What Is Di­a­betes?

Central and North Burnett Times - - DIABETES AWARENESS -

Peo­ple who have di­a­betes ei­ther do not make in­sulin or the in­sulin they make does not work the way it should. This leads to a high level of glu­cose in the blood. In­sulin is a sub­stance which is made in the pan­creas and re­leased into the blood stream af­ter you eat a meal. The pan­creas is an or­gan in the up­per ab­domen which con­tains spe­cial­ized cells which make in­sulin and re­lease it into the blood. In­sulin is nec­es­sary to help get the food you eat into the body cells so that it can be used as en­ergy. In or­der for food to be used as en­ergy, it is changed in the body to glu­cose (su­gar). When the food is changed to glu­cose, it is car­ried by the blood to the var­i­ous body cells. For the glu­cose to get into these cells, in­sulin must be present in the blood. In­sulin acts as a key to un­lock the cell and push the glu­cose inside where it may be used for en­ergy. In­sulin is also needed for ex­tra glu­cose to be stored as glyco­gen (stored su­gar) in the liver where it can be used for en­ergy at a later time. Be­cause it causes su­gar to go into the cells, in­sulin low­ers the amount of glu­cose (su­gar) in the blood.

Types of Di­a­betes

There are two types of di­a­betes: Type 1 di­a­betes and Type 2 di­a­betes. Type 1 usu­ally has its on­set in peo­ple un­der the age of thirty and is due to a se­vere lack of in­sulin pro­duc­tion in the pan­creas. Peo­ple with in­sulin de­pen­dent di­a­betes (Type 1) have to be treated with in­sulin shots. Type 2 di­a­betes, in con­trast, usu­ally oc­curs in older peo­ple and can of­ten be treated with diet and ex­er­cise or with an oral agent. Most peo­ple with Type 2 di­a­betes are over­weight, and their di­a­betes can be treated by re­strict­ing calo­ries. Some peo­ple with Type 2 di­a­betes must be treated with in­sulin.

What are the signs and symp­toms of di­a­betes? Com­mon signs and symp­toms in­clude:

• ex­ces­sive thirst

• fre­quent uri­na­tion

• ex­ces­sive hunger

• weight loss

• fa­tigue

• changes in vi­sion

• slow-heal­ing cuts or in­fec­tions

• per­sis­tent itch­ing of the skin

How is di­a­betes dis­cov­ered?

Your doc­tor can make the di­ag­no­sis of di­a­betes by find­ing su­gar in your urine and an el­e­vated level of su­gar in your blood.

What causes di­a­betes?

The ex­act cause of di­a­betes is un­known. It of­ten tends to run in fam­i­lies, and you may in­herit some sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to it. There is noth­ing that you did or did not do that could have caused your di­a­betes. If you are pre­dis­posed to di­a­betes, cer­tain stresses, strains and en­vi­ron­men­tal haz­ards, such as obe­sity, in­fec­tion, in­jury, preg­nancy and surgery, can has­ten the on­set or ap­pear­ance of the di­a­betes. Di­a­betes is not con­ta­gious.

Is there a cure for di­a­betes?

Di­a­betes can­not be cured but it can be con­trolled. How­ever the treat­ment and man­age­ment of di­a­betes varies from per­son to per­son and your doc­tor must de­cide what form of treat­ment is best for you. Pa­tients with Type 1 di­a­betes must take in­sulin and fol­low a diet. Peo­ple with Type 2 di­a­betes are of­ten be treated with only diet and ex­er­cise. They may also need treat­ment with oral agents and/or in­sulin. Your doc­tor will de­cide which type of ther­apy is best for you. What­ever the plan of ther­apy, you must achieve a bal­ance of diet, med­i­ca­tion, and ex­er­cise.

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