Almost everyone knows someone who has Diabetes. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have diabetes mellituswhich is a serious lifelong condition. About one-third of these 16 million people have not been diagnosed. Each year, about 800,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes.
(NIDDK) Figure 1–Prevalence of diabetes in men and women in the U. S. population age 20 years or older, based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III. Diabetes includes previously diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes defined by fasting plasma glucose greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL.
(age-std=age-standardized) What is Diabetes?Diabetes is a disorder of metabolismthe 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. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, an organ that sits behind your stomach. When we eat, the pancreas is automatically supposed to produce the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people who have diabetes, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond in the right way to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Therefore, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.
Compare the human body to a car. To start a car, you must turn the key to move the gas to the engine. Similarly, the glucose in your bloodstream cannot go into the cells by itself. The pancreas releases a substance called insulin into the blood, which serves as the helper, or the key that lets the glucose into the cells for use as energy. When glucose enters your cells, the level of glucose in your bloodstream decreases.
Without insulin, glucose cannot get into the bodys cells for use as energy. This increases the levels of glucose in your blood. Too much glucose in the blood is called high blood sugar or diabetes. (NIDDK) Insulin is the “key” that allows your cells to take glucose from your bloodstream and use it as energy.
What are the types of diabetes?Type 1 Diabetes:Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the bodys system for fighting infection (the immune system) turns against a part of the body. With diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Someone with type 1 diabetes needs to take insulin daily to live.
Still today, scientists do not know exactly what causes the bodys immune system to attack the beta cells, but they believe that both genetic factors and environmental factors, possibly viruses, are involved. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5-10% of diagnosed diabetes in the United States. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in children and young adults, but the disorder can appear at any age. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develops over a short period, although beta cells destruction can begin years earlier.
Symptoms include increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue. If not diagnosed and treated with insulin, a person can lapse into an life-threatening diabetic coma, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis. (NIDDK)Type 2 DiabetesThe most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. About 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2. This form of diabetes usually develops in adults age 40 and older and is most common in adults over age 55.
About 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Type 2 diabetes is often part of a metabolic syndrome that includes obesity, elevated blood pressure, and high levels of blood lipids. Unfortunately, as more children become overweight, type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in young people. When type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but, for unknown .