SOME FACTS ABOUT DIABETES

Diabetes is an incurable disease that results in the body not being able to produce insulin or utilise it efficiently. In the U.S there are around 24 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes. That makes around 8% of the popluation. Out of these numbers there are many who are ignorant of the disease and its compications. It costs the U.S government nearly $132 billion dollars in medical costs. Huge amount of research is going on but yet it is unclear as to what really causes diabetes. Hereditary, environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise do aggrevate the problem but the real cause(s) are unknown.

What is Insulin and why is it required?

Insulin is a hormone that is created by our pancreas. When we eat food in form of breads, rice etc, all the carbohydrates in the food is broken down into sugar molecules. This is also known as glucose. This glucose is then absorbed into the bloodstream and results in a rise in the blood levels. When the body sees a rise in the glucose levels, it signals the pancreas to produce more insulin which in turn allows the glucose in the blood stream to enter the muscle where it is stored or used later to be burnt for energy. If the glucose gets accumalated in the blood and does not enter the cells, two problems may arise :

- Your cells will not get the energy and hence starve.

- Large quantities of accumalated glucose may also hurt your eyes,kidneys, nerves and even your heart.

When the body is not being able to use this insulin which is produced or when the beta cells in the pancreas which are responsible for producing the insulin are not doing their job, diabetes occurs.

There are 2 types of diabetes which can affect individuals-

- Type 1 diabetes

Usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Also known as juvenile diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body does not produce any insulin. Conditions associated with Type 1 diabetes include hyperglycemia,hypoglycemia,ketoacidosis and celiac disease.

Here the body does not produce insulin and regular insulin shots are needed for the rest of the life. The affected person should learn everything about the compications and take all types of care and precautions to prevent them. In the rare case that the kidney fails, kidney transplant may also have to be done. There can also be pancreas transplants. Insulin cannot be taken in the form of pills.

- Type 2 diabetes

This is the most common form of diabetes. In this the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells are not able to utilise the insulin that is produced by the body. People who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes need not worry since they can also live happily by taking proper care of their diet and regular medication. All you have to do is to monitor your glucose levels and if it is not under control, take all steps necessary to get it under control.

The main fact to keep in mind is that even if diabetes is incurable, it should in no way stop a person from leading a happy and healthy life.