Diabetes De-Mystified: Straight Facts On A Serious Disease

Diabetes De-Mystified: Straight Facts On A Serious Disease

Diabetes is a chronic disease that begins when your body either doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use insulin effectively. Insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas, helps your body make energy from food. Without insulin, your blood sugar can rise to dangerously high levels, because the glucose (sugar) in your blood isn't being used by your cells to make energy. Glucose remains in your bloodstream and becomes excessive, and this can cause many health problems.

How many people are affected by diabetes?
Diabetes is very common. The disease and its complications claim close to 200,000 lives a year and impair quality of life for many more. Nationwide, some 16 million people have diabetes. Yet over half of these people don't even know they have it!

Why is diabetes under-diagnosed?
Symptoms of diabetes are sometimes so mild that they are ignored, denied, or simply regarded as a normal part of aging. Most people are not happy to learn they have a disease, and so may resist going to see their doctors until symptoms become severe. Some people don't even have a doctor whom they see regularly, so it's unlikely they would receive an annual physical that might suggest diabetes. Often, the disease is discovered when the patient sees the doctor for another medical problem.

Are there different types of diabetes?
Yes. Two main types of diabetes account for the majority of cases in the United States. In Type I diabetes (Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or IDDM), the pancreas does not make enough insulin, or only a small amount. This form of the disease is most common in children and young adults, and must be treated with daily injections of insulin. Approximately 10% of all Americans with diabetes have Type I. Type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM) is the most common form, accounting for about 90% of cases. It usually affects adults over 30. In Type II, the pancreas produces some insulin, but it's not used effectively by the body.

What puts you at greatest risk for diabetes?
Factors putting you at highest risk include: a family history of diabetes; obesity; increasing age; lack of exercise; stress; certain drugs and alcohol; race (Hispanic Americans, native Americans, and black Americans are more prone to the disease).

"How do I know I have diabetes for sure?"
The classic symptoms are excessive thirst and urination, weakness and fatigue, blurred vision, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, and recurring skin, genital, or urinary tract infections. However, your physician must perform blood and urine tests to rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms before confirming a diagnosis.

Diabetes is highly treatable and can be controlled.
Your treatment will depend on the type of diabetes you have, your age, and general state of health. Usually, treatment consists of insulin replacement (in Type I), insulin or other medication (in Type II), dietary modifications and meal management, regular exercise, and maintenance of ideal body weight. In addition, consistent monitoring of blood sugar levels and regular medical checkups are very important.

Caring for yourself with diabetes will change your daily routine, but not following a treatment plan is dangerous. Untreated, diabetes can cause substantial damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves, and blood vessels. Problems in the legs and feet, such as ulcers or gangrene, are also common and may lead to amputation. Most people with diabetes can live normal, productive and fulfilling lives if under proper medical care. Indeed, early diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and control of the disease are essential to the maintenance of heath.

For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes, talk with your family doctor or contact:

American Diabetes Association
1660 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA


The CDC's Diabetes Home Page

American Association of Diabetes Educators' Diabetes Links

Similar of Diabetes De-Mystified: Straight Facts On A Serious Disease

It's Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes (Tips for People at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes)

It's Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes (Tips for People at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes) As you get older, your risk for type 2 diabetes increases. If you are age 60 or more and over-weight, you are at risk for type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. A

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a condition caused by the lack of the hormone insulin produced by the pancreas, or when the hormone is ineffective. It is a

Diabetes: are you at Risk from the World’s Fastest Growing Disease?

Diabetes: are you at Risk from the World’s Fastest Growing Disease? Risk Factors: I am over 40 years old. I have (or have had) a blood relative with diabetes. I have had a baby weighing more than 4 kgs (9 pounds), or have

Three Common Misconceptions about the Two Kinds of Diabetes

Diabetes is the most common chronic, serious ailment in the US. It's the leading cause of both blindness and kidney failure. It can cause nerve damage that

What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

The symptoms of type 1 diabetes often occur suddenly and can be severe. They include: Increased thirst Increased hunger (especially after eating) Dry mouth

Diabetes Related Q & A

1. I have same of the Symptom of diabetes such as thirsty frequent urination feeling hungry relating of the skin, but my fasting blood sugar is 5.5 and after

Diabetes - General Information

Diabetes Diabetes is a condition which results when a person's body doesn't make any insulin, enough insulin, or doesn't use insulin the right way. Insulin is a hormone



Post new comment