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Diabetes A Silent Killer Essay

1795 words - 8 pages

Diabetes a silent killer; Diabetes affects 20.8 million people in the United States alone and unfortunately, 6.2 million people in the United State are unaware that they have this disease. (CDC, 2007) Until they do, they have already developed life-threatening complications. According to the CDC the rates of Diabetes Type II are rising so quickly that they have declared the disease an epidemic. Complications may include blindness, kidney disease, nerve disease, heart and vascular disease and strokes."Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and leg amputations. In fact, it is the third leading cause of death in the United States." (Magee, 1999 p. 2) There are three main ...view middle of the document...

It can be controlled by diet, exercise, oral medication and insulin injections. Diet plays a major role in the prevention of these problems, especially in preventing Type II. Sugar concentration in the blood is a major factor for diabetics, so understanding the sugar content of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates is essential. The goal from a diet perspective is to control the sugar in the bloodstream in such a way that the insulin in your bloodstream can manage it efficiently. In addition to diet, medication and exercise play a key role in controlling this disease. Currently, there is no known cure for diabetes.
In the normal process, when you eat a meal, your body begins the digestion process. The food breaks down and enters the bloodstream in the form of sugars. Once the sugars are circulating in your blood, the cells need to be able to admit the sugar. A hormone called insulin is the factor that makes this possible. Once the insulin lets the sugar into the cells, it is used to produce energy. Taking insulin out of the equation, the cells in your body cannot use sugar as they would normally. Consequently, they do not get enough energy. Not only do they not get enough energy, the sugar builds up in the blood because it has nowhere to go. When the sugar level in the blood rises to high levels and stays there for extended periods of time, the result is diabetes. (Martini, 2006)
Insulin Defined: All of the cells in a person's body are enclosed in a membrane. Insulin triggers the membranes to let them know that sugars are available in the blood. Insulin attaches itself to sites, called insulin receptors, like a key fits into a lock. Once the key is admitted, the cell's membrane unlocks to allow the flow of sugars to enter. It is then burned by the cells to produce energy. (Beaser, 1995)
Accounting for 90 percent of the diabetic population are people who have Type II diabetes. The problem in this type of diabetes is that the beta cells do not produce enough insulin to meet the needs of the body. In addition to this problem, the cells in the body do not react appropriately to the available insulin in the body because they cannot admit glucose through the cell membranes. Scientists have yet to determine exactly what causes Type II diabetes, but they do know that it is caused by multiple factors. (Martini, 2006) The factors can vary from person to person. Some of the factors are being overweight, defective beta cells, not enough beta cells, and heredity. "It is believed that the susceptibility to diabetes is passed from generation to generation via genes, but not in any specific pattern. Heredity plays a stronger role in Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent) than in Type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent), but the nature of these genetic factors and how they are inherited are not yet understood." (Milchovich & Dunn-Long, 1999, pg. 2)
As you age, the probability that you will get diabetes increases. In the population that is above 60 years...

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