Diabetes
Last Edited: April 10th, 2012

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Diabetes

Diabetes is known to many as the 'silent killer' because of the damage it can do to a person without them even knowing they have this chronic disease. Diabetes is a result of a body that has a problem regulating its own blood sugar. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas produces which controls blood sugar; with diabetes, there is either too much or too little insulin getting produced by the body.

A normal body takes food after it has been digested and converts it into glucose to be delivered into the bloodstream. This glucose is what provides the body its energy. Insulin is constantly moving glucose from the bloodstream into liver cells, muscle, and fat so that it can be utilized as fuel.

The diabetic has problems because the glucose is not properly being delivered to the liver cells, muscle, and fat. This happens when the pancreas is making too much insulin, the body is not responding properly to insulin, or there is a combination of both factors at work.

Types of diabetes

Type 1

While most often diagnosed in children, Type 1 Diabetes can occur at any. With this particular type of diabetes, the body makes little to no insulin at all. The cause of this type of diabetes is unknown. Treatment for Type 1 Diabetes involves taking daily injections of insulin.

Type 2

Most diabetes cases fall into this category. Type 2 Diabetes is more likely to occur in a person’s adult life; however, in recent years, more young people are being diagnosed with this type of diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is closely linked with bad eating habits and obesity. Type 2 Diabetes is particularly dangerous because a person can have it and be unaware.

Gestational Diabetes

When a woman acquires diabetes as a result of her pregnancy, it is known as Gestational Diabetes. Women diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes did not have the disease prior to becoming pregnant. This typically occurs because the hormones that are in the body during pregnancy are somehow able to interfere with insulin, which is also a hormone. Typically, Gestational Diabetes will go away after a woman has delivered her baby.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Frequent urination – because insulin is not present, the kidneys are unable to filter the excess sugar it is holding; to compensate, the kidneys pull extra water out of the blood to get rid of the additional sugar. The bladder is constantly filled from this process making the individual have to visit the bathroom more frequently.

Tingling extremities– any tingling in the hands, legs or feet could indicate diabetes in a person. Over time, having high levels of blood glucose will cause nerve damage. This damage occurs gradually over time. It is called neuropathy and can be improved if blood glucose is closely monitored.

Weakness and fatigue– because glucose is not able to be effectively delivered into the cells via insulin, many report feeling more tired than usual for extended periods of time despite getting enough rest.