In the United States, an estimated 16 million people have diabetes. Diabetes is a serious lifelong condition. Half the 16 million people who have diabetes do not even realize the condition exists and are not receiving treatment. 798,000 people each year are diagnosed with diabetes. It occurs most often in adults, but it is also one of the most chronic disorder in children. It is estimated that 123,000 children ages 19 and below have the disorder. Diabetes is recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. It has contributed to over 193,140 deaths in 1996. It is associated with long term disorder that affects almost every major part in your body. It can cause blindness, heart disease, strokes, kidney failure, amputations, and nerve damage.
Diabetes is a metabolism disorder. A metabolism disorder affects the digestion of food in the body. After eating, most food is broken down by glucose, which is the main fuel for the body. Cells use glucose for energy after it moves into the bloodstream. Insulin, which is a hormone produced by the pancreas, allows the glucose to pass into our cells. The pancreas's job is to produce the right amount of insulin so the glucose can pass from the bloodstream into cells. In those with diabetes, the pancreas will provide little or no insulin, or the cells will not react to the insulin produced. This results in a build up of glucose, which the body disposes of through the urine. Even if there was a build up of glucose, the body loses it main source of energy. There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 was once known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is considered an autoimmune disease, which is where the body's immune system turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks the pancreas and destroys the insulin producing beta cells, resulting in production of little or no insulin. A person with Type 1 must administer himself injections on a daily basis to survive. Type 1 accounts for 5 to 10 percent of the diagnosed diabetes in the United States. (NIDDK) It develops most often in children and young adults, but the disorder can appear at any age. The symptoms are noticed over a short period of time. The symptoms include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme tiredness. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person can lapse into a life-threatening coma.
The most common form of diabetes is Type 2. It is known as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Ninety to ninety-five percent of the people with diabetes have Type 2. Type 2 usually develops in adults over the age of 40 and is most common in adults over the age of 55. (NIDDK) About 80 percent of the people with Type 2 are overweight. In Type 2, the body produces insulin, but the body can not use the...