Diabetes mellitus

Diabetes is also called sugar diabetes.

The word “Diabetes” is from the Greek word meaning “a siphon” because people with diabetes “passed water like a siphon. 

And the word “Mellitus” is from Latin word meaning “honeyed or sweet”.

When diabetes is used alone, it refers as diabetes mellitus.

Diabetes is the condition in which the body does not properly process food for use as energy. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. Blood glucose is main source of energy and comes from the food you eat.  Diabetes is a condition that impairs the body’s ability to process blood glucose, otherwise called blood sugar. It is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose is too high. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called Insulin, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy.

There are three types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gestational

Type 1 diabetes / insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) / childhood diabetes / juvenile diabetes.

  • Pancreas does not make enough insulin.
  • Normally the body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat into blood sugar, which it uses for energy.
  • Insulin is a hormone that the body needs to get sugar from the bloodstream into the cells of the body.
  • In the absence of Insulin, blood sugar can become very high, resulting in vomiting, dehydration, and acidotic blood.
  • Treatment for this type is insulin.
  • Age of diagnosis: usually ages 0-40. Mostly young children or teens.

Type 2 diabetes / non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) / maturity-onset diabetes mellitus / adult-onset diabetes mellitus.

  • Body can’t respond normally to insulin that is made.
  • Body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin properly.
  • Around 75% of people have type 2 diabetes.
  • The body makes insulin but is unable to use it properly due to insulin resistance in the cells.
  • Type 2 is typically treated through lifestyle changes, medications and sometimes insulin as the disease progress.
  • Age of diagnosis: usually ages 40+. Mostly adults increasingly occurring in children and teens who are overweight and obese.

Gestational diabetes

  • When the body is not able to make and use all the insulin it needs for pregnancy.
  • Without enough insulin, sugar cannot leave the blood and be used by cells as a source of energy.
  • Causes high blood sugar levels in pregnancy.
  • Usually, levels are stabilized after giving birth.
  • If not properly treated, can cause complications in both the mother and the infant.

Main causes of diabetes:

Type 1: occurs when your immune system, attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of pancreas. This is called an auto immune reaction, or autoimmune cause, because body is attacking itself.

Type 2: caused by several factors including lifestyle factors and genes.

Early signs and symptoms of diabetes

  • Elevated blood sugar levels
  • Loss of glucose in the urine
  • High amount of glucose in the urine can cause increased urine output (frequent urination) and leads to dehydration
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • Water consumption increased
  • Absolute insulin deficiency leads to weight loss
  • Feeling of pins and needles in the feet
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Frequent infections ( such as infections of bladder, skin, and vaginal areas)
  • Itching skin
  • Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can lead to blurred vision
  • Extremely elevated glucose levels can lead to lethargy and coma
  • Slow healing wound, cuts and sores
  • Bed wetting
  • Increased appetite
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Dark patches on armpits / neck.


Type 1Type 2
Healthy eating and meal planningHealthy eating and meal planning
Increased physical activityIncreased physical activity
Blood sugar checksBlood glucose checks
Insulin injectionsInsulin injections may be needed
 Oral medications may be needed

Risk factors

Type 1Type 2
Family historyFamily history
Environmental factorsOverweight or obese
Viral infectionsEthnicity
Other autoimmune conditionsHigh blood pressure
 Abnormal cholesterol levels
 Physical inactivity
 History of heart disease
 Previous gestational diabetes
 Age (45 years or above)

What parts of our body can be affected by diabetes

  • Nervous system: high blood sugar causes nerve damage, which can cause pain or numbness in hands and feet.
  • Skin: poor circulation and a weakened immune system could lead to dry skin, infections.
  • Brain: increased risk for strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
  • Ears: damage to blood vessels in the ear can cause hearing loss.
  • Eyes: Retinopathy, or the blocking of blood vessels to the eyes, can occur due to diabetes. Higher risk of retinopathy (leading cause of blindness) and glaucoma.
  • Teeth: high blood sugar can lead to infections and raise risk for gum diseases.
  • Liver: fatty liver, which can progress to Carrhosis and may lead to liver transplant.
  • Heart: high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves leading to an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. Higher risk for heart attack, blocked blood vessels, and sudden death.
  • Kidneys: reduced kidney function and higher risk of kidney diseases which could lead to dialysis, kidney transplant, or even death. High blood sugar makes the kidneys filter too much blood and becomes weaker, which over time can cause the filters, or capillaries, to leak useful protein out of the blood and into urine.
  • Pancreas: insulin resistance can cause the pancreas to overexert.
  • Muscles: high blood sugar causes nerve damage, which can cause pain or numbness in hands and feet.
  • Legs and feet: nerve damage and poor circulation causes infections and could lead to amputation. Diabetes can cause Neuropathy, or nerve damage, reduced blood flow, pain, tingling, weakness and decreased ability to heal wounds or ulcers. Changes to the skin and shape of the feet may also occur.

Food and drinks to avoid with diabetes

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: sodas and sweet drinks are high in carbohydrates, which increase blood sugar. Also their high fructose content has been linked to insulin resistance and an increased risk of obesity, fatty liver, and other diseases.
  • Trans-fats: trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their stability. They’ve been linked to inflammation, insulin resistance, increased belly fat, and heart disease.
  • Wheat bread, rice and pasta: high in carbohydrates yet low in fibre. This combination can result in high bloodsugar levels.
  • Fruit flavoured yogurt: usually low in fat but high in sugar, which leads to high blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Sweetened breakfast cereals: many breakfast cereals are high in carbohydrates but low in protein.
  • Flavoured coffee drinks: very rich in liquid carbs, which raise sugar levels and fail to satisfy your hunger.
  • Honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup: they aren’t as processed as white table sugar, but they may have similar effects on blood sugar, insulin and inflammatory markers.
  • Dried fruit: dried fruit become more concentrated in sugar and may contain more than four times as many carbs as fresh fruits doo.
  • Fruit juice: high fructose content can worsen insulin resistance, promote weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease.
  • Pancake syrups
  • Canned fruits
  • French fries
  • Bacon
  • Fast foods
  • Ketchup
  • Milk
  • Bakery products
  • White rice
  • Ice-creams
  • Processed meat
  • Cocktails

Best foods for diabetes

  • Low carb cakes
  • Barey grass
  • Guacamole
  • Avocado sprouts salad
  • Spinach
  • Kale salad
  • Green juice
  • Asparagus
  • Blueberries
  • Melon
  • Oatmeal
  • Red onion
  • Tea
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Flax seeds
  • Cranberries
  • Apple
  • Tomato
  • Soy
  • Raspberries
  • Raw zucchini
  • Lady fingers
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Turnip
  • Ridged gourd
  • White radish
  • Garlic
  • Beet root
  • Fenugreek
  • Indian blackberry
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce leaf
  • Egg white