The pancreas is an organ in our body that aids in digestion when we eat. It not only produces enzymes to aid in digestion of food but it also produces insulin to help the glucose molecules after a meal to enter our individual cells.
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that occurs when the pancreas can either no longer produce insulin or it can produce it but the body is no longer responding well to the insulin that the pancreas produces. The former is type 1 diabetes mellitus and the latter is type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Both conditions can lead to an increased levels of sugars in the body leaving the cells to starvation since it cannot shift the glucose molecules into the cells. Increased blood glucose levels are harmful over time and can cause numbness to develop in the feet moving upward to the calves as well as the hands in what is commonly known as the “stocking and glove” distribution.
This occurs due to the damaged nerves resulting from glucose molecules binding to nerves. Not even chest pain can be felt in some cases due to numbness that develops when having a heart attack leading to death/and or disability. The nervous system is also important in digestion and because of diabetes left uncontrolled it can lead to slow gastric motility known as gastroparesis causing symptoms including feeling of fullness and nausea.
Other consequences include vision changes due to the damaged blood vessels in the eye also from high glucose levels. Uncontrollably high sugars may also result in damaged kidneys. The role of the kidneys are to filter the blood 24 hours a day 7 days a week without fail. Even as we sleep our kidneys are filtering around the clock. Filtering produces waste that is excreted through urine. Overtime, the damaged kidney’s filtering mechanism is compromised leaking protein into the urine.
Many other consequences not discussed above have been known to cause a problem with healthy living making it important to be screened with blood tests. Normal levels include a fasting sugar of less < 126 and or random blood glucose of no more than 200 as well as a hemoglobin A1c no greater than 6.5. If a fasting sugar is greater than 126, random sugar > 200 and/or hemoglobin A1c > 6.5, then the individual most likely has diabetes mellitus.