Sunday, December 28, 2008

Diabetes: A Quick Overview

In this life, knowledge is power. The more we know about any problem that faces us, the better prepared we are to take on its challenge. This is very true of diabetes. So, here are some facts about the main types of diabetes.

-diabetes is a metabolism-related disorder. It's usually caused by a combination of heredity [some ethnic groups, including African-Americans and Native Americans, are particularly prone, although diabetes is reported in every ethnic group] and environmental factors [some polycarbons have been linked to type II diabetes, in particular. How a person lives is also important. The obese, for instance, are more likely to contract diabetes than those of normal weight].

-there are several types of diabetes. There are three main types: Type I, sometimes called "juvenile onset", is usually [but not always] found in children. It's caused by a lack of insulin production in the pancreas [Insulin helps the body use sugars, which come from the carbohydrates we eat, to make energy. Type I diabetes is usually treated by injections of insulin Type II, or "adult onset" [sadly, becoming an inaccurate term], is usually found in adults who did not show signs of diabetes as children. In recent years, though, an epidemic of childhood obesity has led to many cases of type II diabetes in children. Type II diabetes is caused by an inability of receptors in the body to use insulin, or a reduced production of insulin. Type II
diabetes is treated by oral medications and diet, but is also treated in long-term cases with insulin. Finally, gestational diabetes is faced by 2% - 5% of pregnant women. With proper treatment and preparations, women with gestational diabetes usually deliver healthy babies. It usually disappears after birth, but it's estimated that as many as half of women who have gestational diabetes will eventually suffer from type II diabetes. There are other forms of diabetes, but these three are the main types.

-there is no cure for diabetes. Research on all forms of diabetes is on-going, but no "cure" has been found. Those with types I or II diabetes will probably be diabetic for the rest of their lives. Diabetes will force you to make changes in the way you live, but it does not have to affect the quality of your life. More on this next time.

-Mike Riley


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