Diabetes mellitus, along with hypertension, is one of the most common medical conditions in the world. It often co-exists with hypertension in most people. For those who aren’t familiar with it, diabetes is a condition where a person has elevated blood glucose levels. There are two main types of diabetes: I and II.
People usually come to us at JW Family Medicine in Fulshear, Texas, complaining of feeling thirsty, going to the bathroom a lot, and/or repeated infections. That’s when we measure their blood glucose levels in different ways and can establish a diagnosis of diabetes.
At JW Family Medicine, we encourage all people with diabetes to maintain close control of their blood glucose levels. Over time, high glucose levels lead to damage to the vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Many people who suffer from kidney failure have poorly controlled diabetes.
The two types of diabetes are types I and II. Type I usually starts in childhood or adolescence. It happens when a person’s pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to drive glucose into cells. It’s usually more severe than type II diabetes and associated with a higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Type II diabetes is more common and affects adults. In type II diabetes, the insulin is present in mildly reduced amounts, but the main problem is that cells become insensitive to it. The pancreas compensates by trying to produce more insulin until it burns out. People with type II diabetes are usually overweight, but they’re at a lower risk of diabetic ketoacidosis.
Over the past decades, a lot of research and funding have gone into developing treatments for diabetes. While diabetes itself produces minimal symptoms, we treat it out of fear of complications. People with type I diabetes almost always need insulin from the very start to make up for their intrinsic deficiency.
Those with type II diabetes can start with metformin and similar drugs that increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin. After several years, many of those with type II diabetes require insulin when their pancreas burns out.