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Diabetes by Andrea Puricelli

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In the Unites States today, there are over 25.8 million children and adults living with Diabetes Mellitus. This disease is commonly characterized by having a frequent amount of high glucose, or sugar, levels in the blood. In a healthy person, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin which allows body cells to efficiently take up glucose for different purposes. However, high glucose levels in the blood stream become a problem for a diabetic because this disease lacks the ability to create and/or secrete insulin. Therefore, when one is diagnosed with Diabetes Mellitus he or she must learn how to manage and control diabetes through healthy eating habits and daily doses of insulin.

There are three types Diabetes Mellitus: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational. A fourth type, which is not officially termed as diabetes, is called pre-diabetes. A pre-diabetic patient will have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, however they will not be high enough to be considered a diabetic. With this being said, those diagnosed as a pre-diabetic are urged to make immediate lifestyle changes which can either prevent type 2 diabetes all together or at least delay the onset.

Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. Only five percent of people with diabetes have type 1 and most are, but not limited to, children and young adults. This form of the disease is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that an individual’s immune system has attacked and destroyed the insulin producing cells of the pancreas. When the insulin producing cells, beta cells, are destroyed, no insulin is secreted which allows for glucose to sit in the blood stream and cause serious damage to surrounding organs. To prevent glucose from sitting in the blood stream, and ultimately sustain life, a type 1 diabetic must take insulin daily. Insulin is received either by multiple injections or an insulin pump. Along with receiving daily insulin, a diabetic must take a blood glucose reading on average six times daily. Even though the cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, scientists believe that is autoimmune and genetically related.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder and most often appears after the ago of 40. A person with this form of the disease either does not make a sufficient amount of insulin or their body cells do not efficiently use the available insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of the disease, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnoses. There are both nonmodifiable and modifiable risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes. An individual has no control over the onset which can occur because of age, certain ethnicities, and genetic factors. However an onset can occur because of factors that an individual can control such as: body weight, dietary choices, and physical activity levels. Unlike type 1, type 2 diabetes can be treated by following a strict dietary regimen, participating in regular exercise, and taking prescribed medications.

The last type of diabetes in gestational diabetes, which is having high glucose levels during pregnancy. This type of diabetes occurs in three to eight percent of all pregnancies, and allows for complications for both the mother and the developing baby. Risks for the mother include: difficult labor, high blood pressure, increased infections, and even death. The developing baby has risks that include: defects of the heart, nervous system, and bones, respiratory complications, and even death. It is now also common for mothers who have experienced gestational diabetes to be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes within five to ten years after giving birth.

In the end it is important that an individual diagnosed with one of these types of diabetes follows the necessary steps to control and maintain their diabetes. Each form of diabetes calls for a lifestyle change to avoid the many complications associated with this disease.


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