Diabetes

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Diabetes is defined as an absolute (Type I) or relative (Type II) lack of insulin. The body uses insulin to push glucose into cells. Glucose is the cells’ energy source. Without glucose, the cells are unable to get energy, therefore resulting in organ failure and other complications. Diabetes is characterized by the existence of glucose in the urine (the reason Diabetes mellitus translates into “sweet urine.”
Three most common signs of Diabetes:
-Constant thirst (due to excessive glucose in the urine. Urine must be diluted with water.)
-Constant hunger (due to cells’ lack of energy)
-Polyuria (constant urination. due to excess consumption of water)

Type I is usually diagnosed in childhood. This is due to the genetic component.
Type II is usually diagnosed later in life. This is due to the relation to lifestyle choices. Obesity is a major risk factor for this disease.

Diabetes 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 Type 1 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.

Type 2 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 resistance. In response to this more insulin may be produced, and this over-production exhausts the insulin-manufacturing cells in the pancreas;
there is simply insufficient insulin available; and
the insulin that is available may be abnormal and therefore doesn’t work properly.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

There are 20.8 million children and adults in the United States, or 7% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 14.6 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 6.2 million people (or nearly one-third) are unaware that they have the disease.

In order to determine whether or not a patient has pre-diabetes or diabetes, health care providers conduct a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Either test can be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends the FPG because it is easier, faster, and less expensive to perform.

With the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl signals pre-diabetes. A person with a fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes.

In the OGTT test, a person’s blood glucose level is measured after a fast and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. If the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, the person tested has pre-diabetes. If the two-hour blood glucose level is at 200 mg/dl or higher, the person tested has diabetes.

Recently Diagnosed?
This area of our Web site can help ease your fears and teach you more about living with diabetes or caring for someone with diabetes, and connect you with others affected by diabetes who will listen and share their own experiences.

Visit the Recently Diagnosed area of diabetes.org

Many people, however, may notice one or more of the following diabetes warning signs:

Urinating frequently. Since your kidneys must remove the excess glucose from your blood, it ends up in your urine, which can cause more frequent urination with more volume.
Increased thirst. When you lose an increased amount of fluid through frequent urination, you may become dehydrated and thirsty. You?ll notice that you are drinking more fluids to stay hydrated.
Excessive hunger. You may notice that you feel hungry all the time. Your body is unable to use the glucose you have and is trying to tell you it needs more fuel.
Unexplained weight loss. Since your body is unable to use your blood glucose effectively, it begins to break down your energy stores such as fat, which can result in weight loss or a failure to gain weight in growing children. This can happen even though you are hungry and eating more.
Fatigue. Feeling tired is a common diabetes symptom because your body cannot convert the glucose in your blood into usable energy.
Irritable mood. Along with hunger and fatigue, it is not uncommon to feel irritable when you have diabetes.
Blurred vision. High blood glucose levels can cause you to temporarily experience blurred vision

Diabetes usually gets worse over time though, and diet and exercise may not work as well as they did before. So you may need medicines to reduce the level of blood glucose (blood sugar).

Your GP or diabetes health care team will need to measure your long-term blood glucose level every 2-6 months. This is called the HbA1c level. A target level will be set for you and it will usually be less than 7.5%.

You can also measure your blood glucose at home using a finger prick blood test.

Type 2 Diabetes medication (glucose-lowering medication) will usually be needed if diet and exercise are not effective in controlling your blood glucose levels. Initial treatment involves giving a tablet called metformin, which works by reducing the amount of glucose that your liver releases into your bloodstream. It also makes your body’s cells more responsive to insulin.
Regular check-ups are required because your eyes and feet may be affected (diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy

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