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Diabetes Mellitus

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  • November 2006
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Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a very common disease affecting more and more people each year, currently affecting about 18.2 million Americans. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas inefficiently produces insulin for the body, resulting in too much sugar in the body. After being diagnosed with diabetes, there are lifetime treatments and lifestyle changes. The World Health Organization classifies the three main forms of diabetes as type I, type II and gestational diabetes, which is a special form of diabetes mellitus. These are not single diseases, rather a form or type, describing the patterns of pancreatic failure. Diabetes mellitus was first seen as a large production of urine. The term diabetes is derived from the Greek term to describe the over abundance of urine. Later mellitus was added to the name to indicate that the urine secreted was sweet. This, along with excessive muscle loss of the first signs of diabetes in the ancient world. Now, much more about diabetes and its causes are known. In order for the body to have enough energy, the beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas produce insulin which then allows glucose (sugar) to enter the body's cells for energy production. Insulin plays a major part in metabolizing carbohydrates, lipids and amino acids. Glucose enters the body through the food that we eat and when insulin is present, it is metabolized and used by the body's cells to produce the essential fuel for the body. When however, the body lacks insulin, or when insulin is not able to bind to its target tissues, it causes hyperglycemia, which means there is a high amount of sugar in the blood, and the glucose entering the body is not being used to produce the energy the body needs. Insulin can be counteracted by glucagons, pituitary growth hormone, steroid hormone and epinephrine. Any interference with insulin and its intended actions leads to...

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