Diabetes 6 Essay, Research Paper
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder caused by decreased production of insulin, or by decreased ability to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is necessary for cells to be able to use blood sugar.
The cause of diabetes mellitus is unknown, but heredity and diet are believed to play a role in its development. Diabetes results when the pancreas produces insufficient amounts of insulin to meet the body’s needs. It can also result when the pancreas produces insulin, but the cells are unable to efficiently use it (insulin resistance). Insulin is necessary for blood sugar (glucose) to go from the blood to the inside of the cells, and unless the sugar gets into the cells, the body cannot use it. The excess sugar remains in the blood and is then removed by the kidneys. Symptoms of excessive thirst, frequent urination, and hunger develop. The (metabolism) of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins is altered.
Diabetes occurs in several forms. The most common types are: Type I, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM); Type II, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM); and Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.
Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM or Type I) usually occurs in people before the age of 30 requires insulin injections to live. Risk factors for IDDM include autoimmune disease, viral infections, and a family history of diabetes.
Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM or Type II) usually occurs in severely overweight (obese) adults and rarely requires insulin treatment. Treatment includes diet for diabetics and exercise. Risk factors for Type II are obesity, physiological or emotional stress, pregnancy, certain medications, age over 40, and family history.
Gestational diabetes starts or is first recognized during pregnancy. It usually becomes apparent during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy. In many cases, the blood-glucose level returns to normal after delivery. Risk factors for gestational diabetes are maternal age over 25 years, family history of diabetes, obesity, birth weight over 9 pounds in a previous infant, unexplained death in a previous infant or newborn, congenital malformation in a previous child, and recurrent infections.
Diabetes mellitus affects up to 5% of the population in the US, almost 14 million people.
Controlling body weight in individuals at risk may prevent the onset of Type II diabetes. There may be no symptoms early in the course of the disease.
The immediate goals of treatment are to stabilize the metabolism, restore normal body weight, and eliminate the symptoms of high blood-glucose. The long-term goals of treatment are to prolong life, improve the quality of life, relieve symptoms, and prevent long-term complications through education, careful dietary management and weight control, medication, physical activity, self testing, and foot care.
Insulin lowers blood sugar by allowing it to leave the blood stream and enter the cell. Everyone needs insulin. People with type I diabetes cannot make their own insulin and must take insulin injections every day to survive. People with Type II diabetes make insulin, but are not able to use it effectively. They can survive without insulin injections, but many may take insulin shots to more effectively control blood-glucose levels. Insulin must be injected under the skin using a needle and syringe, or in some cases, an insulin pump. Insulin is not available in an oral form. There are several types of insulin preparations that differ in how fast they start to work and how long they work. Choice of the insulin type to use is made by a health care professional based on the patient’s blood-glucose measurements. Sometimes the types of insulin will be mixed together to provide the best control of blood glucose. Insulin injections are usually needed from 1 to 4 times per day. People needing insulin are taught to give themselves their injections by their health care providers or diabetes educators referred by their providers.
Medications (oral hypoglycemic agents) to control blood sugar are pills usually taken once or twice per day. These medications work by preventing the body from sending sugar into the bloodstream when insulin is not working properly, releasing more insulin into the bloodstream, and helping the body’s own insulin move glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. Some people need insulin in addition to oral medications. Some people no longer need medication if they lose weight because their own insulin works better without the extra weight, fat, and sugar. Oral medications are not insulin and will not help a person who needs insulin.
The outcome for diabetes mellitus is variable. Good control of blood-glucose levels reduces complications of diabetes. Usually Type I diabetes mellitus is more severe, and the potential for developing complications is greater. Even with good control by diet and medication of both types of diabetes, complications may result.
In gestational diabetes, blood-glucose may return to normal after the delivery; however, the risk of developing diabetes in the future is greater. Maintaining normal body weight is critical in reducing the risk of diabetes for the future.
Since diabetes mellitus isn t usually fatal or extremely harmful to the person who has it, I don t think that it is as important to find a cure for this disease as it is for other diseases. I believe that the medications and techniques for keeping this disease in check are great and getting better each day. Three people in my family have diabetes and it does not affect their lives greatly. My cousin wears a small arm band that automatically injects insulin into her bloodstream when needed and the others must give themselves shots daily to keep their insulin at the right levels.