It is alarming to know that every year diabetes mellitus kills more than 70,000 United States residents and about 20 million people in U. S. alone suffer from this disease. Five in hundred people in the U. K. are affected with diabetes. In Canada about 6 per cent of their population is with diabetes mellitus which invariably accounts for about 20,000 deaths annually according to experts. In addition, diabetes is a contributory factor in heart diseases and other related health conditions.

Diabetes is caused by the body resistance to, or deficiency of the hormone insulin which helps in removal of excess sugar from the blood stream into the body cells so that it can be used as a source of energy.

If this hormone insulin is deficient or ineffective, blood sugar rises causing excessive urination, hunger and thirst. Apart from excess urine, additional symptoms may include weight loss, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, irritability, weakness and fatigue.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1: Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) or otherwise known as juvenile onset diabetes, this type normally starts at childhood or early adulthood and has a very strong genetic components. This type is characterized by a complete lack of insulin as the name implies and must be treated with regular insulin injections.

This type 1 diabetes is also an autoimmune disease (that is a condition whereby the body disease fighting immune system attacks the healthy tissues and cells). In this case the immune system attacks and destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

Type 2: Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or maturity onset diabetes tends to develop in middle age or older individuals particularly those who are obese.

In this case the pancreas secrets enough insulin, but the body cells seem resistant to the effects making the body to release more insulin in the blood by trying to overcome the resistance.

Most cases of type 2 diabetes can be managed with a combination of diet, exercise and oral medication. Symptoms include repeated infections or skin sore that heals slowly or not at all, numbness in the hand or feet, tiredness and nausea.

For women, it is particularly important because diabetes seems to affect the female hormone and as a result, many women with diabetes develop coronary heart disease. Diabetes may cause blockage of large blood vessels that can lead to severe cardiovascular problems.

Studies have shown that some environmental factors can trigger type 1 diabetes in people with genetic predisposition for the disease.

Researchers attribute type 2 diabetes to obesity. So every pound of excess weight you gain increases your chance by 5 per cent at least.

Treatment includes controlling the amount of glucose in your blood stream depending on the type of diabetes, physical exercise, controlled diet and medication makes it less common. Most importantly, check your blood sugar regularly and see your physician for a more qualified advice.

A couple of drugs like, Glucophage, Actos, Precose, Avandis and many others have been developed to help with type 2 diabetes. Consult your doctor for a detailed and proper form of treatment.

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