Living with Diabetes

Living with Diabetes

What You Should Know

Type 1 and Type 2
Diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease which affects the beta cells of the pancreas that produces insulin. This disease was formerly known as insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). This disease presents in children, as well as in adults, and is characterized by the loss of the beta cells of the pancreas, which are known as the islets of Langerhans. However, since type 1 diabetes was most commonly associated with children, it was formerly known as juvenile diabetes.

Diabetes is incurable; there is no method of prevention, and no way to reverse the disease. In type 2 diabetes, it can be managed by diet and a healthy lifestyle. In some cases a patient with type 1 diabetes can have a transplant of the islet cells of the pancreas to arrest the disease, but in type 2 diabetes this option is not available, because this from of the disease is not an autoimmune disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms

The characteristics of this disease presents with excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, and extreme fatigue. These symptoms can be present in both types of diabetes, especially if the patient has poor eating habits and leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually made when patients report their symptoms and complaints to their doctor. In the case of children the parents notice their symptoms and complaints and take the child to their physician to be examined. Diabetes is often discovered when a patient is having other problems that they are seeking help for, such as: poor wound healing, ulcers of the feet, eye problems and fungal infections.

In the diagnostic phase of the examination, the doctor will test the patient’s blood glucose level when fasting. A normal fasting blood sugar (FBS) ranges from 70-99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). Diabetes should be suspected if the FBS levels run between 100 mg/dl and 126 mg/dl, which are considered above normal for fasting levels.

Treatment and management

Treatment and management

In type 1 diabetes the treatment is insulin replacement; without it diabetic ketoacidosis and coma can develop which will lead to death if not treated. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is caused by the patient’s own immune system waging war against the proteins within the islet cells of the pancreas.

The antibodies of the immune system “see” these necessary proteins as a threat to the body and set out to destroy them, which results in the inability of the islets to produce insulin.

Insulin is a natural hormone produced in the islet cells of the pancreas. The function of insulin is to counteract high levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia), by regulating glucose metabolism. Without the production of insulin, glucose, the fuel that our cells need to survive, cannot cross the outer membranes of the cells to nourish the cells of our body. Insulin carries glucose into the cells by a process called active transport. In short, insulin functions like a little taxi that carries the glucose molecules into the cells. The cells have a receptor, or more like a lock, and insulin has the key to unlock it, to allow the glucose to enter and nourish the whole body. Without insulin we would die.

Patient education is key to managing diabetes. Learning how to incorporate a healthy eating plan, sensible exercise and self-glucose monitoring will help to manage the disease as well as reducing the long term complications, such as heart disease, kidney failure and high blood pressure, visit your url.

Prevention

At this time there are no preventative measures of type 1 diabetes. The risk of type 2 diabetes in some cases can be reduced by making healthy changes in lifestyle. Making positive changes in our diet, as well as increasing our activity can do much to prevent the complications that bring on type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with age and weight, as well as genetics. As we get older, and the more we become overweight, we become more at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Since my parents both had diabetes, and they both died from complications from the disease; I decided to make some healthy changes in my lifestyle. I changed to non-fat milk, lowered my fat intake, by eating more chicken and less beef, as well as incorporated lots of fresh vegetables and fruits in my diet, and instead of eating meat as a main course, I use it more as a condiment. We can choose to make changes to improve our lifestyle, which could prevent the onset of diabetes type 2, but at this time there is no cure or prevention for diabetes type 1. Researchers are working to put an end to this disease.

What to do now

If you are having some or all of the signs and symptoms mentioned above, go to your doctor to be evaluated. To learn more about diabetes, go to the American Diabetes Association website. There you will find information on nutrition, recipes, weight management, exercise and other helpful information.

Work Cited:

American Diabetes Association
http://www.diabetes.org/home.jsp Web MD
http://www.diabetes.webmd.com/Blood.Glucose
Wikipedia Encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/diabetes
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