Diabetes is a condition in which a person has high blood glucose levels due to failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin or as a result of body cells failing to respond to the insulin that is produced. Alternatively, there is another type of diabetes characterized by passage of large amounts of urine as a result of a deficiency secretion of anti-diuretic hormone. This type is otherwise called Diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mellitus has been linked to obesity although there are a variety of causes while Diabetes insipidus has often been linked to pituitary gland failure. A lot of dietary and chemical therapy has been used to control and maintain diabetes as complete eradication of the disorder from the body is not possible. Patients living with the condition are educated on ways of ensuring that it is under control at all times.
Diabetes, characteristics and most affected group
The most common form of diabetes is Diabetes mellitus acondition that is characterized by very high blood sugar levels as a result of the body failing to maintain the correct level. The hormone that controls blood glucose is called insulin and it is secreted by the pancreas. This hormone converts excess glucose in the blood into glycogen or else turns it to energy which is utilized by the body Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010).
There are generally two categories of Diabetes mellitus namely type 1 and type 2. Type1 Diabetes mellitus is characterized by loss of the beta-cells of islets of Langerhans in the pancreas which produces insulin. Lack of insulin leads to hyperglycemia, which refers to, high than normal blood sugar levels. Traditionally, this was referred to as juvenile diabetes because it was common in children and adolescents and rare among adults.
Type 2 diabetes on the other hand is characterized by insulin resistance which may appear in combination with low insulin secretion. It is the common type of diabetes involving insulin receptors resistance to high blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetes is common among older people unlike type 1 which mostly affects young children Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010).
Symptoms portrayed by affected individuals
One of the most common characteristic of diabetic individuals is general body fatigue. Due to inability of the body to produce energy from glucose it switches to utilizing body fat which requires more energy to metabolize thus, leaving the body more fatigued (CDC,2009). Consequently, as the stored fat is used up in production of energy, the individual suffers from unexplained weight loss. In type 2 diabetes, the body resists the action of insulin such that the body ends up producing more and more to control loss of excess glucose such that the individual ends up feeling hungry at all times. This is as a result of the effect of insulin and even after eating high calorie foods very minimal weight is gained.
Prolonged healing of wounds due to inhibition of white blood cells to function normally is common as well as thickening of blood vessels thus, impairing transportation of the cells to injured spots. Sometimes presence of glucose in tissues encourages growth of bacteria hence, leading to infections in those tissues (Diabetes, 2010).
Causes of the diabetes and effect on body systems
Type 2 diabetes is caused by lifestyles activities such as leading a sedentary life, high alcohol intake as well as smoking and adoption of unhealthy diets together with habits. Individuals who are obese have increased levels of being diabetic especially in children and adolescents. Environmental pollution with bisphenol-A a component of plastics has been linked to increased diabetes cases especially in highly industrialized countries.A medical condition such as Cushing’s syndrome which increases the amount of cortisol in the body is closely linked to type 2 diabetes. Hypogonadism which leads to increased cortisol increases the sensitivity of insulin as well as reduced production of testosterone.
Genes are also lead to diabetic conditions to a certain extent although environmental stimuli are also required to trigger the genes. Certain HLA genotypes increase the susceptibility of individuals to Diabetes mellitus. The gene NOTCH2 and KCNJ11 when inherited regulates proglucagon gene expression thus leading to diabetes Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010).
Effect on body systems
When the blood sugar levels increase to dangerous levels while at the same time all of it is excreted, the body develops a deficiency otherwise called “hypoglycemia”. This condition leads to less glucose being availed for normal body functions. The nervous and skeletal systems require a lot of energy to carry out their designated functions such that if the nervous system does not have access to glucose, it may react by leading the body into a coma. The skeletal system may develop serious cramps in addition to failing to function normally. This may result in neurological disorders such as numbness due to death of cells and eventually amputation of limbs among other parts (Diabetes, 2010).
Diabetic retinopathy is a common effect on the eyes resulting to partial or total blindness in affected individuals.The general immune system of the body is weakened by diabetes due to inhibition of white blood cells and this increases the rate of infections from other diseases especially cardiovascular diseases (CDC,2009).
Diabetic risk factors
Risk factors which can be controlled
One of the risk factors that can be controlled is avoiding sedentary lifestyles. By participating in physical activities one is able to reduce the chances of being diabetic. Physically active individuals have lower rates of diabetic incidences than people who participate less in such activities. Obese people are encouraged to engage in physical exercises in addition to reducing their intake of high-fat foods. A combination of the two actions not only regulates their weight but also helps in controlling diabetes. Reducing the intake of alcohol and smoking are lifestyle factors which can be modified to control diabetes. Consequently, all lifestyle risk factors can be changed to control diabetes by adopting healthy eating habits and lifestyles (CDC,2009).
Risk factors which cannot be controlled
Hereditary factors such as inheritance of NOTCH2 and KCNJ11 may not be possible to control as an individual is born with the causative agent and in the presence of a conducive environment, the condition appears. In such a case, even the body’s immune system may not alter the genotypic constitution of the individual. Alternatively, risk factors such as environmental pollution and toxins may only be controlled if the whole world joins hands in the exercise. This is because some toxins are airborne and may affect individuals who are direct an indirect contact with them (CDC,2009).
Evolution of treatment procedures for diabetes
Over the years, diabetes has been treated using artificially prepared insulin which is intravenously injected into the bloodstream. This refers to insulin therapy and sometimes it can be inhaled to control diabetes but not curing. Individuals with morbid obesity have been subjected to gastric bypass surgery which has controlled the condition. However, diabetes is a chronic situation that cannot be cured and is only controlled (Diabetes, 2010).Before the discovery of insulin in 1922, diabetic patients were often advised to eat low-caloric food to evade death by ketoacidosis. Diets rich in fiber and proteins were recommended and even today, diabetic individuals live according to this diet to maintain the condition Mayo Clinic Staff, 2010).
Current treatment methods
Modern treatment methods include use of clinical insulin’s which are yeast based and being protein in nature they cannot be administered orally. Subcutaneous administration of insulin involves use of single-use of syringes fitted with needles or insulin pumps. This procedure has its own schedules which mimic the psychological secretion of insulin by the pancreas. Hypurin administration is common with this procedure while Exubera is administered by inhaling (CDC,2009).
Another option that is quite familiar is transplantation of the pancreas or beta-cells as opposed to periodic administration of insulin. This transplantation is rather complicated and it is done in conjunction with liver or kidney transplant so that a self-regulating source of insulin is obtained (Diabetes, 2010).
Medical tests and procedures in diabetes
There are two major procedures that are involved in testing blood sugar levels; the first procedure involves use of the enzymes hexokinase and glucose oxidase. A sample of blood is placed on a strip which is later inserted in a meter to obtain readings. This technique identifies presence of nonspecific reducing sugars in blood. The readings obtained will show the amount of glucose in the blood and from there the medical officer is able to make an informed diagnosis (CDC,2009).
Future treatment options
More research is being done on the possibility of transplanting technically engineered non-beta cells into diabetic patients to secrete urine. Other options of non-transplant methods in which insulin will be automatically delivered are also being developed to reduce complications associated with intravenous administration of insulin. Thus, the future looks bright for people with diabetes as a cure maybe discovered and severity of the condition minimized (Diabetes, 2010).Researchers are also working towards developing artificial pancreas which will be transplanted into the ailing individuals as well as using stem cells to genetically engineer normal pancreases (Diabetes, 2010).
CDC,(2009),Diabetes and me. Retrieved from: www.cdc.gov/diabetes
Diabetes, (2010), Journal of American Diabetic Association. Retrieved from: www.diabetes.org/
Mayo clinic staff, (2010), diabetes. Retrieved from: www.mayoclinic.com.