The word diabetes underscores a number of related diseases leading the body being unable to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the human body blood. Diabetes is of three main types-type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. This paper focuses on diabetes type 1 and type 2, which are the most common types. People afflicted by diabetes type 1 lack the ability to produce enough insulin. Those affected by type 2 diabetes are unable to utilize insulin well.
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Insulin is a hormone that is produced by pancreases, and permits the movement of glucose into body cells from the blood where it is broken down to release energy. When one is affected by diabetes, the movement of glucose is inefficient, making the levels of glucose in the blood high. As a result, various cells starve and some tissues may be harmed due to exposure to high levels of glucose. Ten percent of people that are affected by diabetes in the US have type 1 diabetes (Wild, et al., 2004, p.1048).
Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed either during adolescent or child hood. It may also result from destruction of pancreases by alcohol in older people. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed during adulthood (mostly above 45 years), and it accounts for 90% all diabetic people (Wild, et al., 2004, p.1049).
The causes of diabetes are valid. Diabetes type1 is essentially autoimmune. This means that it results when the “immunity cells of the body attacks the insulin producing cells of the pancreases” (Rother, 2007, p.1499).
Environmental factors such as viral infections coupled with hereditary factors may cause diabetes type 1, but genetic links are more associated with diabetes type 2. Other factors that cause diabetes type 2 include ethnicity, high amounts of alcohol intakes, overweight, large amounts of fat intakes, aging, sedentary life styles, and hypertension (high blood pressure) among other causes.
Symptom of diabetes type 1 includes Ketoacidosis; a condition evidenced by vomiting and nausea, and accompanied later by potassium levels disturbances in the body coupled with infections of urinary tract partly due to viral infections or injury. In case ketoacidosis goes untreated, it translates into a comma and finally death. The symptoms of diabetes type 2 include stress, steroids, and a syndrome called hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic (Saydah, et al., 2001, p.1398).
The symptoms that are common to both diabetes include blurred vision; infections such repeated yeast infections in genitals, skin, and urinary tract; wounds may heal poorly; alteration of mental status such as agitation, confusion, irritability, which cannot be explained and inattention among others, excessive thirst, excessive eating, fatigue, and large weight losses, which cannot be explained.
Diabetes is treated in a number of ways. People with diabetes type 1 are normally treated by the administration of insulin on a daily basis to sustain their life.
On the other hand, people with diabetes type 2 are treated through exercise, diet control, weight loss therapies or even administration of oral medications. However, as Rother posits, “ more than half of all people with type 2 diabetes require insulin to control their blood sugar levels at some point in the course of their illness” (2007, p.1500). As it is today, there exists no known cure for diabetes type 1 and 2.
A lot of intensive research is been undertaken to seek a cure for diabetes, but challenges exist since diabetes is genetic. However, over the last couple of years scientists have discovered about 2000 genes responsible to an equal number of genetic defects. It is thus probable that they will be able to replace the defective gene causing diabetes with a healthy one in the future.
Rother, K. (2007). Diabetes Treatment—Bridging the Divide. The New England Journal of Medicine, 356(15), 1499–1501.
Saydah, S., Miret, M., Sung, J., Varas, C., Gause, D., & Brancati, F. (2001). Post challenge Hyperglycemia and Mortality in a National Sample of U.S. Adults. Diabetes Care, 24(8), 1397–1402.
Wild, S., Green, A., Sicree, R., & King, H. (2004). Global Prevalence of Diabetes: Estimates for the Year 2000 and Projections for 2030. Diabetes Care, 27(5), 1047–1053.