Strategies for Well-Being Blog

A Better Understanding of Diabetes

It is possible to live a long and healthy life with diabetes!
Diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism caused by inadequate production or utilization of insulin, the hormone secreted by beta cells in the pancreas. Type I diabetes (Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or IDDM) is also called juvenile diabetes, as it appears most often in children under the age of 15. It is an autoimmune disease that affects about 10% of the diabetic population. The more prevalent Type II diabetes (non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus or NIDDM), is also called adult-onset diabetes, as it appears most frequently in adults over the age of 20. The age-related terms are becoming outdated, however, because NIDDM is now showing up in increasing numbers in children, and IDDM is appearing more frequently in adults. It is very important to differentiate between the two types, partly because the dietary and nutrient requirements vary in some important ways.
Major symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, fatigue and frequent urination. The long-term health problems that can result from diabetes mostly involve the blood vessels. Fluctuations in blood sugar shock the mural cells in tiny capillaries, gradually weakening and narrowing them. Most diabetic problems result from this breakdown in the vascular system. The damage that results is usually much more severe in patients with poor blood sugar control and/or poor nutritional status.

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