Diabetes is characterized by the way the body is able to metabolize carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Therefore, metabolic complications of diabetes are inherent in all patients. The criteria for diagnosis of diabetes are classic displayed symptoms (weight loss, increased daytime glucose levels of 11.1 and higher), fasting glucose of 7.0 or higher, and a postprandial glucose test (PGTT) of 11.1 or higher. Produced by the pancrease, insulin serves multiple functions in the metabolic process. Within seconds of release, insulin increases the transport of glucose, amino acids, and potassium into cells. In minutes it begins to stimulate the synthesis of protein, preventing it’s breakdown, and activation of glycogen synthase and glycogenesis. In hours, insulin increases conversion of glucose to fatty acids (lipogenesis). Function of all things is to increase glucose uptake and use, synthesis of proteins, and storage of fats. Additionally, it reduces the release of glucose from the liver and increased the uptake of glucose into receptive tissues such as muscles.


Metabolic Complications of Diabetes: Type 1 and 2


Type 1 diabetes is caused by the autoimmune destruction of beta-cells within the pancreas, creating insulin deficiency and an excess of glucose. Evidence shows a possible link to genetic predisposition in patients with type1. Type 2 diabetes characteristics are, insulin resistance or insensitivity due to deficiency in the tissue, genetics, or insulin molecule with evidence also showing there may be a genetic link as well as onset due to external factors. Complications of carbohydrate metabolism in diabetics include hyperglycemia (reduced uptake of glucose by tissues), leading to increased food consumption to maintain energy and overproduction of glucose leading to blurred vision and reduced alertness. Lipid (fat) metabolic consequences are decreased synthesis of lipids and resulting in acidosis and ketosis, which can affect breathing, lead to dehydration, coma, and death.


Metabolic Syndrome: Early Presence of Metabolic Complications of Diabetes Patients


Metabolic syndrome is the combination of three or more disorders: obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol; all are high risk factors for diabetes. Knowing the symptoms of metabolic syndrome and treating them before they develop into pre-diabetes or full diabetes are essential. In a study performed by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London, insulin and beta-cell dysfunction are evident up to thirteen years before diagnosis of diabetes. Of 6,538 subjects used in the study without diabetes, 505 were diagnosed in follow-up treatment, displaying steep insulin resistance three to four years before diagnosis. Thus, it is important to work with your doctor and make life-style changes when glucose levels are high even if pre-diabetes has not been diagnosed.