Diabetes affects approximately
17 million people (about eight percent of the population) in the
United States. It is the third leading cause of death in the United
States after heart disease and cancer.
The key to understanding how to control your diabetes is to equip
yourself with the most up-to-date diabetes information available.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high
blood sugar levels, which result from defects in insulin secretion,
or action, or both. Elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia)
lead to spillage of glucose into the urine. Normally, blood glucose
levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by
the pancreas. Insulin lowers the blood glucose level. When the blood
glucose elevates (for example, after eating food), insulin is released
from the pancreas to normalize the glucose level. According to diabetes
information, in patients with diabetes, the absence or insufficient
production of insulin causes hyperglycemia.
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition; controlling this condition
means researching and keeping abreast of current diabetes information,
such as the best foods for diabetics, what the common symptoms of
the condition are and how to best manage blood sugar levels.
What are the types of diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes (also called
insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) is caused by autoimmune
destruction of the B cells of the pancreas which normally secrete
insulin. Those patients require insulin injections for survival.
Type 2 diabetes (or non-insulin-dependent diabetes) is much more
common according to current diabetes information. Type 2 diabetes
results from insulin resistance, mainly due to obesity, with inadequate
additional production of insulin by the body. In other words, the
pancreas produces a reduced amount of insulin or the cells do not
respond to the insulin, or both. According to current diabetes information
from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), rates of Type 2
diabetes have tripled among all age groups in the past 30 years.
This is largely due to the increasing percentage of Americans who
are overweight and sedentary. For the first time in the history
of humans, type 2 diabetes is now more common than type 1 diabetes
in childhood. Most of these cases are a direct result of poor eating
habits, higher body weight, and lack of exercise.
What is the long-term impact of diabetes?
Current diabetes information indicates that over time, diabetes
can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. These types
of damage are the result of damage to small vessels. Diabetes is
also known to accelerate the hardening and narrowing of the arteries,
leading to strokes, coronary heart disease, and other large blood
How is diabetes managed? Those who are diabetic
must learn how to manage blood sugar through diet, exercise and
sometimes through the use of insulin. Most diabetes information
indicates that those who understand how to manage diabetes are at
less risk of developing long-term complications.