Non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is a disease that results in high blood sugar (glucose) levels because the body cells do not respond properly to the insulin that is produced.
Insulin is a hormone that is secreted when there is an elevated level of sugar in the blood. The job of insulin is to push excess sugar out of the blood and into body cells where it can be used as a source of energy.
Non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus "results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency."(1) The reason the body cells resist the affects of insulin is not completely understood.
Non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus is known by different names including type 2 diabetes and adult-onset diabetes. The name adult-onset diabetes suggests that the disease begin to develop in the adult years of life however, a recent trend shows the age of onset becoming younger, with this type of diabetes being seen in young adults and children.
The symptoms of this disease tend to develop slowly over time. This makes the disease difficult to recognize and it is estimated that approximately one-third of people with this type of diabetes are unaware of their condition.
Symptoms can include excessive urination, excessive thirst, excessive hunger, chronic fatigue, a loss of weight, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, delayed healing of cuts or bruises, blurred vision and dry or itchy skin.
If any of these symptoms are present you should seek a consultation with your doctor, especially if you are overweight or inactive as these are common risk factors for the development of diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic disease but it can often be successfully managed with lifestyle changes. If diagnosed with the disease, your doctor will recommend changes to your diet which include following a diabetes food guide and talk with you about ways to increase your activity level.
If you are overweight you will be better able to manage the disease by losing weight. In some cases diet and exercise changes will not be enough and medications for diabetes will be prescribed.
(1) Wikipedia (2010) Diabetes mellitus. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes_mellitus