Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes(diabetes mellitus) is a metabolic disease where there are high levels of sugar (glucose) in a person's blood. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin and Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells do not respond to insulin to metabolize sugar. Type 2 diabetes is more common, is often genetic,  and there is an epidemic if this type of diabetes occurring because of high obesity rates. Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who do not usually have diabetes. It usually resolves with the birth of the child but must be treated because of potential harm to the fetus from elevated glucose in pregnancy.

 Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans and is the leading cause of blindness and kidney failure.

 Many people with Type 2 diabetes do not know they have it because it develops slowly over time. Diabetes is easy to diagnose with blood tests.  If a patient has two fasting blood glucose tests over 126, the diagnosis of diabetes is confirmed.  Another test called Hemoglobin A1c confirms that the glucose has been elevated over time if the level is 6.5% or higher.   Diabetes is dangerous for the body because it affects the microvasculature (blood vessels) in the body. High Cholesterol, diabetes,and hypertension are considered a "triple threat" and greatly increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

 There are complicated interactions between organs, hormones, cells and molecules in the body that are disrupted by extra fat cells and obesity. New evidence also points to inflammation as a culprit.  Low levels of inflammation in the body activates immune cells and causes insulin resistance. New diabetic medications mimic hormones from the small intestine and allow interactions between the brain, pancreas and cells to help reduce blood sugar.  Diabetes is not a simple disorder and researchers  are learning new chemical interactions in the body that will help with effective treatment in the future.

 The main treatment for type 2 diabetes is exercise, strict diet and weight loss. Losing weight to a normal BMI can completely manage the disorder in a majority of people who are overweight.  But many people with type 2 diabetes are of normal weight and many obese people do not develop diabetes so genes play a big role in the disease.   Exercise helps lower glucose without medication and aids in weight loss.

 If you are diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes is is essential to understand the disease and see a nutritionist to learn about healthy eating and diet.  There is a wealth of information about diabetes from the American Diabetes Association and a diagnosis of diabetes is so serious, full blown education and action is needed.    We physicians have been too casual in allowing people to have elevated glucose levels  because diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDs combined!!!

 For more information, this website is filled with great information and tips for dealing with diabetes.

If you or a loved one is diagnosed with diabetes, get educated right away and treat it like you would treat a diagnosis of Cancer or another life-threatening disorder.  Get your treatment plan going by visiting The American Diabetes Association  and get your family and friends involved in your recovery.


Medical Advice said...

This post is giving detail information about type 1 and type 2 diabetes,it's causes and treatment also.Thank You for sharing this post.

Vodoo360 said...

Good information, maybe you could do a follow up post with more detailed signs and symptoms? It would be nice to know how to identify whether a diabetic might be hyper/hypoglycemic and how to help them.

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