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Published On: Sun, Aug 26th, 2012

Know Your Enemy… What is Diabetes?

Last week, I stated publicly that I have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I have decided to embark on a journey that will allow me to educate some of my readers that may not know what to do to prevent it… or live with it as I am now learning to do. The feedback from you all has been amazing and I am so fortunate to be a part of a community that truly cares.

Since we can now all agree that Diabetes is public enemy #1 in our community in regards to our health, I thought I would give you an official definition of what Diabetes is from a medical standpoint.

So that I would not infringe on anyone’s definition, I opted for the Wikipedia version.

Full version with active links and footnotes can be found here.

As I am,

George Torres
The Urban Jibaro
 
Follow me on Twitter: @UrbanJibaro
 

What is Diabetes?

English: Diagram shows insulin release from th...

English: Diagram shows insulin release from the Pancreas and how this lowers blood sugar leves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.[2] This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

There are three main types of diabetes mellitus (DM). Type 1 DM results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as “insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus” (IDDM) or “juvenile diabetes”. Type 2 DM results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or “adult-onset diabetes”. The third main form, gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

Other forms of diabetes mellitus include congenital diabetes, which is due to genetic defects of insulin secretion, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, steroid diabetes induced by high doses of glucocorticoids, and several forms of monogenic diabetes.

All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became available in 1921, and type 2 diabetes may be controlled with medications. Both types 1 and 2 are chronic conditions that cannot be cured. Pancreas transplants have been tried with limited success in type 1 DM; gastric bypass surgery has been successful in many with morbid obesity and type 2 DM. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after delivery. Diabetes without proper treatments can cause many complications. Acute complications include hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, or nonketotic hyperosmolar coma. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease, chronic renal failure, and diabetic retinopathy (retinal damage). Adequate treatment of diabetes is thus important, as well as blood pressure control and lifestyle factors such as smoking cessation and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Globally, as of 2012, an estimated 346 million people have type 2 diabetes.[3]

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Know Your Enemy… What is Diabetes?