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Defining Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a common disorder that occurs when your pancreas either totally stops producing insulin or does not produce enough of the hormone for your body's needs. This results in a low absorption of glucose, both by the cells, which need it for energy, and by the liver, which stores it. Another result is a high level of glucose in your blood.

Eating too much sugar is not the cause of diabetes. This misconception arises because diabetes is characterized by high levels of blood sugar (glucose). Excessive sugar consumption is indeed very dangerous for diabetics, who must curtail their sugar intake. But sugar doesn't cause this disorder.
Two main forms of diabetes mellitus:

Insulin-dependent diabetes - Type I
  • Mainly in young people
  • Pancreas produces very little or no insulin
  • Body is unable to use glucose because of the lack of insulin
  • Body is forced to obtain energy from fat which can cause diabetic coma
Non Insulin-dependent diabetes - Type II
  • Usually affects people over 40
  • Output of insulin is inadequate for your body's needs
  • Most common in people who are overweight
  • Hereditary
Symptoms of diabetes:
  Frequent urination
  Dried splashes on underwear
  Perpetual thirst
  Extreme tiredness
  Weakness in the muscles
  Weight loss
  Possible tingling in hands and feet
  Reduced resistance to infections
  Blurred vision due to excess glucose in eye fluid
  Impotence in men
  Absence of menstrual periods in women
Risks of diabetes:
  Diabetic coma or unconsciousness
  Diabetic retinopathy (eye disorder)
  Peripheral neuropathy (nerve disease)
  Chronic kidney failure
  Leg cramps (caused by blood vessels to legs narrowed)
  Cold feet
  Pain when you walk
  Skin ulcers
  Heart attack
  High blood pressure
While daily blood glucose testing tells you what your blood sugar level is at the time you test, HbA1c testing tells you your "average" blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months. These tests are very important in protecting your long-term health. Maintaining good HbA1c levels will help reduce your risk of diabetes complications such as blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage, stroke, and heart failure.

Types of Diabetes
Diabetes Treatment
Understanding the Kidney and Kidney Disorders
The Facts Surrounding Diabetes
Common Questions On Diabetes
Diabetes - The Myths About Sugar
Diabetes - Who is at Risk?
Glossary of Terms commonly used with Diabetes

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Related Topics
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes Treatment
Kidney Disorders
Diabetes Facts
Diabetes FAQ
Myths About Sugar
Who is at Risk
Diabetes Terms