Diabetes Mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases in which the body cannot regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or cannot use insulin properly (type 2 diabetes) or both (which occurs with several forms of diabetes).
There are two major types of diabetes. The causes and risk factors are different for each type:
Type 1 Diabetes: - The body stops producing insulin or produces too little insulin to regulate blood glucose level because of progressive failure of the pancreatic beta cells. It can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown.
Type 2 Diabetes: - Although the pancreas still secretes insulin, the body of someone with "type 2 diabetes" is partially or completely unable to use this insulin. This is sometimes referred to as insulin resistance. It makes up most of diabetes cases. It most often occurs in adulthood, but teens and young adults are now being diagnosed with it because of high obesity rates.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes ultimately lead to high blood sugar levels, a condition called "Hyperglycemia". Over a long period of time, hyperglycemia damages the retina of the eye, the blood vessels of the kidneys, the nerves, and other blood vessels.
1. Damage to the retina from diabetes (diabetic retinopathy) is a leading cause of blindness.
2. Damage to the kidneys from diabetes (diabetic nephropathy) is a leading cause of kidney failure.
3. Damage to the nerves from diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) is a leading cause of foot wounds and ulcers, which frequently lead to foot and leg amputations.
4. Damage to the nerves in the autonomic nervous system can lead to paralysis of the stomach, chronic diarrhea, and an inability to control heart rate and blood pressure during postural changes.
5. Diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis, (the formation of fatty plaques inside the arteries), which can lead to blockages or a clot (thrombus). Such changes can then lead to heart attack, stroke, and decreased circulation in the arms and legs (peripheral vascular disease).
6. Diabetes predisposes people to elevated blood pressure, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. These conditions both independently and together with hyperglycemia, increase the risk of heart disease, kidney