Diabetes mellitus, more popularly known as diabetes, is a widespread and often fatal metabolic disorder. It is a condition that results from a body’s lack of insulin, which disables the body from properly using food’s broken down form, the energy-giving glucose (American Diabetes Association [ADA], n. d. ) Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for glucose conversion. Unlike a healthy person, a diabetic’s pancreas does not form any or enough insulin for glucose to merge with cells. Glucose is expelled from the body through urine without being converted into energy (WebMD, 2009a). Thus, the body loses its fuel source
There are two main kinds of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2. People who have Type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin, while those who have Type 2 diabetes experience insulin deficiency and insulin resistance (AMA, n. d. ). Type 2 diabetics’ bodies refuse to use what little insulin their pancreas produce. Type 2 is the more prevalent kind of diabetes, with 90 to 95% of American diabetics being diagnosed with Type 2 (AMA, n. d. ). Symptoms and Diagnosis The ADA lists the symptoms of diabetes which includes blurry vision, increased fatigue, excessive hunger and thirst, and too frequent urination (ADA, n.
d. ). Extreme thirst and hunger, also called polydipsia and polyphagia, result from the body’s low blood sugar and energy levels (MedicineNet, 2009a; Your Total Health, 2008). Another symptom is polyuria, excessive urination, when one urinates more than 2. 5 liters per day (MedicineNet, 2009b). Type 2 diabetes’ exclusive symptoms include darkening of the skin in the neck, armpit and groin areas, weight gains, impotency, and numbness of feet and hands (WebMD, 2009c). Diabetes has visible symptoms but most seem normal or harmless thus many diabetics go undiagnosed.
People who experience any of the symptoms should immediately get themselves tested. The most preferred test for diagnosing the both types of diabetes is the fasting plasma glucose test. It comprises of three glucose-resistance tests: one after an eight-hour fast, the second one at a random moment throughout the day, and third after the patient consumed glucose dissolved in water (WebMD, 2009b). If one should test positive on even just one of the three tests, the test will be repeated on a different day. For a diagnosis to be made, the patient must get the same positive result and confirm his or her diabetes (WedMD, 2009b).
What Diabetics Should Expect Diabetes’ effects are not concentrated on just one region; rather it spreads throughout the body. Retinopathy is a diabetes-caused disease. It refers to the damaged blood vessels in one’s retina, resulting in blurred vision eventually causing blindness (National Eye Institute, 2008). Nephropathy, a kidney disease, is found in 40 % of diabetics. It occurs in five stages, wherein each stage denotes the kidneys’ decreasing capacity to filter the urine and blood, and the growing sum of nitrogen and protein in the blood (Nephrology Channel, 2009).
The kidney’s faulty cleansing system cause hypertension, a result of too much sodium retention (Lago, Singh & Nesto, 2007). Diabetics with hypertension have higher risks of developing vascular disease. Atherosclerosis, the hardening of the heart’s arteries, is caused by the diabetes-related inflammation. The inflammation causes swelling and ruptures in the arteries, stopping blood flow (Science Daily, 2008). This increases diabetics’ chances of having heart attacks and strokes. Diabetes also causes harm to the nervous systems, a disorder called diabetic neuropathy. The nerve damage start from tingling until it reaches total numbness.
It can happen to any part of body, from the limbs to digestive tract, the sex organs and the heart (National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, 2008). Diabetics with numb limbs are very vulnerable and most have had to experience amputation due to their unawareness of infections. Information on Diabetes Diabetes is a serious disease. Its effects are lifetime, painful, and difficult to manage. A diabetic’s negligence or carelessness even in seemingly mundane matters can be fatal. Thus, it is imperative that diabetics and their family are all well-informed and up to date with the very latest developments in diabetes research.
Apart from talking to doctors and health professional, one can also visit websites of reputable organizations such as the American Diabetes Association.
American Diabetes Association. (n. d. ). All about Diabetes. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from http://www. diabetes. org/about-diabetes. jsp Lago, R. M. , P. P. Singh, & R. W. Nesto. (2007). Diabetes and Hypertension. Nature Clinical Practice Endocrinology and Metabolism. Retrieved February 3, 2009 from http://www. nature. com/ncpendmet/journal/v3/n10/full/ncpendmet0638. html MedicineNet. (2009a). Definition of Polydipsia.