Diabetes: What is Diabetes? Type 1 diabetes? Type 2 diabetes? – All you need to know!

Diabetes Overview

Seeking, what is Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus? Let’s get some interesting information regarding Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus here.

What is Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes is a clinical syndrome having high blood sugar levels along with extra amount of glucose present in urine. Having high blood glucose levels or high blood sugar levels is known as Hyperglycemia. There are many cause of Hyperglycemia, but main causes are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can be caused due to lack of insulin or insulin resistance. Medically, Diabetes is referred as Diabetes Mellitus. Mainly diabetes is a metabolic disorder.

As per WHO (World Health Organization, in 1980, the number of people with diabetes was 108 million that has raised to 422 million in 2014. (Source: WHO)

Diabetes is a chronic disease (long standing disease). Pancreas is one of the body organ that produces Insulin. Insulin is a one type of hormone that regulates blood sugar levels in the body. Diabetes is mainly due to when there is insulin deficiency, means pancreas fails to produce enough insulin required for body to maintain blood sugar levels or when pancreas produces enough insulin but body fails to use that insulin produced by pancreas. Lack of insulin affects metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats that can lead to water and electrolyte imbalance. Long standing diabetes can cause structural as well as functional changes in body organs such as eyes, kidney or nervous system of the body.

Worldwide types 2 diabetes patients are more common rather than type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is mainly associated with obesity, unhealthy diet, lazy lifestyle and increasing urban craze.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Searching whether you are having normal blood sugar levels or having high blood sugar levels or low blood sugar levels? and for that you must know the normal blood sugar levels.

Normal blood sugar levels for healthy individuals are:

  • Fasting blood glucose level ranges from 72 to 108 mg/dL
  • Two hours after eating blood glucose level should be up to 140 mg/dL
  • Random blood glucose level should be below 200 mg/dL

Normal blood sugar levels for diabetic patients are:

  • Before having meal, blood glucose level should be from 72 to 126 mg/dL for both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes
  • After having meal, blood glucose level should be below 162 mg/dL for type 1 diabetes and below 154 mg/dL for type 2 diabetes
  • Random blood glucose level should be 200 mg/dL or more

Types of Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus are mainly having two types: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Previously, Type 1 diabetes was known as Insulin Depended Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). Type 1 diabetes is mainly due to insufficient production of Insulin required for body to maintain blood glucose level by pancreas. This type of diabetes requires insulin from outside.

What causes Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. In this type, there is destruction of beta cells in the pancreatic islets that are responsible for production of insulin. This insulin deficiency causes high blood sugar levels in body which end up with to diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes may be associated with other diseases that are autoimmune too, such as Thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, Coeliac disease or Vitiligo.

Some other causes for type 1 diabetes are:

  • Some hormones released due to stress may lead to type 1 diabetes.
  • Diet and type 1 diabetes: Smoked and meat containing nitrosamines and coffee are toxins causing diabetes.
  • Some parents are found not giving breastfeeding to their baby in early infancy. There is bad news for them because if they are giving cow’s milk to their babies. Because cow’s milk has Bovine serum albumin (BSA) in it may cause type 1 diabetes.
  • Viral infection to beta cells producing pancreas islets leads to type 1 diabetes. This kind of viruses are mumps, rubella, Epstein-Barr virus, retroviruses, cytomegalovirus, etc.
  • Some studies have shown that in childhood, if child fails to get exposure to microorganisms, limits child body’s immune system to get developed. This can increase risk to autoimmune disease.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 1 diabetes symptoms may include:

  • Glycosuria (Excessive presence of sugar In the urine)
  • Weight Loss
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Polyuria (Excessive production of urine)
  • Infections
  • Nocturia (Excessive urination during night)

Type 2 Diabetes

Previously type 2 diabetes was known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes (NIDDM). In type 2 diabetes, patient have capacity to produce insulin required for the body. But body fails to use that insulin due to insulin resistance. This is the most common form of diabetes in the world.

What causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is complex condition rather than type 1 diabetes due to relative insulin deficiency caused by resistance to insulin action and dysfunction of beta cells.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms are like that of type 1 diabetes such as:

  • Glycosuria (Excessive presence of sugar In the urine)
  • Weight Loss
  • Thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Polyuria (Excessive production of urine)
  • Infections
  • Nocturia (Excessive urination during night)

But type 2 diabetes may be associated with other conditions like hypertension, obesity, cholesterol imbalance due to raised bad cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) levels, reduced good cholesterol (high density lipoprotein) levels due to insulin resistance.

Other types of Diabetes

  • Diabetes due to genetic defects
  • Diabetes due to Pancreatic disease
  • Diabetes due to excessive hormones
  • Drug induced diabetes such as phenytoin, corticosteroids, etc.
  • Diabetes due to viral infections such as mumps, rubella, etc.
  • Gestational diabetes

Diagnosis of Diabetes

Various diabetes tests are listed here:

Urine test: Urine test includes investigation on presence of glucose level, ketone bodies and protein in urine.

Blood test: Blood test measures presence of glucose levels in blood. This method is cheap and more reliable.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): In oral glucose tolerance test plasma glucose is measured. For that sample is taken before having 75-gram oral glucose drink and after 2 hours of taking it. But before giving sample you must keep some instructions in your mind. These instructions are:

  • You are strictly prohibited from having carbohydrates in your meal for 3 days before giving sample.
  • You must be on fast for minimum 8 hours before testing.
  • Rest for at least 30 minutes before giving blood.
  • You must not smoke before or during smoke.

HbA1c: HbA1c is the most commonly used method now a day and it gives more reliable result because it measures average blood glucose levels of last three months.

How to control diabetes?

Mostly diabetes can be controlled by proper diet and lifestyle modifications. Good control on diabetes may give a patient healthy and normal life. Diabetes can be controlled by:

Diet and Lifestyle modifications

  • This includes regular physical exercise, taking healthy diet, elimination of alcohol. More consumption of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Your healthy diet must contain 40% to 60% of carbohydrates, less than 35% of fat and 10% to 15% of protein.
  • Replace sugar diet with sugar free diet.
  • Decrease the intake of salt in our diet. It should not exceed more than 6 grams/day.
  • Weight loss is the success key to fight against diabetes. With proper diet management and regular physical exercises, you can easily reduce weight. It is advisable to do 30 minutes of exercise daily. This should include walking, cycling, gardening or swimming, etc.

Anti-diabetic drugs

Your physician may advice you to take anti-diabetic medicines. These medications include Biguanides, Meglitinides, Sulphonylureas, Thiazolidinediones, etc.

Insulin Therapy


It is said that, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. So be active, do your regular physical activities and have healthy and rich diet to keep diabetes away.




Dr Lifesaving is a team of health professional which provides detailed description of health tips various health related problems, diseases and the treatment (Rx) for the same. We aim at providing ethical, latest knowledge on the various diseases and the various available management modalities. We make it easy for you to understand with various images, videos of the same.

View all posts by