Diabetes is an increasingly common, chronic condition. In the UK, 3.2 million people are currently diagnosed with the disease. Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to properly use the glucose produced in the bloodstream when it is ingested as carbohydrates or produced naturally in the liver. In healthy people, insulin produced by the pancreas allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy. When you have diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugars to build up in your blood. There are two types of diabetes: that in which the body lacks insulin to unlock the cells for glucose usage (Type 1) and another in which there is not enough insulin or malfunctioning insulin (Type 2).
Diabetes can lead to further, serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.
Type 1 diabetes, referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or juvenile-onset diabetes, accounts for only 5-10% percent of all diagnosed cases. Type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), accounts for 90-95% of all cases. It can be brought on by a combination of factors including genetics, obesity, physical inactivity and more.
Diabetes expresses itself either as hypoglycemia (when insulin levels are too low) or hyperglycemia (when insulin levels are too high).
What are the symptoms?
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
– Urinating often
– Extreme feelings of hunger/thirst
– Blurred vision
– Slow healing from injuries
– Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
A diabetes sufferer can suffer a “diabetic attack” as a result of a sudden drop or spike in blood sugar level. A person experiencing a diabetic attack may have a variety of symptoms including confusion, dizziness, fainting, sweating, trembling, headache or nausea. In the case of an attack, medical help should be sought immediately.
What are the treatments?
There is currently no cure for diabetes. The treatment of diabetes usually includes diet control (avoidance of sugar and carbohydrates), exercise, home blood glucose testing, and in some cases, oral medication and/or insulin. Approximately 40% of people with type 2 diabetes require insulin injections that help regulate blood glucose levels.
Studies have shown that regular physical exercise can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has also been linked to obesity and more specifically, storage of body fat in the mid-section in men’s bodies.
Do you have questions about Diabetes? Can you recommend treatments that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below…