Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either
because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience
polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
The body does not produce insulin. Some people may refer to this type as insulin-dependent diabetes, juvenile diabetes, or early-onset diabetes. People usually develop
type 1 diabetes before their 40th year, often in early adulthood or teenage years. Patients with diabetes will need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must
also ensure proper blood-glucose levels by carrying out regular blood tests and following a special diet.
The body does not produce enough insulin for proper function, or the cells in the body do not react to insulin (insulin resistance). Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes
worldwide are of this type. Some people may be able to control their diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring
their blood glucose levels. However, diabetes is typically a progressive disease - it gradually gets worse - and the patient will probably end up have to take insulin, usually in
tablet form. Overweight and obese people have a much higher risk of developing diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight. People with a lot of visceral fat, also
known as central obesity, belly fat, or abdominal obesity, are especially at risk. Being overweight/obese causes the body to release chemicals that can destabilize the
body's cardiovascular and metabolic systems. The risk of developing diabetes is also greater as we get older. Experts are not completely sure why, but say that as we age
we tend to put on weight and become less physically active. Those with a close relative who had diabetes, people of Middle Eastern, African, or South Asian descent also
have a higher risk of developing the disease. Men whose testosterone levels are low have been found to have a higher risk of developing diabetes. Researchers from the
University of Edinburgh, Scotland, say that low testosterone levels are linked to insulin resistance