Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What You Must Know About Diabetes

What You Must Know About Diabetes by Kay Lowe

Diabetes mellitus, usually referred to as simply "diabetes", is a disease of glucose or "sugar" metabolism. Diabetes is a common condition in the United States and the incidence is increasing; as many as 20% of Americans may be affected. Few diseases wreak more havoc on the body than diabetes. Complications of diabetes can cause problems with the heart and circulation, nervous system, kidneys, and eyes. Diabetics are at greater risk for high blood pressure and stroke. The circulatory problems of diabetes can lead to gangrene and amputations and diabetics also have difficulty healing.

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is disorder of glucose metabolism. Glucose is a simple sugar that is required by every cell in the body for energy. Dietary carbohydrates (sugar, starch, etc.) are broken down by a substance called insulin into simple glucose. The diabetic, however, either lacks insulin because the pancreas stops making it (or isn't making enough), or the cells of the body become resistant to the insulin. Without insulin, the diabetic consumes carbohydrate foods and the sugar remains in the bloodstream but is unavailable to the cells of the body. Untreated, this elevated blood sugar can lead to coma and even death.

How to Treat Diabetes

Blood sugar control is a key factor in improving outcomes for diabetics and avoiding the complications. There are many treatment options available today for diabetes; however, any effective program will address diet, exercise and possibly medication. The person with diabetes should find a physician or health care provider and establish a good relationship with that provider.

Proper management of diabetes can allow the individual to lead a life that is "normal" and avoid the devastating complications. Partner with your health care provider to manage your disease and enjoy life.

About the Author
Ms. Lowe holds a Master's degree in Nursing and has worked for 30+ years in health care. She is webmaster for, a resource for health information on the web.

Learn more about your diabetes diet in this blog!


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