What Is Diabetes | Types & Causes Of Diabetes | Root & Leaf

Diabetes is a major health issue in humans. If you have diabetes, your body produces insufficient insulin. With the flow of time, this can lead to medical concerns.

Overview- What is Diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus commonly referred to as Diabetes is a chronic metabolic health disorder in which blood glucose remains high due to insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas or our body’s inability to make use of it. Glucose is our body’s source of energy and is obtained by breaking down the food we eat, which is then released into the bloodstream.

Glucose present in the bloodstream stimulates the pancreas to release insulin which is the hormone responsible for the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into cells. When the pancreas is not able to make enough insulin or our cells stop responding to it, glucose from the food remains in the bloodstream causing hyperglycemia ( high glucose level in blood ) which over a long period of time can potentially damage other tissues and organs of the body. This is referred to as Diabetes.

Types and Causes

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus is an autoimmune disorder wherein the immune system kills or destroys the beta cells of the pancreas responsible for insulin production.

It is characterized by low insulin production and one has to continuously manage their blood glucose by regular administration of insulin therefore it is known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes.

Although Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus can occur at any age, it is mostly diagnosed in children and young adults and is therefore also known as childhood-onset diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a Lifestyle induced disorder mainly caused by physical inactivity and obesity ( excess body weight ) wherein the body cannot make use of the insulin present in the bloodstream.

It is also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus or Adult-onset Diabetes and accounts for around 90% of the total diabetes cases worldwide.

It is more common in adults but is now being increasingly frequently diagnosed in children too.

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus occurs in pregnant females wherein blood glucose levels are higher than normal but lower than Type 2 Diabetes.

This condition can result in increased complications during pregnancy and delivery. Both the mother as well as the child are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in the future.

LADA- Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults

Lada occurs in adults and sets in like Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus but is an autoimmune disorder like Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

Because it shares features of both Type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, it is also referred to as Type 1.5 Diabetes Mellitus.

LADA is often misdiagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus but it progresses faster than Type 2. If one isn’t overweight and physically inactive and is diagnosed with Type 2, chances are that he/she has LADA.


General Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus include:

Increased urination

Increased thirst

Increased hunger

Chronic fatigue

Weight loss

Blurred vision

Slow-healing wounds and sores

Numbness or tingling sensation in hands and feet

Weakened immunity

Other Symptoms in Men:

Loss of muscle mass and strength

Increased size of the belly

Decreased sex drive

Erectile dysfunction

Other Symptoms in Women

Urinary Tract Infection

Vaginal Yeast infection

Dry, Irritable, and Itchy skin


Loss of sensation and Sexual Dysfunction


Fasting Plasma Glucose Test

It is a relatively inexpensive, simple yet accurate test that measures the glucose level in your blood and is done when a person has had nothing to eat or drink except water for 8 or more hours, usually in the morning before breakfast.

Plasma glucose level less than 100 mg/dl ( 5.6 mmol/L ) is normal. 101-125 mg/dl ( 5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L ) indicates Prediabetes. You are diagnosed with diabetes if your plasma glucose level is 126 mg/dl ( 7 mmol/L ) or more in 2 separate tests.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

After an overnight fast i.e. 8 hours or more without eating and drinking anything except water, the fasting blood sugar level is measured. Then a sweet solution is given and blood sugar levels are again measured periodically for 2 hours.

If the blood sugar level is less than 140 mg/dl ( 7.8 mmol/L ), it is considered normal. A blood sugar level between 140 mg/dl and 199 mg/dl ( 7.8 to 11 mmol/L ) is considered prediabetes. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dl ( 11.1 mmol/L ) or more is considered diabetes.

Random Plasma Glucose Test

A blood sample is taken at a random time regardless of when you last ate. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dl ( 11.1 mmol/L ) or more indicates diabetes.

Glycated Haemoglobin A1c Test

This test does not require fasting and measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to hemoglobin. It is indicative of the person’s average blood sugar level in the last 3 months. The higher the blood sugar, the more glucose is attached to hemoglobin.

A1c level below 5.7% is normal. A1c level between 5.7 and 6.4% indicates prediabetes. A1c level of 6.5% and above on 2 separate tests indicates diabetes.

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