Introduction to Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease where the body is short on insulin or has a decreased production of insulin or both. It affects at least 25 million people in the United States today. Diabetes occurs due to the lack of a hormone called insulin which moves glucose to cells to be converted into energy. If left uncontrolled, the glucose and the fats will remain in the blood and damage vital organs such as kidney, heart or other body organs. If this sad trend continues at the rate it’s going, one in three people could become diabetic in the next generation. There are three main types of diabetes that people need to be aware of.


Type 1 Diabetes

Generally diagnosed in children and younger adults, this is an autoimmune condition that can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. This will account for approximately 5 percent of all diabetic cases. With no known way to prevent the condition, effective treatments will require insulin injections or pills.

Type 2 Diabetes

Ninety to ninety five percent of all diabetic cases are associated with this kind of diabetes. Generally it is diagnosed at an older age with people that are overweight or physical inactivity and occasionally with a family history of the condition or a history of gestational diabetes. This condition can vary by race with it being quite common for American Indians, Alaska Natives, African Americans, Hispanic and Latino as well as Asian and Pacific Islanders. These ethnicities display a much larger population of diabetics than Caucasian adults do. Often preventable by exercise and wise food choices, some may be able to use their diets and activity as forms of treatment and reduce or eliminate the use of insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

This rare glucose intolerance is diagnosed when a woman is pregnant. Occurring more often in African Americans or Hispanic and Latino women as well as American Indian women, it requires treatment of diet or insulin as well as exercise to keep maternal glucose levels at normal levels and avoid the complications presented such as overly large babies which can require Caesarean sections. This accounts for less than five percent of all diabetic cases.

What are the  Symptoms of Diabetes?

Increased thirst, increased hunger and more frequent urination are all symptoms. Patients may complain of being over tired and losing weight or muscle bulk. Type 1 diabetes may develop very quickly within a few weeks or even a few days and type 2 diabetes will develop much more gradually.

What Happens in Diabetes?

The body will stop producing insulin. Because of the lack of insulin, high blood glucose can cause damage to the blood vessels and other organs. This damage can lead to complications such as heart disease, kidney damage, nerve damage, eye diseases and even blindness, impotence and finally a stroke.

If left uncontrolled, it may increase the possibility of infections including gangrene which is why many un controlled diabetics frequently lose limbs.

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Can it Be Prevented?

Following medical advice and staying on the proper diet as well as exercising are all great steps to prevent diabetes. If you suspect you may have it, see your doctor at once.

Is There A Treatment for Diabetes?

Monitor your blood sugar if you’re diabetic and follow your doctor’s orders. Adhere to your treatment and stay on a healthy diet. Take your medications as directed and report anything unusual to your doctor. You may need one or more injections of insulin per day or you may be able to take some pills. It will vary according to how severe your condition is. Your doctor should be notified of any infection you have including minor ones to help avoid amputations in the future.

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