What Is Diabetes? – Is It A Metabolic Disorder Or A Disease?

What is Diabetes? – Is it a Metabolic Disorder or a Disease?

In this weeks post I’ll talk about why managing diabetes takes some effort and a little education. Learning about this metabolic disorder can give a higher quality of life.

Diabetes is also referred to as diabetes mellitus. It classifies as a collection of metabolic diseases. The person affected by it has high blood sugar levels. The levels could be because of low insulin production or the cells are not responsive to insulin or both. The initial sign of high blood sugar is the frequent need to urinate, constant thirstiness, and hunger.

Fast facts

  1. Diabetes needs a long-term health plan to manage it as a long-term medical condition.
  2. Throughout the world, more than 380 million people are affected by diabetes.
  3. 10% of cases are type 1 diabetes, in which the body fails to produce insulin. 90% are of type 2 diabetes, in which the body produces insulin but not enough to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
  4. Gestational diabetes is the diabetic condition that affects pregnant women.
  5. The most common symptoms are frequent urination, thirst, hunger, weight gain, weight loss, tiredness, non-healing cuts and bruises, sexual dysfunction in males, numbness in limbs etc.
  6. People with type 1 diabetes can lead a normal life with a healthy lifestyle.
  7. People with type 2 diabetes exercise daily, test their blood sugar levels often, take oral medication to control their diabetic conditions.
  8. Diabetics possess an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. They have to control their blood sugar and cholesterol levels to be safe.
  9. Smoking is proven to have an adverse effect on diabetics.


A majority of people affected with type 2 diabetes had prediabetes. Blood sugar in their blood stream was higher than average. But it was not enough to be classified as diabetics. Slowly, their cells become resistant to insulin production and fail to regulate blood sugar levels. At the prediabetes stage, there could have been damage done to the circulatory system and the heart.

Diabetes Starts from Being a Metabolic Disorder

More than a disease, this health condition classifies as a metabolic disorder. Metabolism defines as the process by which the body utilizes digested food for energy and growth. Most of what becomes eaten is broken down to glucose. Glucose is a manifestation of sugar, but not fully sugar. Glucose is the main source of energy in the body.

During digestion, and after it, glucose releases into the blood stream. The cells absorb glucose only with the help of insulin. The pancreas produces insulin, which is a type of hormone. The pancreas releases adequate insulin which is required for absorption of glucose in the cells. A person with diabetes has hyperglycemia (too much glucose in the blood stream). This is because the cells are not responding to insulin or there is not enough insulin. Glucose builds up in the body. Excess glucose is ejected through urination.

Managing Diabetes

One of the keys to keeping blood sugar at a reasonable level comes as reducing stress. Stress increases blood glucose, lowers immunity, and effects digestion. Before increasing medication make life style changes to reduce stress. Over time diabetic needs changes. Sometimes a change in insulin can help since it comes in many forms. Be aware other medications being taken can effect blood glucose level. Setting small goals for yourself makes the condition manageable.  Many support groups exist to help make the transition to a better lifestyle. Take advantage of any diabetic health care teams offered by health care physicians.


Patients are requested to undertake tests such as A1C, FPG and OGTT to determine if they have diabetes. Blood sugar ranges widely in many people during a day and of course eating effects it as well. Find an optimum time to become tested.

Medical information such as contained in this article should be viewed through your needs. Take into account your individual needs and adapt accordingly.

Marc Dressen, MSc
Personal Trainer London

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