Diabetes – A Metabolic Disease

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. The food that we eat is broken down into a form of sugar called glucose, which is the main source of energy for the human body. This disease does not allow the body to create enough or properly process insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas allowing glucose to enter all the cells of the body and be used as energy. For those that are diabetic, sugar builds up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. Some of the surplus sugar is carried through the urine, out of the body, wasting the energy, and resulting in the body losing its main fuel source.

Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational diabetes are three main forms of diabetes mellitus, which is the medical term for this sickness.

Type 1 diabetes is categorized as an autoimmune disease, in this case, one that attacks and devastates the beta-cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. These types of diabetics are dependent upon insulin. This form of the syndrome is commonly known as “Juvenile” diabetes, but is not the most common form, only attesting for about 10 – 15% of those suffering from the illness. Type 1 is more frequent among children. Some common symptoms of type 1 diabetes mellitus are excessive thirst and urination, distorted vision, sudden weight loss, and severe exhaustion. The symptoms of type 1 usually develop over a short period of time.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is often related to obesity, old-age, a sedentary lifestyle, genetic history of the disease, ethnicity, and a history of gestational diabetes. Those with type 2 usually have a pancreas that produces enough insulin, but the body, for an unidentified reason, does not use it properly. This improper use of insulin is commonly referred to as insulin resistance. Throughout time the pancreas will begin to fail in producing insulin and sugar will build up in the body, making this main fuel source unattainable. Being the most common form of the debility, type 2 accounts for 90 – 95% of the diabetic population, and is on the increase. Though this ailment is mostly widespread among obese adults it is also being diagnosed in children and adolescents. Some of the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus are severe exhaustion, excessive urination, distorted vision, and enhanced hunger. Compared to type 1, these symptoms develop at a more gradual pace.

Gestational diabetes is a form of the epidemic that can be acquired by women who are pregnant. This form of the condition usually disappears after the pregnancy is over, but leaves the mother with a 20 – 50% possibility of developing type 2 diabetes. Women who have a family history of developing the disease are, of course, the more likely candidates for diabetes. The disorder is primarily caused by hormones that are generated by the placenta and amplify the mothers’ resistance to insulin. The percentage of pregnant women in the U.S. who will develop gestational diabetes is 3 – 8%.

There are a plethora of ways to help people who have diabetes stay as healthy as possible. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood sugar, and taking any required medicine are all ways to tame the disease and keep living your life.