Acute diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, is the sudden inability for the body to metabolize glucose due to insulin resistance. Treatment generally involves regular monitoring of one’s blood sugar and the implementation of dietary and lifestyle changes. In some cases, the administration of insulin or use of medications may be necessary to regulate blood sugar levels and avoid the potential for life-threatening complications.
Though it is unknown as to what triggers the onset of acute diabetes, a variety of genetic and behavioral factors may contribute to its development. Individuals who do not get sufficient, regular exercise or struggle with obesity often are at an increased risk for becoming symptomatic. Women with a history of gestational diabetes or those with prediabetes also may be susceptible to developing acute diabetes. Additional factors that are thought to contribute to disease onset are familial history and age.
A diagnosis of acute diabetes is generally made with the administration of a blood test, known as a glycated hemoglobin (A1C). With a single administration, the test offers an overall three month average of one's blood sugar levels. Individuals who are unable to have an A1C test performed may undergo more traditional blood testing, such as a blood sugar test that requires one to fast overnight prior to testing.
Acute diabetes presents when the body does not possess enough insulin to metabolize the sugar one naturally produces and consumes through his or her diet. Considered the main fuel that runs the body's various systems, glucose is regulated by the liver, which is in charge of sugar production, storage, and distribution. As the liver works to regulate glucose, the pancreas produces the insulin hormone that works to keep one’s glucose levels in check. In the presence of insufficient insulin, glucose can accumulate in the bloodstream causing a variety of adverse physiological responses.
Individuals with high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, often develop a variety of signs and symptoms indicating that something is wrong. Frequently, high blood sugar levels will cause one to experience excessive thirst and hunger. It is not uncommon for individuals with unregulated, acute diabetes to exhibit pronounced weight loss and fatigue as well.
If left untreated, acute diabetes can lead to the development of life-threatening complications. Unchecked symptoms can progress, leading to the development of conditions that seriously compromise organ function, such as kidney or heart failure. The health of one’s blood vessels and nerves also may become jeopardized in the presence of high blood sugar levels, leading to decreased circulation and impaired nerve function. Diabetic individuals with compromised circulation and nerve function oftentimes are at an increased risk for infection, amputation, and other serious complications that negatively impact immunity and the body's ability to heal itself.
Treatment for acute diabetes is centered on regulating and stabilizing one’s blood glucose levels. Successful treatment typically involves adhering to a strict schedule of monitoring one’s food intake, including portion sizes and time of day, and blood sugar levels. Dietary changes often include decreasing one’s intake of fatty, high sugar foods and increasing his or her consumption of fruits and vegetables. Lifestyle changes often include increasing one’s physical activity, limiting one’s alcohol intake, and healthy stress management. Some individuals may require the use of insulin therapy or medications to regulate insulin production and stabilize blood sugar levels.