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Diabetes Disease Report
by Greg Maxey

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreatic islet cells have been damaged. These beta cells are what create a hormone called insulin, so diabetics don't have don't have sufficient insulin to operate normally. Insulin is a hormone that is released when a person eats. It then goes to the brain and muscles cells to tell them to let glucose in. Without insulin, the brain and muscle cells wouldn't allow the glucose to enter, so they would have no energy. About 700,000 Americans have type 1 diabetes, and about 7,000,000 Americans have type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is usually an inherited condition. Four to six percent of people with diabetic children also once had diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused when the islet cells [of] the pancreas have been damaged. This is usually due to an autoimmune disorder, which is when the body's immune system recognizes the islet cells [as invaders] and kills them. The cause of the autoimmune disorder is unknown, but is partially due to a genetic tendency. The first sign of diabetes usually occur after a viral infection. Type 1 diabetes could also be caused by the destruction of the pancreas from toxins or trauma.

There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 is insulin-dependent diabetes. This is when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to run the body. Type 2 diabetes is when the glucose burning cells of the body resist insulin, and don't take in glucose.

Untreated diabetes patients often have hyperglycemia, [or] high blood sugar. The diagnosis of diabetes relies on the symptoms of hyperglycemia, which include blurred vision, fatigue, frequent hunger, frequent thirst and urination, weight loss and impotence in men.

Diabetes is tested with two combined tests. Fasting blood glucose level is the amount of glucose in the blood after an overnight fats, measured in mg/dl milligrams per deciliter. Normal people usually have glucose levels levels between 70 and 100 mg/dl. The oral glucose tolerance test is performed in a doctor's office. A patient is given 75 grams of glucose. The blood glucose level is then measured at intervals from drinking the glucose. The two test results combine to give the patient on of the following diagnoses: normal response, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes or gestational diabetes, [the last of which] only occurs in pregnant women.

Diabetes has many complications because too much or too little insulin in the body can cause a lot of problems. When there is not enough insulin, the body's cells reject the glucose, and glucose builds up in the blood, causing high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia. Because the cells cannot burn glucose, they resort to burning fat. This creates a byproduct called ketones, which can poison the body. This is called diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. When there is too much insulin, low blood sugar , or hypoglycemia results. This can also be caused by not eating enough. Hypoglycemia can cause a diabetic coma. Other complications include eye problems such as retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. This is because of [the] lack of circulation to the eyes. 97 percent of type 1 diabetes and 80 percent of type two diabetes show signs of retinopathy, an impairment of the retina. [Some more] complications include depression, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease.

Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin [injections]. The insulin is injected [into] the fat of the body, so it can be absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. Insulin pumps are still being developed.


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