Diabetes Mellitus Essay

1715 words - 7 pages

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels, which result from defects in insulin secretion, or action, or both. Diabetes mellitus Diabetes is a chronic medical condition, meaning that although it can be controlled, it lasts a lifetime. Individuals are normally capable of digesting carbohydrates, in particular those most common in food; starch, and some disaccharides such as sucrose, are converted within a few hours to simpler forms such as the monosaccharide glucose, the principal carbohydrate energy source used by the body. Insulin is released into the blood by beta cells, located in the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, in response to rising levels of blood glucose, usually after eating and is used by approximately two-thirds of the body's cells to absorb glucose from the blood for use as fuel for conversion to other needed molecules, or for storage. Insulin is also the principal control signal for conversion of glucose to glycogen for internal storage in liver and muscle cells. Due to the fact that insulin is the principal hormone that regulates uptake of glucose from the blood into most cells, deficiency of insulin or the insensitivity of its receptors causes hyperglycemia and plays a significant role in all forms of diabetes mellitus.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Both types may be inherited in genes; therefore, a family history of diabetes can significantly increase a person's risk of developing the condition. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, adolescents, or young adults. Without daily injections of insulin, people with type 1 diabetes will not survive. For that reason, this type of diabetes is also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune disease because the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. In relation to other possible causes of Type 1 diabetes, Emedicine Health states that “Environmental factors, including common unavoidable viral infections, may also contribute. Type 1 diabetes is most common in people of non-Hispanic, Northern European descent, followed by African Americans, and Hispanic Americans. It is relatively rare in those of Asian descent. Type 1 diabetes is slightly more common in men than in women” (Emedicine Health, 2011, para. 3). Type 2 diabetes is a genetic condition and runs in families that have a positive family history of this condition. American Heart Association states, “This type of diabetes can occur under two different circumstances: the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or the body develops "insulin resistance" and can't make efficient use of the insulin it makes” (American Heart Association, 2010). In relation to possible risk factors of type 2 diabetes Emedicine Health declares “Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include the following: high...

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