Diabetes affects a huge proportion of the population. It is estimated that 7% of individuals living in the United States are afflicted by the disease. That is nearly 21 million Americans suffering from diabetes. With such a large number of affected individuals, it is important to understand the disease as best you can.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder caused by abnormally high blood sugar levels. The high levels of blood sugar, called glucose appear because they are not properly absorbed into the body’s cells.
Glucose and Insulin
As your body digests food, most of it is turned into glucose, which is your body’s main source of energy. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which is essential in allowing glucose to be absorbed into cells from the bloodstream. Without insulin, glucose remains in the bloodstream, until it is excreted by the body.
This is just where the problem occurs with diabetes patients. For those with this illness, insulin is produced in low levels, or not at all. Alternatively, sufficient insulin may be produced, however the body may not respond properly to the hormone. This prevents the glucose from being absorbed by the cells, which can wreak havoc on the body and lead to hyperglycemia, which is the medical term for high blood sugar levels.
Causes of Diabetes
There are three main types of the disease: Type 1, which is the most severe; Type 2, which is far more common and more manageable; and Gestational, which occurs in some pregnancies. Being that these types differ, so too do the presumptive causes.
For the most part, the causes of diabetes remain a mystery. However, certain habits, environments, and predispositions are thought to increase the chances of getting the disease.
It is often seen that the onset of diabetes is related to hypertension, high blood sugar and high blood cholesterol. Genetic factors, poor diet, minimal physical activity, and environment are also believed to be catalysts for the disease.
There are many options now available to treat and manage diabetes. Talk to your physician to find out what your best alternatives will be to deal with this disease.