Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group ofdiseases where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells do notproperly respond to the insulin that is produced. Insulin enables cells to takein sugar and use it to produce energy. There are many different types ofdiabetes, the most common forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both impact bloodglucose levels, and if left untreated can cause many complications and lead toother diseases.Thepancreas is the organ that produces insulin.
It stretches partway across theabdomen, just below the stomach. Its main functions are to aid in digestion andproduce hormones that control blood glucose levels. The pancreas secretesinsulin into the bloodstream. The insulin then circulates, allowing sugar toenter your cells, which lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As yourblood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenilediabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition where thepancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in childrenand young adults. Only five percent of people with diabetes have this form ofthe disease.
With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system will attack part ofits own pancreas. The immune system accidently sees the insulin-producing cellsin the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease.Without insulin the sugar will stay and build up in the blood. As a result, thebody’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.
If left untreated, the high bloodglucose levels may cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart (DiabeticInstitute 2016). To control their diabetes, patients take insulin shots. Regulatingthe insulin dose is the most significant challenge. The amount is based on manyfactors including: types of food consumed, the amount of exercise, the amountof stress and emotions and general health of the patient. These factors areconstantly changing. Therefore, deciding on the right dosage can be challenging.If the patient takes too much insulin, then her/his blood sugar can drop to adangerously low level.
This is a condition called hypoglycemia. If leftuntreated it can be life-threatening. If too little insulin is administered thencells will again be starved of energy, causing blood sugar to rise to adangerously high level. This is a condition called hyperglycemia, this alsoincreases the chance of long-term complications (West KM 1971).Withtype 2 diabetes the pancreas still produces insulin, however, the cells can notuse it effectively. This is referred toas insulin resistance. First, the pancreas will make more insulin to make upfor it but overtime it would not be able to keep up. It would not be able tomake enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal.
When the glucosebuilds up in the body instead of going into cells it will cause the sameproblems that occur in type 1. To control their diabetes, some people just eathealthy and exercise. For others that is not enough. They are prescribed oralmedications or insulin by their doctors to help them meet their target bloodglucose level. However, type 2 diabetes usually worsens over time.
Therefore,if medication is not needed at this time, it may be needed in the future. Type1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. However, two factors are importantin both. First, genetic predisposition to the disease and second, something in theenvironment triggers it. Genes alone are not enough. She (2003) studieddiabetic twins in Finland, where one twin had type 1 diabetes, to see whetherthe other twin would contract the disease. With 228 pairs of twins, bornbetween 1958 and 1986, approximately a fourth of the twins eventuallycontracted diabetes.
However, when one twin had type 2 diabetes, the othersrisk is 3 in 4 (She 2003). Type1 diabetes, in most cases is a recessive disorder. This means patients need toinherit their risk factors from both parents. It was found that these factorsare more common in Caucasians, who have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes. However,most people who are at risk for diabetes don’t ever acquire it. Researchershave determined some environmental triggers that might have played a role.
Theysuggest cold weather, viruses, and diet. Type 1 diabetes tends to develop morein the winter than summer. It is also more common in places with cold climates.Scientists also suggest that a virus that has mild effects on most people cantrigger type 1 diabetes in others.
They also suggested that your early diet couldhave played a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfedand in those who first ate solid food at later ages (American DiabetesAssociation 2017).Type2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1. Italso depends on environmental factors. Several different studies of twins haveshown that genetics play a very strong role in the development of type 2diabetes. Lifestyle choices also tend to influence the development of type 2diabetes. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight and obese with a lackof physical activity.
However, these are the two most common causes of type 2diabetes. According to the CDC, it is responsible for around 90-95% of diabetescases in the United States (WebMD 2017). Childrenof people with type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to the disease. This is inpart due to the children learning bad habits from their parents such as: eatinga poor diet and not exercising.
Determining the risk of a child from parentswho have type 1 diabetes is more difficult. Generally, if you are a male withtype 1 the odds of your child developing diabetes are one in seventeen. If youare a female with type 1 and your child was born before you were twenty-five,then your child’s risk is one in twenty-five.
However, if your child was bornafter you turned twenty-five then the child’s risk is one in one hundred. Inany of these cases if you developed diabetes before you were eleven years old,then your child’s risk is doubled. If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes,then your child’s risk is between one in ten and one in four. However, there isan exception. Around one in every seven people with type 1 diabetes has acondition called type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome. In addition todiabetes, these people have thyroid disease and a poorly working adrenal gland.
Some also end up having other immune system disorders. If you have thissyndrome, your child’s risk of getting this syndrome, including type 1diabetes, is one in two (American Diabetes Association 2017).Researchersare learning how to predict a person’s odd of getting diabetes. They have foundthat most Caucasians with type 1 diabetes have genes called HLA-DR3 or HLA-DR4.
If you and your child are Caucasian and share these genes then their risk ishigher. Though less studied, suspect genes for other ethnic groups have beendetermined. The HLA-DR7 gene puts African Americans at risk and the HLS-DR9gene puts Japanese people at risk. Scientists have also developed a specialtest that tells how the body responds to glucose and can tell which school-agedchildren are most at risk. There are also more expensive tests that can be donefor children with siblings with type 1 diabetes. The test measures antibodiesto insulin, to islet cells in the pancreas, or to an enzyme called glutamicacid decarboxylase.
High levels can indicate that a child has a higher risk ofdeveloping type 1 diabetes (American Diabetes Association 2017).Diabetes is a diseasethat affects about twenty-nine million people in the United States. Every year aboutone million people are diagnosed with diabetes (Santos-Longhurst 2017). Unfortunately, there is no cure yet fordiabetes.
By controlling blood sugar levels through a healthy diet, exercise, andmedication the long-term complications of diabetes can be minimized. Thoughgenes play a role in developing the disease, they are not enough. Your genes makeyou susceptible to the disease, however, your environment triggers it. Though both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have alot in common, they are two very different forms. They vary on the way that thepancreas produces insulin. Scientists, despite a cure, have found other ways tohelp people with diabetes.
They have created an insulin shot that allowsdiabetics to regulate their blood glucose levels. They are also working onstems cells being able to replenish the damaged cells in the pancreas, allowingit to function properly. With new technology and innovations, hopefully,scientist will soon find a cure.