diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that is characterized by high level of glucose in the blood. Imperfection in insulin secretion or its inaction or both are the major causes of diabetes mellitus. In earlier times diabetes mellitus was recognized as a “sweet urine” disease. This was due to the fact that in diabetes excess glucose in the blood spills into the urine. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas that is responsible for the regulation of glucose levels in our blood. When the blood glucose level in the blood rises over the recommended limit either due to the insufficient amount of insulin or its inefficiency a condition called as hyperglycemia occurs. Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition and at best it can be managed and not cured.
There are several complications that can arise due to diabetes. High blood glucose level due to lack of insulin, also called as hyperglycemia. Low blood glucose level due to the presence of high amount of insulin present in the blood, also called as hypoglycemia. Both these conditions can occur due to the defects in the pancreatic cells. Sometimes hypoglycemia/hyperglycemia may also occur due to medications taken for other ailments or other external factors like stress. Severe blood sugar rise in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2 can lead to a increase in blood osmolality (hyperosmolar state) when it is accompanied by dehydration. This condition is rather serious and lead to coma, also called as hyperosmolar coma. This condition is generally seen in patients who have an advanced age. Hyperosmolar coma is a serious condition like diabetic ketoacidosis. Patients in such conditions are treated with intravenous fluids and insulin. However, ketoacidosis does not occur due to diabetes mellitus type 2. this condition is generally seen in patients with diabetes type 1. Diabetes type 2 is generally seen in older people along with other medical conditions. Therefore, the mortality rates in patients with hyperosmolar coma are higher compared to diabetic ketoacidosis.
Abnormally low blood sugar is known as hypoglycemia. This condition occurs due to the excessive use of insulin or other glucose lowering medications. This is a constant treat to patients with diabetes mellitus type 2. This condition may also occur due to absence of meals, as the amount of insulin in the blood is not proportionate to the glucose level in the blood. Sudden excessive physical exertion may also lead to the drop in the blood glucose levels.
Brain cells also require the presence of glucose and hence in case of low blood glucose level an individual may feel dizzy, confused, and weak and may suffer from tremors. Symptoms may vary in different individuals depending on the blood glucose level. Generally it happens when the blood sugar level drops below 65 mg/dl. If left untreated low blood glucose levels leads to coma, seizures and sometimes brain death. For brain death to occur the blood glucose level has to drop below 40 mg/dl.
Age, obesity, activity level and lifestyle are the determining factors in the severity of diabetes mellitus type 2. Patients are generally advised to lead an active life, reduce weight and practice stress relieving exercises like yoga.