I and Type II Diabetes
diabetes is a familiar one with most people. Unfortunately, its
familiarity stems from the fact that so many people have been afflicted
with this disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that
nearly 180 million people worldwide have diabetes. If current trends
continue, by the year 2010, there will be nearly 250 million diabetics
around the world.
The disease is
characterized by the body's impaired ability or failure to process
glucose (a form of sugar) in the bloodstream because of the lack /
absence of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that
processes blood sugar into a form that the cells in the body can use
proper processing of sugar, the body either becomes hyperglycemic (too
much sugar) or hypoglycemic (too little sugar). Both are dangerous as
it can make the body react in any number of ways such as weakened
kidneys, impaired nervous system, loss of sight and in some extreme
on two kinds of forms, and they differ from each other primarily
through the means by which the disease is contracted.
The first type
of diabetes (Type I) is contracted genetically. Most of the patients of
this type are boys and girls of around 15 years old. It is because of
this trend that experts have interchanged the term Type I diabetes with
Juvenile Onset Diabetes.
works by fooling the body's immune system into thinking that the cells
responsible for producing insulin are harmful. The islets of Langerhans
(as these cells are called) are attacked by the immune system,
rendering the islets unable to produce the necessary hormone to process
this type need to have insulin administered regularly into their
system. As of now, the most common method for delivering the hormone is
through injections. Other delivery systems are also being developed,
the most recent of which is an oral spray that eliminates the need for
hypodermic needles. This measure simply manages the condition but does
not fully address the problem of curing it.
Short of a
pancreas transplant, there is no cure for Type I diabetes. And even
then, the risks are considerable making anyone think twice before
undergoing the procedure. This is because transplanted organs run the
risk of being rejected by the recipient's body even if blood types
the transplant prove successful, the diabetic may no longer have the
need to have insulin artificially introduced into his / her body. A
trade off exists in that in order to prevent organ rejection, the
patient will have to take immuno-suppressive drugs throughout their
lifetime, which may make him / her more susceptible to infections than
Even then, most
patients who have undergone the procedure say that it is a price they
are willing to pay in exchange for a life free of needles and in fear
of the complications the disease brings.
Of the total number of cases of
diabetes worldwide, Type II accounts for more than 90 percent. Until
recently, Type II diabetes was also called Adult Onset Diabetes, with
the average age of a symptomatic patient around 40 years of age. But
the increasing number of cases of children acquiring this type of the
disease has led experts into setting this term aside.
diabetes is characterized by the body's impaired ability / failure to
process sugar despite the presence of insulin-producing cells. The
pancreas cannot keep up with the demand to produce enough insulin to
process sugar in the body.
The cause for
Type II diabetes is a lot less ominous than the first one. Whereas Type
I is genetic, where the patient has no control over it, the second type
of diabetes is usually brought about by a lifestyle of poor eating and
research scientists alike are finding more and more the direct
proportion of obesity to Type II diabetes. Findings show that
overweight and obese individuals are very likely to contract the
disease and their chances of succumbing to the complications brought by
the disease increase significantly.
This is perhaps
what makes Type II diabetes such an alarming situation. Many experts
feel that the number of people (over 160 million) living with this
disease need not be as great had they observed proper diet and exercise.
To manage the
disease, Type II diabetics are instructed to exercise regularly, limit
their carbohydrate and sugar intake and when absolutely necessary, have
insulin administered artificially.
is being done to resolve the disease and each step brings medicine
closer to a solution. But for now the good news lies in that with
proper care and observance of the instructions, a diabetic of either
the first or second type can still live a full and productive life.