I was recently diagnosed with diabetes so I have been reading articles about Diabetes online. Here is a short and succinct article that gives a good overview of the disease. I thought you may find it interesting too, whether or not you have this disease.
Definition of DiabetesDiabetes is a disorder of metabolism, the process by which the body uses digested food for energy and growth. Most of the foods we eat are broken down into glucose, a form of sugar in the bloodstream that is used as the body's main fuel source. Insulin, the hormone produced by the pancreas, works together with glucose to help it enter the body's cells to be burned for energy. When people have diabetes, the pancreas either produces too little insulin, or the insulin produced cannot be used by the body. This prevents glucose from entering the cells, which ultimately denies the body of its main source of fuel.
Two Main Types of DiabetesType 1 diabetes occurs because the pancreas produces little or no insulin, which prevents glucose from entering the cells and causes high blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, but is most common among people younger than 20 years old and must be managed by taking daily injections of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, a condition in which the body cannot use the insulin produced by the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is most common in people over age 45 and is usually associated with obesity (approximately 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight), a family history of diabetes, previous history of gestational diabetes, physical inactivity and ethnicity.
Signs and SymptomsWhen the body isn't processing enough glucose, the buildup is secreted into the urine, which passes out of the body. As a result, a person with diabetes will experience the following symptoms:
- Excessive thirst and appetite
- Increased urination
- Dry mouth
- Unusual weight loss or gain
- Weak, tired feeling
- Frequent yeast infections
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
- Nausea, perhaps vomiting
- Itchiness, especially around the groin
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
People with type 1 diabetes usually develop symptoms within days or weeks, while people with type 2 diabetes often don't experience symptoms for years. Signs of diabetes may seem harmless and are often overlooked, but studies show early detection and treatment can greatly reduce the chance of complications.
Risk Factors of DiabetesDoctors do not know why people develop RA, but it is believed to be the body's immune system attacking the tissue that lines a person's joints. More than 2 million people in the U.S. have RA. It is two to three times more common in women than men and typically develops between the ages of 20 and 50.
The following factors increase a person's chance of developing diabetes:
- Family history of diabetes
- Age (older than 45)
- Race or ethnic background
- Poor diet
- Diabetes during a previous pregnancy
- Being overweight, especially around the waist
- Years of heavy alcohol abuse
- History of hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Low activity level
- Abnormal blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels
- Certain drugs (these might increase blood sugar)
- History of gestational diabetes
- Delivery of a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
Managing DiabetesWhile the cure for diabetes is still unknown, the goal of treatment is to keep blood sugars at a relatively even level. The main treatment for people with type 1 diabetes is exercise, a diabetic diet and daily injections of insulin. Insulin injections need to be balanced with meals and exercise, and blood sugar levels must be frequently tested.
When treating type 2 diabetes, doctors will first suggest lifestyle changes such as losing weight, following a diabetic diet and getting regular exercise. Once these measures become less effective in controlling glucose levels, oral medications are often prescribed. If oral medications are still unsuccessful, doctors may recommend insulin treatments.
Glucose levels that are excessively high or low can be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. When blood sugar levels drop too low, a condition called hypoglycemia can occur, which causes a person to become nervous, shaky and confused. In severe cases the person may eventually lose consciousness. However, this condition can be reversed by eating or drinking something sugary, like a candy bar or glass of orange juice.
If you or someone you know has diabetes, making healthy lifestyle choices about diet, exercise and other health-related habits can improve glycemic (blood sugar) control and help prevent or minimize complications of diabetes.
Source: Community Health Talk
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