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Are You Prone to Diabetes? Find Out for Yourself!

Dr. Rajendra Kumar

Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot make proper use of carbohydrates because of inadequate production of insulin. The best method of coping with diabetes is exercise and diet control. The more you resort to natural means of healing, the better it will be. The moment you become dependent on medicines your susceptibility to problems increases.

The incidence of diabetes is on the rise all over the world. The rise of this disease can be attributed to both genetic and environmental factors. Due to this increased prevalence of diabetes, it has become necessary for people who are prone to this illness to maintain such a lifestyle so as to minimise the chances of developing the disease. And those who already suffer from the disease have to be still more careful so as to lead a normal life as far as possible.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot make proper use of carbohydrates because of inadequate production of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by special cells within the pancreas. It has profound effects on the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and electrolytes. The carbohydrates we eat are converted to glucose, the sugar that circulates in the blood and provide energy for all body functions. Unused glucose is converted to fat and stored. In diabetes mellitus, often called sugar diabetes because the urine contains sugar, the process that converts glucose to energy does not work properly. When glucose cannot be used to provide the energy to keep the body going and to build new tissues, it accumulates in the blood, spills over into the urine and is lost. The sugar in the urine takes extra water with it, producing the classic diabetic symptoms of increased urine output and an increased thirst to compensate for the loss of fluid.

In diabetes mellitus, body tissues are starved of glucose even though the diet is adequate and there is more than enough glucose in the blood. First fat and later muscle and other tissues begin to be broken down in a futile attempt to provide glucose, which cannot be used any more effectively than glucose from food. There are two types of diabetes mellitus.

The two major forms of diabetes, type 1 and type 2, share a central feature:

In type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, known as beta cells, are gradually destroyed; eventually insulin deficiency is absolute. Without insulin to move glucose into cells, blood sugar levels become excessively high, a condition known as hyperglycemia. The sugar, which the body cannot use without insulin, spills over into the urine and is lost. Weakness, weight loss, and excessive hunger and thirst are among the consequences of this "starvation in the midst of plenty". Patients become dependent on administered insulin for survival. Dietary control is very important and must focus on balancing food intake with insulin intake and energy expenditure from physical exertion.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as noninsulin-dependent or maturity-onset diabetes, is by far the more common type of diabetes. Most type 2 diabetics produce variable even normal amounts of insulin, but are insulin resistant; that is, they have abnormalities in liver and muscle cells that block its action. Many type 2 diabetics, however, seem to be incapable of secreting enough insulin to overcome this resistance; it is likely in such cases that there is an additional defect in insulin secretion by the beta cells.

Obesity is common in type 2 diabetics and this condition appears to be related to insulin resistance. The primary goal for overweight type 2 patients is weight loss and maintenance.

People with both types of diabetes are at risk for a number of medical complications, including heart and kidney disease. Dietary requirements for diabetes must take these disorders into consideration.

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