Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger). There are three main types of diabetes: * Type 1 diabetes: results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin. Also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, IDDM for short, and juvenile diabetes. ) * Type 2 diabetes: results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. (Formerly referred to as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, NIDDM for short, and adult-onset diabetes. ) * Gestational diabetes: is when pregnant women, who have never had diabetes before, have a high blood glucose level during pregnancy. It may precede development of type 2 DM. (1)
In the Philippines, according to the Department of Health (DOH), an estimated four million Filipinos suffer from diabetes. It appears that most Filipinos suffer from Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Early signs are lethargy, extreme thirst, and frequent urination. Other symptoms may include sudden weight loss, slow wound healing, urinary tract infections, gum disease, or blurred vision. It is not unusual for Type II diabetes to be detected while a patient is seeing a doctor about another health concern that is actually being caused by the yet undiagnosed diabetes.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a potentially life-threatening complication in patients with diabetes mellitus. It happens predominantly in those with type 1 diabetes, but it can occur in those with type 2 diabetes under certain circumstances. DKA results from a shortage of insulin; in response the body switches to burning fatty acids and producing acidic ketone bodies that cause most of the symptoms and complications. (2) DKA may be the first symptom of previously undiagnosed diabetes, but it may also occur in known diabetics due to a variety of causes, such as intercurrent illness or poor compliance with insulin therapy.
Vomiting, dehydration, deep gasping breathing, confusion and occasionally coma are typical symptoms. DKA is diagnosed with blood and urine tests; it is distinguished from other, rarer forms of ketoacidosis by the presence of high blood sugar levels. Treatment involves intravenous fluids to correct dehydration, insulin to suppress the production of ketone bodies, treatment for any underlying causes such as infections, and close observation to prevent and identify complications. (2) DKA is a medical emergency, and without treatment it can lead to death.