What is diabetes. Why do people have it. Is there a cure. What is in the future of diabetes. All of these questions show what kind of complicated illness Diabetes is. For the many that have it, live a healthy lifestyle and manage to keep this illness under control. 25.8 million Children and adults in the United States, that’s over 8% of the entire population.
The Definition of Diabetes.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases where the person has high blood sugar levels, it can be because the body does not make enough insulin, or because the cells that the body makes do not respond properly to insulin, or in some cases, both. People who have high blood sugar will usually experience frequent urination, extreme thirst and hunger. This is an example of type 1 diabetes. About 1 in every 400 children and adolescents has diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not seen in children but mostly adults. Type two is very different than type one and is much more manageable. About 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. Some people may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by following a healthy diet and doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood sugar levels. Type 2 usually gets worse. It may end up that the patient has to take insulin in a tablet form. So how is all of this relevant to kids with diabetes who go to school today?
As stated above, about 1 in 400 children and adolescents have diabetes. This means that most schools across the United States have children who go to their school who have diabetes. Patients with type 1 diabetes very well may need to take insulin injections for the rest of their life. They must also ensure proper blood sugar levels by testing their sugars regularly. Since the school day is long and most students are busy throughout the entire day, it is hard to keep track of all of their responsibilities they need to do to keep their illness under control. An interesting fact is that you spend roughly one-third of your waking hours in school. At least. And that’s not including extra-curricular activities. The biggest concern with students who have diabetes is that they will be known as “that kid” I used to worry about that all the time. But diabetes is a very low key disease and if controlled well, there are absolutely no visual symptoms.
Why people develop diabetes.
Stress is something everyone feels, and it is a part of everyday life. People perceive and deal with their stress in many different ways. There are lots things that can cause people to feel stress and it all depends on how they manage stress. Stress is known as an unpleasant state of emotional and physiological arousal that people feel in situations that they see as being somewhat dangerous or threatening to them. Stress is a universal feeling to everyone but the word stress means different things to people. They way someone lives their life and genetics can change the stress levels of people (many people can argue that things people do in their life are automated responses to stress, one key example would be something like emotional eating), but no evidence exists to prove this point, it’s just a theory. For example, a Swedish study in over 5,200 adults followed for 8-10 years demonstrated people with high emotional distress had twice the risk for developing pre-diabetes and three times the risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those with low distress scores(Dr. Bradley, 2006).
Another factor that plays a role in determining whether one will develop diabetes is problems with genes. One obvious genetic problem would be that the insulin gene itself is bad. This isn’t really common, though. Most people with Type 1 diabetes have a normal insulin gene. Other DNA differences can lead to an increased risk of getting Type 1 diabetes. For example, some people with Type 1 diabetes have differences in genes called HLA genes that aid the immune system to function normally. Also, there are probably at least 16 other areas of DNA where differences can increase your risk of getting Type 1 diabetes. Scientists are still trying to figure out what these are and how they work.
People with type 1 diabetes develop it between the ages of nine and thirty. Type 1 diabetes is insulin dependent. 10% of people who have diabetes have type 1. This type is often called juvenile diabetes because people develop it during childhood. People with type I have to take insulin on daily. The insulin is injected beneath the skin into the tissue. Without the insulin, the body will not be able to function correctly. Diet is one of the prime and vital steps in dealing with diabetes. It is not always needed to change from ones traditional dietary pattern. A note of caution must be sounded. A diabetic should not try to fasting on any count since fasting lowers the blood sugar in the system and established the vicious cycle of excess hunger, over eating, excess sugar and increasing the severity of the symptoms in diabetes.
The next step which should be used with dieting is exercise. One should try habit of walking for an hour at least every day. This is to be observed as regularly as brushing ones teeth. Active hobbies like gardening and games can be adopted are possible. ‘Mental Tension’ is the second leading cause of diabetes, and the people must be educated on the principles of ‘diffusion of mental tension’. A typical case of this kind has been recent observed in Guntur of Andhra Pradesh. The ‘Lack of Physical Exercise’ is found to be the major cause for diabetes among high income groups, sedentary occupations, and white collared job holders. Also, urbanization and the improvement of transport facilities ties into the increase of diabetes in the urban areas. As the ‘food production’ and ‘purchasing power’ of the people have increased, the intake of refined foods has steadily risen resulting in the development of diabetes. Hence, people have to be advised to take more of vegetable, pulses, and high fiber containing cereals like wheat, ragi, etc., and to minimize the use of animal fats, sweets, sugar, ice creams and other fast foods. ‘Multi parade’ has greater risk of developing diabetes and hence this theme must be integrated with family welfare program, and people should be educated to limit the family size, to reduce the risk of getting diabetes. Certain drugs like corticoid steroids used in Bronchial asthma and arthritis, ‘Histamine 2 Blockers’ used in peptic ulcer are mostly diabetogenic.
When consumed regularly over several weeks or months, honey will lower blood sugar and HbA1c levels. Glycosylated (or glycated) hemoglobin, or HbA1c as it is commonly known, is a marker used by physicians to identify the average plasma glucose (blood sugar) concentration over prolonged periods of time. The measurement will be proportional to the average blood glucose concentration during a period of time typically considered to be one to three months prior to the measurement. Research studies using humans have shown that honey consumption will result in lower blood sugar levels by as much 60 to 100 mg/dl at 60 and 90 minutes following ingestion of a comparable amount of sucrose. Therefore it is not surprising that the HbA1c levels will be lower by as much as 2 to 4%.
Is there a cure today?
Ever since the introduction of diabetes into modern culture, there has been a lot of talk about ‘a cure’. Although millions of people would benefit from a cure, I personally do not think that a cure would be released any time soon. I believe this because I think that pharmaceutical companies have an enormous interest and investment in keeping diabetes around for however long they can because pushing and continuing their treatments is a far bigger business than a cure could ever be. A cure for diabetes would put a lot of people out of jobs and would hurt the economy. But the real question is what to we value here? Money, or the goodness of curing millions of people from a horrible disease? We all know that diabetes is a multi-billion dollar industry, including sales of oral agents and injectable medicine like Novolog, and medical devices such as insulin pumps, blood sugar meters and their very expensive test strips, and new models of them that come out fairly quickly. Type 2 diabetes is also increasing exponentially, but even type 1 diabetes is growing at a dramatic rate, which means more and more people who need the medicine.
Looking into the future of diabetes.
With the fact that diabetes is an exponentially growing disease, the statistics for the future are quite scary. For example between 2009 and 2034, the number of people with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes will increase from 23.7 million to 44.1 million. That’s basically double. During the same years, annual diabetes-related spending is expected to increase from $113 billion to $336 billion (2007 dollars). For the Medicare-eligible population, the diabetes population is expected to rise from 8.2 million in 2009 to 14.6 million in 2034; associated spending is estimated to rise from $45 billion to $171 billion. (Diabetes Care December 2009 vol. 32 no. 12 2225-2229) As technology progresses, so do the machines and tools that diabetics use. One of the most popular and useful tools for type one diabetics is what is called an insulin pump. By using an insulin pump, you can match your insulin to your lifestyle rather than adjusting your lifestyle to your body’s response to insulin injections. With help from your health care team, insulin pumps can help you keep your blood glucose levels within your target ranges both day and night. People of all ages with type 1 diabetes use insulin pumps, and people with type 2 diabetes have started to use them as well. The insulin pump is advancing and becoming smaller with each technological advance. Hopefully, someday, this horrible disease will be cured, and the entire world can move on.