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Diabetes Information

About Diabetes
What causes Diabetes
Do you have Diabetes?
Are you at risk for Diabetes?
Screening for Diabetes
Complications of Diabetes
Treating Diabetes


      Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a disease that affects the manner in which a person's body uses glucose (blood sugar). Glucose is a body's primary source of energy and as a result is central to health. The prevalence of diabetes is alarming. More and more people are affected by diabetes than ever before. Today, diabetes affects over 16 million American adults and children. It is estimated that over one third of those affected by diabetes are unaware that they have the disease. Diabetes often exhibits few or no symptoms and can develop very gradually over a number of years. For this reason, many people remain unaware that they have diabetes. In a healthy individual, the action of insulin enables glucose to enter the body's cells. Insulin is a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas, and it acts on the cells to enable them to allow glucose in. In those individuals suffering from diabetes, this process works ineffectively or not at all. Glucose accumulates in the bloodstream instead of entering the body's cells, and is then excreted in urine. This is often the result of one of two primary reasons; the body doesn't produce a sufficient amount of insulin, or the body's cells are unable to respond to insulin in the proper way. There are two primary kinds of diabetes, known as type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

results when the pancreas makes very little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes was in the past called juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. With the discovery that adults too get this type of diabetes, the name was changed to type 1 diabetes. This is the less common form of diabetes, affecting between 5 and 10% of all those with diabetes. As well, those with other types of diabetes frequently need insulin.

Type 2 diabetes

results when the pancreas does produce some insulin, but not enough, or when the cells develop a resistance to insulin. Some sufferers of type 2 diabetes require insulin. Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes or non insulin dependent diabetes. With the discovery that many young people are now developing this form of the disease, the name was changed to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 90-95% of those suffering from diabetes. Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are very serious diseases and both can be fatal. The accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream can have highly damaging results on most vital organs within the body. Diabetes causes approximately 200,000 deaths in the U.S. yearly. There is no cure for diabetes. Essential to combating this disease is prevention. Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthful diet and exercising regularly can prevent the onset of diabetes. For those who have diabetes, proper diet and exercise used in conjunction with medications and/or treatment that acts to control blood sugar levels can result in a healthy, happy and active life.

Read more from the National Institute of Diabetes. For Americans living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association offers useful information, resources and support.

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