Get the Caregivers' Survival Guide FREE
when you sign-up for the newsletter.
 

Sugar: An Overview of Diabetes

When someone has diabetes, the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for life.

Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism—the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach.

When we eat, the pancreas automatically produces the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body in the urine. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose. That is why is crucial for diabetics to test and monitor blood glucose levels.

Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body. The disease often leads to blindness, heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputations, and diabetic nerve damage. Uncontrolled diabetes can complicate pregnancy, and birth defects are more common in babies born to women with diabetes.

In 2002, diabetes cost the United States $132 billion. Indirect costs, including disability payments, time lost from work, and premature death, totaled $40 billion; direct medical costs for diabetes care, including hospitalizations, medical care, and treatment supplies, totaled $92 billion.

There are 3 main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body's system for fighting infection (the immune system) turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.

At present, scientists do not know exactly what causes the body's immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of diagnosed diabetes in the United States.

Symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Constant hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme fatigue

If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person with type 1 diabetes can lapse into a life-threatening diabetic coma, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. About 90 to 95 percent of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes is most often associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, and physical inactivity,

Type 2 diabetes, formerly called adult-onset or noninsulindependent diabetes, is the most common form of diabetes. This form of diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance, a condition in which fat, muscle, and liver cells do not use insulin properly. At first, the pancreas keeps up with the added demand by producing more insulin. In time, however, it loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals. People who are overweight and inactive are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually. Their onset is not as sudden as in type 1 diabetes. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing of wounds or sores

Some people have no symptoms.

Treatment includes taking diabetes medicines, making wise food choices, exercising regularly, controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and taking aspirin daily—for some. Read more on Type 2 Diabetes. Read more on Type 2 Diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Some women develop gestational diabetes late in pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, a woman who has had gestational diabetes is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Print Email
 
Read more about: elderly diabetes care
Be the first to comment!
Share
 
 






Free Helpful Guides

Get the Caregivers' Survival Guide FREE
when you sign-up for the Caregivers' Newsletter.

Seattle, WA

Care Providers
Home Helpers & Direct Link of South King County
Speak with us about your care needs
Sunset Hills Funeral Home
Contact us about preplanning a funeral
Greenwood Memorial Park
Contact us about cemetery arrangements
 
 
FIND HOUSING AND CARE




 
DOWNLOAD FREE RESOURCES
Everything you need to care for
an elderly family member.
Download your eBook ›
How to find, hire and
manage home care.
Get the home care guide ›
GET ANSWERS
140 characters left

©2014 AgingCare, LLC All rights reserved.  About Us  |  Advertise with Us  |  Sitemap

 

The material of this web site is provided for informational purposes only. AgingCare.com does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment;
or legal, financial or any other professional services advice. Use of this site is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.