HEALTH CONDITIONS

A comprehensive list of today's common ailments and health conditions.

Diabetes

By Angela Young

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. There is type I diabetes, type II diabetes and gestational diabetes. Type I diabetes is a disease that is usually diagnosed in childhood. Type II diabetes is a lifestyle disease brought about by poor diet, lack of exercise and obesity. Gestational diabetes develops in women during pregnancy.

Most diabetics with type II diabetes are able to control their diabetes successfully through careful management of their diet and medication if needed. Insulin dependent diabetics require shots of insulin several times a day in order to process the sugar in their blood stream. All diabetics must check their blood sugar regularly to avoid further complications from the disease.

People with type I diabetes have an autoimmune disorder. Scientists have not yet made a determination as to what causes the body to attack itself as it does with type I diabetes.

Diabetes Symptoms

There are numerous symptoms of diabetes. Many of the symptoms of diabetes are easy to ignore, but early detection of diabetes can lead to better treatment and help to prevent further complications from diabetes.

Symptoms of diabetes are the same regardless of the type of diabetes that a person has. Excessive thirst, increased urination, weight loss or weigh gain that is unexplained, blurry vision, dry mouth, frequent yeast infections, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, frequent itching and slow-healing cuts or sores are all symptoms of diabetes.

Diabetes Causes

Lack of insulin is what causes diabetes. What is unknown about diabetes is why the immune system attacks the insulin beta cells in the pancreas in type I diabetes. Some scientists believe that type I diabetes is caused by environmental factors that include viruses. Family history also plays a role in the likeliness of someone to develop diabetes.

The causes of type II diabetes are better known. Type II diabetes has roots in lifestyle choices. While not all people suffering from type II diabetes are obese, the majority of people with type II diabetes are obese and do not exercise. People with type II diabetes produce insulin, but they do not produce enough to be effective or their body no longer processes insulin properly. Insulin resistant is the term for the body’s inability to process insulin properly.

Gestational diabetes is similar to type I and type II diabetes. When a woman is pregnant that extra hormones produced during the pregnancy can make it difficult for the pancreas to produce the correct amount of insulin. Most women who have gestational diabetes are no longer diabetic following the birth of their child.

Diabetes Diagnosis

There are three types of test for diabetes that doctors use.

A fasting blood glucose test requires that the patient not eat any food for at least eight hours prior to the test. The patient may have water. The fasting blood glucose test lets the doctor know how much glucose is in the blood without the presence of recently eaten food. A blood glucose level above 126 mg/dl will result in a diagnosis of diabetes. A normal fasting blood glucose level is between 70 and 110 mg/dl.

There is also the random blood glucose test. The random blood glucose test does not take into account any food that may still be digesting in the patient. Random blood glucose tests are usually only necessary in an emergency situation as way to quickly rule in or rule out the possibility of diabetes.

There are also oral glucose tolerance tests. This test involves drinking a sugary drink to see how the body responds to the increase in sugar. This test starts after completing a fasting blood glucose test to establish a baseline. If the patient’s blood glucose level is above 200 mg/dl two hours after drinking the sugary drink, then the patient has diabetes.

Diabetes Treatment

Treatment of diabetes can include insulin shots, oral medication and management of lifestyle choices. With type I diabetes insulin shots are necessary because the body does not produce any of its own insulin. With type II diabetes the treatment options are more diverse. Some people with type II diabetes will need insulin, others can manage their disease with oral medications or by simply changing their diet to be lower in carbohydrates, increasing their level of exercise and losing weight. Some people with type II diabetes are able to reverse their disease with careful lifestyle management.


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