Introduction to diabetes
Diabetes is a term that refers to a group of metabolic diseases which arecharacterized by elevated levels of blood sugar. Most of what a person eats is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar), whichis a principal source of energy that the body has. Normally, blood glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin lowersthe blood glucose level by letting the sugar enter the body’s cells. With people with diabetes the quantity of glucose in theblood is too elevated (hyperglycemia). This is because the body either does notproduce enough insulin, produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respondproperly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This results in too much glucosebuilding up in the blood. This excess will eventually pass out of the body inurine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are notgetting it, even though they need it as the source of energy and growth.
There are three types of diabetes, and they all have different causes. Withtype 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells in thepancreas that are in charge of insulin production. The cause of type 2 diabetesis that the cells of one’s body become resistant to the action of insulin. Withgestational insulin (which only happens to some pregnant women), the hormonesthat are produced in order to sustain the pregnancy actually make the cellsmore resistant to insulin. This may lead to diabetes.There are several risk factors that might increase the risk of a persondeveloping this condition. These are: a sedentary lifestyle, stress, familyhistory of this condition, and weight, etc.
The most common symptoms of diabetes are: extreme hunger and thirst, weightloss that is inexplicable, blurry vision, frequent urination, sores that takelonger to heal, frequent infections, fatigue, nausea sometimes accompanied byvomiting, etc.
Diabetes and the Body
Diabetes can affect the body in a number of ways. It has been known to affectthese parts in particular:Nerves. People with diabetes can develop diabetic neuropathy. Over time, thenerves start to get weaker, and slowly this can cause pain or numbness in someparts of the body. Aside from this, one might feel constipated often, atingling sensation, and it can interfere with one’s sexual function.Eyes. Diabetes may cause several conditions that cause the deterioration of theeyes. These include: cataract, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. All of these,if untreated, can lead to blindness.Brain. This condition may affect the brain, causing slurred speech,headaches, confusion, dizziness, etc. It can also affect memory and lead tocomplete loss of cognitive function over time. If the arteries harden, this maylead to a stroke.Kidneys. Diabetic nephropathy, which is one of the results of diabetes, canlead to kidney damage and kidney disease.