Life Challenges - Diabetes
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus) is defined as a metabolic disorder, resulting in an increase in blood glucose concentration, and in extreme cases an increase in the glucose levels in the urine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defined several types of diabetes: Diabetes Type I (Youth Diabetes), Diabetes Type II (the most common and wide-spread type – approximately 90% of diabetes patients) and Pregnancy Diabetes.
All diabetes types are a result of failure in the production of Insulin and/or decrease in its physiological action on the tissues it affects: the muscle, liver and fat tissue.
What is Insulin?
The normal physiological mechanism of glucose absorption from the bloodstream is mediated by the hormone insulin, which is secreted from pancreatic beta cells as a reaction to food consumption.
Insulin is in charge of facilitating glucose absorption into muscle cells, the liver cells (which stores energy reserves to use between meals and during the night's fast) and fat tissue (in the event of excessive eating).
Insulin is secreted after a meal in reaction to increased blood glucose levels (any food we eat, is broken down into sugar, even protein or fat are broken down and are utilized by the body to produce sugar) and helps glucose enter the cells.
Brain and nervous system functions require a constant supply of glucose in order to maintain normal physiological functions, therefore, the blood glucose levels during fasting should remain in the narrow margin between 80 and 100 mg/deciliter. The liver breaks down glycogen reserves during fasting, between meals and during sleep. In addition, when you feel hungry, the body breaks down fat reserves. Muscle proteins can also be broken down in the case of severe diabetes.
What is glucose tolerance? How does diabetes develop? And what are its possible complications?
During the fattening process (typical in Adult Diabetes) the body tries to deal with blood sugar surpluses by excess secretions of insulin. Following prolonged exposure to high levels of Insulin, a decrease in sensitivity to it is experiences (“Latent” diabetes), so that the amount of secreted Insulin is no longer effective (Insulin resistance). As result of that, the blood glucose levels start to rise, and often a rise in blood fat levels is also evident.
Possible Complications that may appear as result of Diabetes
High levels of blood glucose for extended periods of time harm the function of the blood vessels through creations of free radicals and development of sclerotic layers (accumulation of blood fats over the blood vessels walls that block their shaft).
The blood vessels with the largest potential of being damaged include the coronary veins arteries, feeding the heart muscle (cardiac episode) the neck arteries (brain stroke) the blood vessels of the eye retina (blindness) the kidney (kidney failure) the reproductive systems (impotence) and the nerve fibers (particularly those responsible for sensation in the lower limbs).
Another significant expression for diabetic damage is the appearance of “diabetic ulcers”, mainly on the feet. These ulcers tend to get easily infected, have a slow healing rate and may result in gangrene (which requires surgical amputation).
Signs of Diabetes and its Basic Treatment
The first symptoms that appear upon the beginning of onset of diabetes include: increased thirst and sensation of dryness of the mouth, extensive urination (mainly at night) accompanied by a pungent odor, fatigue after light exertion compared to the past, sensations of intense hunger between meals accompanied by a “drop” in sugar levels between meals, manifested by sweating, nervousness, rapid pulse and haze.
Early diagnosis is a highly important factor for treating chronic diseases like diabetes. Upon the progression of the illness, there is a decrease in the quantity of secreted insulin, in which stage the common practice is to integrate Insulin treatment from an external source - injections.
Most conventional medications given through oral administration have known side effects. Medications administered through injection are often treated with low response levels by patients.