Diabetes is a disease that impacts the body's ability to properly convert food into energy. During normal bodily function, individuals take in food that is then converted into glucose, which is a form of sugar. Next, the pancreas kicks in, releasing insulin. Insulin allows the cells of the body to open and accept glucose, which is then converted into energy. People who suffer from Type I diabetes experience a malfunction of the immune system in which their pancreas is subjected to attack. The cells that produce insulin are destroyed, leaving the patient with a depleted ability to process glucose. People with Type II diabetes are unable to produce sufficient levels of insulin and are unable to facilitate the transfer of glucose into the body's cells.
Diabetes is a serious health concern, and it is estimated that more than 29 million Americans suffer from the disease. Researchers have determined that Type I diabetes has a strong genetic component, and is largely a hereditary disease. Type II diabetes, on the other hand, is directly linked to being overweight or obese. Individuals can develop Type II diabetes if their weight exceeds a certain threshold and they do not participate in healthy, active lifestyle choices.
One of the primary treatment options for individuals who suffer from diabetes is insulin replacement therapy. There are a number of techniques available to help patients know precisely how much insulin to take via self-injection. A number of other medications are also helpful in treating diabetes. For individuals who are overweight or obese, lifestyle modification and nutritional counseling also play an important role in managing the treatment and progression of diabetes. One of the most important things in seeking care is finding a physician with whom the patient is comfortable and who is willing and able to create a customized treatment plan for that patient’s particular set of needs and concerns. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, stroke or amputations.
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