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Diabetes - A General Overview

Posted Nov 17th, 2008 by Patient Assistance Team
Diabetes Mellitus is a medical condition in which the body produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that assists the cells to absorb sugar in the blood so it can be effectively used as the source of energy. The diabetic condition may develop if fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond efficiently to insulin. This lethargic response causes the elevated glucose levels in the blood and the urine. This elevated level then in turn causes excessive urination, hunger thirst and poor metabolism of fats and proteins.

Occurrence of Diabetes
Diabetes is most commonly found in

Adults over the age of 40,
Overweight or obese individuals
Those who have a physically inactive lifestyle
Those who have a family history of diabetes

Types of Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes

Type 1 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes starts in the childhood, when the pancreas instantly stops producing insulin. This type of diabetes is sometimes also referred as insulin dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes normally starts in adulthood. The body continues to make insulin but it does not make enough insulin, or the provided amount of insulin is not effectively used by the body. This type of diabetes is also termed non insulin-dependant diabetes.

Diabetes testing
Diabetes can be easily tested by measuring the amount of glucose in the person’s blood after he has done fasting of 8-12 hours. In some doubtful cases the diabetes is diagnosed by the oral glucose tolerance test. This test measures the sugar level in the blood after a specified amount of glucose containing syrup has been ingested.

Diabetes treatment
Diabetes once diagnosed cannot be cured. But it can be effectively treated to prevent the complications of diabetes. Depending on the type of diabetes, the effective treatment consists of controlled diet, regular exercise and through medications.

Those suffering from type 1 diabetes require the insulin injections, normally from 2-4 times a day. The amount of insulin required, varies from person to person and affected by diet and the level of physical activity.

The individuals with type 1 diabetes have to use a meter to check their glucose level several times a day. They then adjust the amount of insulin to be injected accordingly. The sufferers of type 1 diabetes have to spread their meal evenly throughout the day. They should also eat complex carbohydrates, so the sugar is released slowly in the blood.

The treatment in the patient of type 2 diabetes begins with the weight reduction, diet control and regular exercise. The patients typically have to work with a nutritionist who may design such a diet plan that the sugar may not rise swiftly in the blood. A recommended meal should be low in carbohydrates, high in proteins and should contain variety of complex carbohydrates. The controlled diet and exercise plays a vital role in weight reduction which is the key to reverse the inability of body to use insulin.