Diabetes is a chronic health condition.
There are Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Millions of people around the
world are unaware that they are suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Many
have no signs or symptoms while, in others, symptoms can be mild and
unnoticeable. People with Type 2 diabetes can usually make some
insulin (a hormone produced by your body, which allows blood sugar or
glucose into your body's cells for energy), but not enough for the
body's requirement to properly break down sugar (glucose) in the
blood. This condition is more common among senior adults and is often
related to being overweight. For Type 2 diabetes, which was formerly
called adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, patient
losing weight and changing their diet can sometimes be enough to
control blood sugar levels. However, some may require tablets. Type 1
diabetes usually occur in people who are under 40 years of age. This
means that their bodies cannot produce any insulin at all, so they
will need to take regular injections of insulin to control their blood
Diabetes mellitus, thought to be a
simple problem of the pancreas being unable to produce insulin,
thereby causing the blood sugar (glucose) to reach extreme heights
which, in turn, would trigger a series of disastrous metabolic
derangements certain to lead to death.
The underlying problem in diabetes is an
inappropriately elevated level of blood sugar, hyperglycemia, which,
when severe, can lead to a state of coma and extreme dehydration.
Persons with diabetes who are predisposed to coma generally produce
little or no insulin, the hormone released from the pancreas to help
sugar get into the body's tissues and which, therefore, keeps the
blood-sugar level within normal range. Diabetes beginning in
childhood, also known as juvenile diabetes, is usually in most cases
due to severe insulin deficiency. But diabetes that first
appears in adulthood or adult-onset diabetes may be associated with
normal or even elevated levels of insulin that are not doing the job.
Indeed, the terms "juvenile" and "adult-onset" are being supplanted
today by the phrases "insulin-dependent" and "insulin-independent",
indicating that these two different forms of diabetes can occur at any
age and that the type of diabetes, rather than the age, becomes the
most important factor in treatment and prognosis. The reason why
the pancreas stops making insulin, or why a given amount of insulin is
less effective at other times, remains poorly understood.
Genetic factors clearly play a role, as diabetes tends to run in
families. However, the pattern of inheritance is far more
complicated than was previously thought, thereby making it impossible
to predict with certainty whether parents with diabetes will transmit
the disease to any of their children.
There are times, though, when
hyperglycemia can be traced to specific causes, including pancreatic
diabetes, in which the cells of the pancreas are destroyed by disease
(such as chronic pancreatitis); endocrine diabetes, in which the
overactivity of various glands (thyroid, adrenal, or pituitary) raises
blood-sugar levels; and drug-induced diabetes, in which hyperglycemia
is caused by drugs such as steroids, diuretics (water pills), or even
birth control pills in some women.
Diet and exercise are the main ways to control and manage
diabetes. People with diabetes should cut back on sugar and fat. They
should learn how to read food labels to check for sugar and
carbohydrate content. An increase in fiber intake to 20 to 35 grams of
fiber per day by consuming more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and
legumes while taking lots of fluids at the same time will help in
controlling and managing diabetes.