Diabetes is a disease of uncontrolled and consistent increase in blood sugar. It is chronic, congenital and irreversible. Risk factors of the condition include heredity. It has been established that people with first degree relatives who have diabetes have higher risk than those with none. Although the risk for the general population is about five percent, people who have a parent or sibling with the disease have an increased risk of about 10 to 15 percent. If that sibling is an identical twin, then the risk is almost 100 percent. However, this risk may not be entirely genetic. Because Type 2 diabetes is also triggered by a lifestyle that lead to obesity, twins may share a strong lifestyle similarity that puts them at similar risk.
Diabetes has three types, Type 1 also called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) results from the body’s failure to produce insulin. Type 2 also known as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) results from insulin resistance in the body. The third type called Gestational Diabetes occurs in a patient who is pregnant and has no history of increased glucose before pregnancy. The disorder has a triad of major symptoms which are increased appetite, increased thirst and increased urination. Other symptoms include vision changes and skin rashes. Series of tests are done to diagnose the illness. Fasting Blood Glucose test or Fasting Blood Sugar test, done usually as part of a regular check-up, is a basic screening for diabetes. If the result reaches 126mg/dL or greater then diabetes is diagnosed while if the result ranges from 100-126mg/dL pre-diabetes is assumed. Another test called Oral Glucose Tolerance test also confirms diabetes. Diagnosis is given if glucose level is higher than 200mg/dL after 2 hours.
Diabetes is categorized as one of the major chronic illness that affects millions of people worldwide. An estimated 80% of those who develop diabetes are obese. However, the relationship of the two has always been a mystery to many for years already. Today, one research has concluded that fat cells prompt tissues to resist the action of insulin. The research studied animals that are obese from over eating. They found out that the hormone they call resistin are of high levels. The same resistin gene is found in humans also. Like diabetes, obesity is also inherited from generations to generations.
Upon diagnosis of chronic illnesses, focus of treatment is given towards prevention of further complications and damage to major organs since most chronic illnesses are not treatable only controllable. Few of the acute complications related to this disease are hypoglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome. The serious complications known to diabetes on the other hand, include cardiovascular diseases, renal failure, sepsis, and retinal damage. The medications for diabetic individuals depend on the type of the illness. For type 1, insulin is used and is given through the subcutaneous route of injection. For type 2 on the other hand oral hypoglycemic agents are given. Some of the known oral hypoglycemic agents are sulfonylureas and nonsulfonylureas which trigger insulin, biguanides that acts by decreasing hepatic glucose output and by increasing uptake of glucose by the periphery, and alpha glucosidase inhibitors that slows down the digestion of starch in the small intestine thereby matching the impairment of insulin production. Commonly used medications for type 2 diabetes are metformin, glucotrol and acarbose. These prescribed medications are however only effective if the patient adapts the lifestyle changes necessary.
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