Lynn A. Bailey
August 21, 2011
Dr. Monica Reed, PhD, MPH
Diabetes is a disease that affects millions of people every year, and in most cases, this is a disease that is preventable. Increasing public awareness regarding risk factors and how this debilitating disease can be controlled and prevented may reduce the number of cases diagnosed each year. Throughout the years, scientists have developed a variety of treatment options and medications that are available for individuals diagnosed with diabetes. Future treatments for diabetes may include an artificial pancreas and stem cell therapy (Yoffee, 2009). Along with community support through awareness programs and advances in technology and treatment options, this disease is controllable and in some cases, may even be prevented. Diabetes and who it Affects Most
Diabetes mellitus (DM), more commonly known as diabetes, is the result of insufficient insulin production or the body’s inability to respond to insulin (Forth & Jude, 2011). Diabetes is a disease that affects how the body uses blood glucose, or blood sugar. Blood glucose is vital to health because it is an essential source of energy for cells of the muscles and other tissues as well as the brain’s fuel (Mayo Clinic, 2011). Individuals that suffer from diabetes have difficulty regulating and maintaining healthy blood glucose levels. If an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, no matter type, he or she has too much glucose. Some genetic factors do play a role in an individual’s risk for developing diabetes along with other factors such as race, but lifestyle is to blame for most diagnosed cases of diabetes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2011). Anyone who is 45 years or older should consider testing for diabetes, especially if he or she is overweight or has a family history of this disease. Race may also play a role in the development of this disease. Individuals who are African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino should also consider prescreening (CDC, 2011). Another group of people that are more susceptible to DM2 are lower income groups, especially women (Lega, Ross, Zhong, & Dasgupta, 2011). Diabetes affects the whole body including the most important hormonal system, the endocrine system. The Body System Affected by Diabetes and its Causes
The endocrine system is a group of organs or glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream, which can affect the entire body. Glands of the endocrine system include the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, adrenal, testes, and the ovaries. The glands of the endocrine system release hormones into the bloodstream. The pancreas is the organ of the endocrine system, and when it is not functioning properly, the result is diabetes. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas malfunctions. One of the pancreas’s functions is to control the glucose level in the blood (Mulvihill, Zelman, Holdaway, Tompary, & Raymond, 2006). The pancreas secretes two hormones known as glucagon and insulin, which raise and lower glucose levels in the blood (Mulvihill et al., 2006). When insulin is secreted, blood glucose levels rise, and when glucagon is released, blood glucose levels decrease. If an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, his or her pancreas is not secreting enough insulin or target cells are not responding to the insulin that is being secreted (Mulvihill et al., 2006). This malfunction of the pancreas results in either Type One (DM1) or Type Two (DM2) diabetes. DM1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas fails to produce insulin, and DM2 diabetes occurs when the pancreatic islets fail to secrete enough insulin or when target cells ignore the insulin (American Diabetes Association, 2011). The most common cause of diabetes is obesity, but other risk factors are involved as well. Risk Factors
Some common risk factors for...