Diabetes

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In America, Diabetes is becoming a widely prominent disease. Diabetes can be the result of many things from unlucky genetics to an unhealthy lifestyle. Diabetes is a serious, life-long illness ultimately caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. The condition makes it so that the pancreas cannot produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that controls the blood’s glucose level. Glucose is significant since it is “the main source of fuel” for the body (Wilson, 2013). The American Diabetes Association found that in 2011 in the United States, 25.8 million children and adults were diagnosed with diabetes (2012). There are many types of diabetes; Type I, Type II and gestational. Each has its own causes and treatments. Cures for each are being extensively researched.

Type I diabetes is also known as “Juvenile Diabetes” because it normally occurs in children and young adults. It is typically found in people ages one year to thirty years old (Zhao and Mazzone, 2010). Type I diabetes is “an autoimmune disease caused by an autoimmune destruction of pancreatic islet beta cells” (Zhao & Mazzone, 2010). The symptoms for Type I diabetes are frequent urination, extreme thirst and hunger, unusual weight loss, and exhaustion (American Diabetes Association, 2012). Many new concepts about the causes of this disorder have come about and it has been questioned whether the cause is nature versus nurture (Atkinson & Eisenbarth, 2001). The treatment for patients with Type I diabetes has significantly improved over the past few decades; however, it is still impossible to fully normalize blood sugar levels as there is only current technology to work with when it comes to finding a cure (Gallagher, Goland & Greenbaum, 2011). A necessary treatment for patients with Type I diabetes is daily insulin injections (Zhao & Mazzone, 2010). In the “American Medical Association Guide to Living with Diabetes,” Dr. Boyd Metzger explains that insulin is injected under the skin rather than taken by mouth because digestive enzymes would destroy it before it could reach the bloodstream (2006). If left untreated, Type I diabetes can lead to many other problems. These problems include but are not limited to heart and blood vessel disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, eye damage that can lead to permanent blindness, foot damage that can lead to amputation, osteoporosis and hearing problems (American Diabetes Association, 2012).

Type II diabetes occurs when muscles and cells begin to become unresponsive to the body’s signal for it to receive glucose. The body’s response to this sudden change is to work in overdrive to produce insulin in excess, trying to compensate for its lack. Eventually the cells that produce this insulin become so exhausted from working so hard that they start to fail. (Harvard.edu). This disease was once known as adult-onset diabetes because it was extremely rare in children; but as the rate of obesity in America began to skyrocket in people of all ages, the rate of Type II diabetes increased drastically and without age discrimination (Harvard.edu). The symptoms for Type II diabetes are similar to those of Type I, but also include blurred vision, infections, and numbness in the hands or feet (American Diabetes Association, 2012). However, symptoms do not usually present during the early stages (Metzger, 2006). Commonly, before a person's blood glucose levels reach a high enough point to be officially considered Type II diabetes, they are diagnosed with prediabetes. Prediabetes is likely to progress into Type II diabetes within an average of eight years from diagnosis if precautionary measures such as making major lifestyle changes and/or taking a glucose-lowering medication are not taken. Those who do not make these changes are also at greater risk of having a heart attack or stroke. It is highly advised that people with this condition strive to lose at least 5 to 7 percent of their body weight and exercise on a regular basis for...
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