unable to appropriately respond to insulin and it often appears during middle age; it is usually attributed to a combination of obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and genetics. The symptoms of Type 1 DM and Type 2 DM include increased thirst and hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, slow healing wounds, frequent infections, irritability, blurred vision, and ketones (byproduct of muscle and fat breakdown which signals low insulin levels) in the urine.
In gestational DM, the pancreas of pregnant women fails to produce sufficient insulin to handle the increasing blood sugar level which is caused by the hormones produced by the placenta. This often appears after the first trimester of pregnancy and most affected women do not feel alarming symptoms. However, possible complications include depression, preeclampsia, and Caesarean section. Also, babies who are born to women with this condition have increased risk of jaundice, low blood sugar level, being overweight, and may even be stillborn. Most patients receive the diagnosis only after testing blood sugar levels and verifying the presence of ketones in the urine.