May 14, 2009

Diabetes, America’s Disease

Currently in the United States, there are 23.6 million people, consisting of both children and adult’s alike living with a form of diabetes.

Diabetes is defined by the American Diabetes Association as, “a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.”

Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce insulin, a hormone that tells your cells to perform some of their functions, such as picking up glucose from the blood stream. Type 1 diabetes make up for only 5-10 percent of diagnosed cases in America.

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the body develops insulin resistance, the condition in which the body is unable to properly use the insulin. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes diagnosed in America.

When the body cannot properly use insulin, cells become unable to use the glucose (that’s the scientific word for sugar) in the blood stream. The result can lead to 2 potential problems. Your cells may be starved for energy and over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

These problems branch off into many different sub-problems, many of them can be deadly. These include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye complications, foot complications, skin complications, gum disease, diabetic neuropathy, gastroparesis, and even depression.

However, do not feel discouraged, many people have lived long and full lives while having diabetes. With a plan that aims to balance the foods you eat with your exercise and, if needed with diabetes pills and insulin.

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