What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition when the pancreas in the human body fails to produce insulin. Incidentally, insulin is the hormone that converts the sugar in the food into energy. Insufficient secretion of insulin by pancreas results in excess glucose level in the bloodstream, resulting in diabetes. The blood glucose is required to be used up to provide energy and fuel to the body, in order to do its work. If the level of glucose is high, it eventually affects the body parts.

Cause of Disease

Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough or any of the hormone insulin, or when the insulin produced doesn’t work effectively. In diabetes, this causes the level of glucose in the blood to be too high.

In Type1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed, causing a severe lack of insulin. This is thought to be the result of the body attacking and destroying its own cells in the pancreas known as an autoimmune reaction.

It’s not clear why this happens, but a number of explanations and possible triggers of this reaction have been proposed. These include:

  1. Infection with a specific virus or bacteria;

  2. Exposure to food-borne chemical toxins;

  3. Exposure as a very young infant to cow’s milk, where an as yet unidentified component of this triggers the autoimmune reaction in the body.

However, these are only hypotheses and are by no means proven causes.

Type2 diabetes is believed to develop when:

The receptors on cells in the body that normally respond to the action of insulin fail to be stimulated by it – this is known as insulin may be produced and this over – production exhausts the insulin - manufacturing cells in the pancreas;

  1. There is simply insufficient insulin available;

  2. The insulin that is available may be abnormal and therefore doesn’t work properly.

The following risk factors increase the changes of someone developing Type2 diabetes:

  1. Increasing age, obesity & physical inactivity.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

  1. Excessive thirst

  2. Frequent urination

  3. Weight loss

  4. Blurred vision

  5. Increased hunger

  6. Frequent skin, bladder or gum infections

  7. Irritability

  8. Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

  9. Slow to heal wounds

  10. Extreme unexplained fatigue

  11. Sometimes there are no symptoms (type 2 diabetes) who is at greatest risk for developing diabetes?

Who are likely to be affected:

  1. Are 45 or over

  2. Are overweight

  3. Are habitually physically inactive

  4. Have previous been identified as having IFG(impaired fasting glocose) or IGT (impaired glucose tolerance)

  5. Have a family history of diabetes

  6. Have members of certain ethnic groups (including Asian American, African-American, Hispanic-American, and native American)

  7. Have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a child weighing more than 9 pounds

  8. Have elevated blood pressure

  9. Have an HDL cholesterol level (the ? good ? cholesterol) of 35 mg/dl or lower and/or a triglyceride level of 250 mg/dl or higher

  10. Have polycystic ovary syndrome

  11. Have a history of vascular disease

What are the long - term complications of diabetes?

  1. People with diabetes are two to four more times likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those who don’t have diabetes.

  2. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness among adults between 20 and 74 years old.

  3. Diabetes is the leading cause of treated end – stage kidney disease in the U.S

  4. More than 60 percent of the limb amputations in the U.S occur among people with diabetes.

  5. About 60 – 70 percent of the people with diabetes have mild to severe nerve damage.

Diabetes complications

  1. Neuropathy (nerve disease)

  2. Retinopathy (eye disease)

  3. Arteriosclerosis (vessel disease)

  4. Nephropathy (kidney disease)

  5. Hypoglycemia

  6. Digestive disorders

  7. Oral complications

  8. Infections

  9. Ketoacidosis