Diabetes is a chronic, genetically determined, debilitating disease that affects every organ system. There are two major types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), is caused by the autoimmune destruction of the insulin producing cells of the pancreas and is usually, but not always diagnosed in childhood. People with type I diabetes must take insulin shots in order to survive. Type II diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), are usually diagnosed in adulthood. They produce insulin, but their bodies do not use it effectively or properly. While many modern diseases plague society, diabetes has been known for many centuries (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 1-3).
Type I diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type I diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Sugar is the basic fuel for the cells in the body, and insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When sugar builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems: cells may be starved for energy, and over time, high blood sugar levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart.
Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In type II diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use sugar. Type II diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of diabetes. Type II diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions, due to an increased number of older Americans, and a greater prevalence of obesity and sedentary lifestyles (Hoffman, 34-49).
Diabetes is the leading cause of death. It is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and non-traumatic amputations. People who have diabetes are two to four times more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. Life expectancy of people who have this disease, on the average is fifteen years, less than that of people who do not have the disease. It is also the leading cause of nerve damage (Hoffman, 34-49).
IDDM can cause problems that should be prepared for. The three key problems: Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This occurs when blood sugar drops too low. To correct this, all that is needed is some sugar. Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Occurs when blood sugar is too high. It can be a sign that diabetes is not controlled very well. And ketoacidosis, or diabetic coma, is very serious and should be taken care of by a healthcare practitioner (Hoffman, 34-49).
Signs and symptoms of IDDM include: high levels of sugar in the blood, high levels of sugar in the urine, frequent urination, extreme hunger and thirst, extreme weight loss, weakness...