Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a disease condition in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

Glucose is very important to our health because it’s an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues, and It is our brain’s main source of fuel.

Types of Diabetes Mellitus

  1. Type 1 diabetes: It is a chronic illness characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin due to the autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas. Although onset frequently occurs in childhood, the disease can also develop in adults can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence.
  2. Type 2 diabetes: According to the American Diabetes Association, type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly, this is called insulin resistance. At the onset, the pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it can’t keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. It can develop at any age, though it’s more common in people older than 40.

Risk Factors and Causes of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes causes vary depending on your genetic makeup, family history, ethnicity, health and environmental factors. There is no common cause of diabetes that fits into the both types, this is because there is no defined diabetes cause.

The causes of diabetes mellitus vary depending on the individual and the type.

Causes of Type 1 Diabetes:

  1. Immune system destroying the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.
  2. Underlying genetic disposition
  3. Viral or bacterial infection
  4. Chemical toxins within food
  5. Unidentified component causing autoimmune reaction

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Family history of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  2. Obesity
  3. Living a sedentary lifestyle
  4. Increasing age
  5. Bad diet


The symptoms of Diabetes vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Polydipsia (Increased thirst)
  • Frequent urination
  • Polyphagia (Extreme hunger)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a by-product of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there’s not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

Some Complications of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Complications of diabetes is directly proportional to the duration of the disease and control of blood sugar. Possible complications include:

  1. Cardiovascular disease.Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you’re more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
  2. Nerve damage (neuropathy).Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.

Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation. For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.

  1. Kidney damage (nephropathy).The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  2. Eye damage (retinopathy).Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  3. Foot damage.Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly. These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  4. Skin conditions.Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  5. Hearing impairment.Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  6. Alzheimer’s disease.Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be. Although there are theories as to how these disorders might be connected, none has yet been proved.
  7. Depression.Depression symptoms are common in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Depression can affect diabetes management.

Management and Treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The Libyan journal of medicine described a good management method as written below

Type 1 diabetes management (Absolute Insulin Deficiency)

  1. Multiple insulin injections as patient is on absolute insulin deficiency.
  2. Insulin pump:Continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) can be considered in insulin dependent patients with good compliance and sufficient education.

Type 2 Diabetes (Relatively Preserved Insulin Secretion)

  1. Diet and physical training as advised by the doctor.
  2. Oral treatment with Metformin or as prescribed by the doctor.
  3. Insulin treatment can be added to ongoing oral treatment.

 Source: American Diabetes Association, Mayo clinic, Cleveland clinic, and Libyan journal of medicine.

Related Article: Complications of Diabetes

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