- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How To Acquire Diabetes
In the US alone, nearly 200,000 deaths per year has been reported due to Diabetes.
If neglected, diabetes can cause extremely severe health complications, ranging from blindness to kidney failure. Diabetes is often considered as a silent disease, much like cancer and nearly five out of ten people are unaware that they have diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas loses its ability to create insulin, the chemical necessary to regulate blood sugar levels. It is affecting the manner in which the body handles digested carbohydrates. As we take in food, a substance called glucose enters through the bloodstream, and it is insulin's role to make sure that that glucose is carried to different parts of the body, in turn fuels us with the energy we need.
Diabetics have a high level of blood glucose. Blood sugar level is regulated by insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which releases it in response to carbohydrate consumption. Insulin causes the cells of the body to absorb glucose from the blood. The glucose then serves as fuel for cellular functions.
Around eight percent of the population in the United States has diabetes. This means that around sixteen million people have been diagnosed with the disease, based only on national statistics. The American Diabetes Association estimates that diabetes accounts for 178,000 deaths, as well as 54,000 amputees, and 12,000-24,000 cases of blindness annually. Blindness is twenty-five times even more common among diabetic patients in comparison with nondiabetics. If current trends continue, by the year 2010 complications of diabetes will exceed both heart disease and cancer as the leading cause of death in America.
The many symptoms of diabetes include excessive urination, excessive thirst and hunger, sudden weight loss, blurred vision, delay in healing of wounds, dry and itchy skin, repeated infections, fatigue and headache. While suggestive of diabetes, these symptoms can also be caused by other factors, and therefore anyone with symptoms suspicious of the disease should be tested.
So how did we get such a disease?
A known fact about diabetes is that it can be hereditary, especially if a family member has a history of diabetes. Obesity is also one of the most common factors, leading to the lack of exercise and high blood pressure levels. US studies have shown that diabetes can also develop when a mother gives birth to a child who weighs more than 9 pounds.
There are two types of diabetes
The Type 1 diabetes inflicts mostly children when the pancreas completely loses its ability to secrete insulin. Common diabetic symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination and continued weight loss despite of excessive hunger. They begin to be insulin dependent and its dire results may also include blindness and amputation of certain limbs in the body. If untreated, Type I or juvenile diabetes can lead to death within two to three months of the onset, as the cells of the body starve because they no longer receive the hormonal prompt to absorb glucose. While a great majority of Type I diabetics are young (hence the term Juvenile Diabetes), the condition can develop at any age. Autoimmune diabetes is diagnosed by an immunological assay which shows the presence of anti-insulin/anti-islet-cell antibodies.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than Type 1. Its symptoms may include those of Type 1, but its leading concern is that nearly half of diabetics may not be able to have such symptoms and the cause of hereditary diabetes to children. They are often considered as non-insulin dependents, in which an excessive secretion of insulin passes through the bloodstream, causing the body to develop a high resistance to the chemical. The end result would be the high blood glucose content, which can be treated with regular exercise and a high protein diet of starch and carbohydrates.
Sadly, there is no absolute cure for diabetes of any type. In theory, since it induced by diet, Type II diabetes should be preventable and manageable by dietary changes alone. However, as so often happens, clinical theory is defeated by human nature in this case, as many diabetics (and many obese people without diabetes) find it personally impossible to lose weight or even stick to a diet free of starchy, sugary junk food. So Type II diabetes is frequently treated with drugs which restore the body's response to its own insulin, and in a few cases injections of insulin.
The only recommendation from doctors is to prolong life, making sure that they would still continue to live normally. In order to cope with diabetes, it is important to maintain their weight and exercise regularly. Alcohol consumption can be regulated to its utmost maximum, better if cut out completely and smoking is an absolute health risk to both the lungs and diabetics. Regular visits to the doctor are an absolute must in order to check and make sure that their blood glucose levels are on tract.
Family encouragement can also do wonders for those suffering from diabetes, helping them that there is always a way to surpass diabetes without the fear of death. It helps increase the quality of life among family members with diabetes.
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