Diabetes is a disease that is affecting millions. There were over one million new cases of diabetes diagnosed last year. Diabetes also killed over 248,000 people last year as well. According to USA Today, diabetes as a disease, uncontrolled cost the United States over $174 billion dollars last year. This is much more than the country spent on the military and its wars put together!
So what is diabetes and what makes it such a horrible offender as far as diseases go? First readers have to understand there are two types of diabetes. There are Type 1 and Type II diabetes. In Type 1 the pancreas in the endocrine system is responsible for producing insulin. Insulin in turn breaks down proteins, fats and carbohydrates into simple sugars that the body can use for energy. If the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin due to being damaged or diseased, then sugars build up in the bloodstream and can cause damage to organs and tissues of the body.
Type 1 diabetes originally were children and young adults who were diagnosed early in life. They had a pancreas that could not function properly and needed to inject insulin on a daily basis to survive. The added insulin would allow their body to process the nutrients it needed to thrive. They also were placed on diets to help reduce their insulin needs.
Type II diabetes were typically adults who were either overweight or their pancreas was unable to handle the job it needed to after a time. This type of diabetes is usually able to be controlled on oral medication and diet. However with more of the adult and juvenile population becoming overweight and obese every year, the number of people with diabetes is rising sharply to go along with this. We are seeing Type 1 adults and Type 1 and II children where we never saw a child with Type II diabetes before.
There are several classical symptoms that most diabetics will manifest. This is especially true of Type 1 diabetics. People who experience these symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional to rule out diabetes. Blood work can be done in order to rule out diabetes fairly quickly.
People who are overweight are at higher risk for diabetes, also those people who have a family history are much more likely to develop diabetes and should be monitored closely by their physician for this.
The symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst. People that feel that they cannot get enough to drink especially water should consider that there may be a problem. This is doubly true if the person is drinking much more than they would previously.
The second symptom to be considered is excessive trips to the restroom. If a person finds that they are going to the bathroom to urinate much more than they had in the past, it is time to have that evaluated. Kidneys cannot function properly if insulin is not present in the body and pull out much more water to dilute the sugar in the blood. So excessive urination is a classic sign of diabetes.
Diabetics will typically lose weight suddenly without trying or wanting to. This is seen much more in Type 1 diabetics. What happens is that the body starts to break down muscle mass when it cannot break down the proper nutrients due to not having enough insulin present to metabolize them. This results in weight loss.
Onset of diabetes can also cause bouts of weakness and fatigue as well as tingling and numbness of the extremities. People may feel that they have tingling in the legs and the feet. Others have complained of tingling in the hands and the forearms. Weakness and fatigue occur due the body not being able to break down the nutrients it needs for energy.
If these symptoms occur, as stated above a medical consultation should be done immediately to rule out diabetes. A physician can do lab work and a history and physical in order to give you the best possible diagnosis and treatment plan.
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