Monday, September 10, 2007

Diabetes - An Overview

When the body does not produce or properly use insulin, diabetes results. Diabetes, unqualified, typically is a reference to diabetes mellitus, however there are many rarer conditions also called diabetes. This disease is often diagnosed when an individual endures a problem that is caused by it, such as a stroke, heart attack, neuropathy, wounds not healing, an ulcer on the foot, certain kinds of eye conditions, fungal infections, or delivering a baby with hypoglycemia or macrosomia.

An estimated 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with the disease have type 1. Most however will be diagnosed with type 2. Sadly, it often goes undiagnosed for too long because the patient does not consider the early symptoms to be harmful.

Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2. This condition is also known as impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistance. The cells in your body become more resistant to insulin or your pancreas is not producing as much insulin as required. It is also called impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), depending on the test used to diagnose it. Pre-diabetes is becoming more common in the United States, according to new estimates provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In their efforts to ascertain whether or not a person has pre-diabetes or diabetes, health care professionals use a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Using the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level in the range of 100 and 125 mg/dl signals pre-diabetes. Using the OGTT test, a person's blood glucose level is measured after fasting and two hours after consuming a glucose-rich drink.

Diabetes screening is recommended for many people at various stages of life, and for those with any of several risk factors. But keeping your blood sugar under control now can help reduce the risk of health problems from diabetes later. Serious long-term complications include cardiovascular disease (doubled risk), chronic renal failure (diabetic nephropathy is the main cause of dialysis in developed world adults), retinal damage (which can lead to blindness and is the most significant cause of adult blindness in the non-elderly in the developed world), nerve damage (of several kinds), and micro vascular damage, which may cause erectile dysfunction (impotence) and poor healing.

Persons diagnosed with diabetes may eventually suffer from damage to the retinas, renal failure, cardiovascular disease, erectile dysfunction, nerve damage and many other health problems.

Proper diabetes treatment, focusing on the control of blood pressure and personal habits like smoking and keeping your weight under control could help in avoiding diabetes complications.

Diabetes can lead to serious health problems and early death, but those with diabetes can take action to manage the condition and reduce the risk of these complications. Diabetes is a disease that affects over 21 million in the U.S. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of early death and disability as well. Diabetes is linked to life long complications that damage almost every part of the human anatomy. It's very serious, but it is manageable.