Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Diabetes Types

Diabetes Types

Most people will clump all diabetes into one disease.  But there are different types of diabetes you need to be aware of.  What is important at this stage is that you know that glucose can mass in your blood for many different reasons, which of course will result in different types of diabetes.  There are two common types of diabetes that most people have heard about:  type 1 and type 2.

Type 1

People have type 1 diabetes when the pancreas makes little if any insulin.  When there is no insulin circulating in the bloodstream, glucose won’t be able to get into the cells, so it stays in the blood.

At one time type 1 diabetes was known as insulin-dependent diabetes, or as juvenile diabetes.  The reason for these names was that most often the disease developed when a person was young, a child or a teen, and required daily insulin shots to make up for the lack of insulin that the body was suppose to produce.

The reason you don’t really hear or read the names, insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes any longer is because they are not really accurate.   It is not common, but adults can develop type 1 diabetes.  Also, the use of insulin isn’t limited to people with type 1 diabetes.  People with other forms of diabetes also may need insulin. 

What Causes Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a auto-immune disease, which means that your own immune system is the bad guy.  Your auto-immune system normally attacks  different viruses and bacteria.  With type 1 it also attacks your pancreas, focusing on your beta cells, which of course are the cells that produce insulin.  Doctors and scientist are not sure why the immune system fights your own body, but genetic factors and exposure to other viruses my play a part.

The attacks on your immune system can reduce or even wipe out  the insulin making ability of your pancreas.  Only 5-10% of people who suffer with diabetes have type 1.  The disease seems to be evenly distributed among males and females.

The evolution of type 1 diabetes can occur very slowly.  It may go undetected for several months or even longer.  Most often is the case that type 1 diabetes symptoms come to your attention very quickly.  Normally following an illness.

Family History Affects Your Risk Of Diabetes

Type 1

Relative with Diabetes       Your Risk

  • Mother                               1-5%
  • Father                                5-15%
  • Both Parents                     0-25%
  • Brother or Sister              5-10%
  • Identical Twin                  25-50%

Type 2

Relative with Diabetes        Your Risk

  • Mother                               5-20%
  • Father                                5-20%
  • Both Parents                     25-50%
  • Brother or Sister              25-50%
  • Identical Twin                  60-75%

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is the most common for of the disease.  95% of all people that over 20 years old that have diabetes have type 2.  Many people with type 2 diabetes do not need insulin shots.  Children, teenagers, and adults can get type 2 diabetes.  And of course like all things related to diabetes there are no hard and fast rules.  People with type 2 also might need to take insulin shots.

What is Type 2 Diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, your pancreas makes insulin, but your cells become resistant to it.  Which means that insulin can’t help move glucose into your cells.  As a result, most of the glucose stays in your bloodstream and accumulates.  Nobody knows why the cells become resistant to insulin.  But there are suspicions that excess weight and fatty tissue seem to be important factors.  Most people who develop type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight

Some people with type 2 diabetes may eventually require insulin shots.  This is because the pancreas may not produce enough insulin, or may lose its ability to make insulin.  There is a possibility that people with type 2 may become dependent on insulin.

Gestational Diabetes

The name of the diabetes disease that develops during pregnancy is called Gestational Diabetes.  The disease can develop temporarily when hormones secreted during pregnancy increase the body’s  resistance to insulin.   You can expect this to occur in about 4% of pregnant women.

Gestational Diabetes will normally occur during the late second half of a women’s pregnancy.  Under normal circumstances it will go away after the baby is born.  A Warning:  About 1/2 of the women who develop gestational diabetes while pregnant will also develop type 2 diabetes later on life.

Doctor’s will screen women for gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  If you develop the disease then controlling your blood glucose level throughout your pregnancy can reduce complications for you and your baby.


Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) is a form of type 1 diabetes that develops slowly over many years.  LADA is uncommon, but it can be mistaken for type 2 diabetes.  Maturity-onset- diabetes of youth (MODY) is an uncommon form of type 2 diabetes, caused by a defect in a single gene.

Other Causes Of Diabetes

A very small number of people are diagnosed as a result of conditions or medications that can interfere with the production of insulin.  Included in this:  inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), pancreas removal, adrenal or pituitary gland disorders, rare genetic defects, infection, malnutrition, or medications used to treat another disease.

In our next post we will discuss diabetes signs and symptoms.  We hope you learned a little bit about the different types of diabetes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Diabetes | What is Diabetes

What is Diabetes 

Let’s suppose you went to the doctor and he walks into the room and says, “Hey, you’ve got diabetes.”  Now what?  You would be scared about what is going to happen to you.  Perhaps one of the first thoughts that would pop into your mind when you find out that you have diabetes is:  What is Diabetes?  Does this mean I am going to have to eat food that taste bland?  No more sugar?  Will you lose a foot?  Will diabetes eventually kill you?

With just a little it of luck the majority of people suffering with diabetes will be able to answer “NO” to most, if not all of these questions.  Doctors and scientist over the years have made great strides in their research concerning diagnosis of diabetes and how to control it.


If you have diabetes the number one most important thing you need to do is go to the doctor on a regular basis and follow his or hers advice.  You are not a doctor so don’t think for a second that you know better than a trained medical professional.

Because there have been so many advances in medical science concerning diabetes, you will be able to live a “normal” life and not have to suffer serious complications from diabetes.  But the key is for you to follow what your doctor tells you concerning:  eating, exercise, blood sugar (glucose) monitoring, and when prescribed, medications.

What is Diabetes

When we talk about diabetes we are not just talking about one disease.  We are referring  to a group of diseases that affect the way your body uses blood glucose or blood sugar.  Blood glucose is important because it is the single largest source of energy for the cells in your body that make up your muscles and tissues.  In other words it is you body’s main source of fuel.

If you have diabetes, doesn’t matter if it type 1 or type 2, it means you have too much glucose in your blood.  The reasons why you have to much glucose in your blood differs from person to person.  And please do not be complacent:  Too much glucose in your blood can lead to very serious problems.

Processing Of Blood Glucose

Blood glucose is derived from two places:  the food that you eat on a daily basis and from your liver.  When your food is being digested, glucose is going to be absorbed into the bloodstream.  Under normal conditions it will enter the cells in your body and will be helped along by the action of insulin. 

What Is Insulin

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas.  When you eat, your pancreas secretes insulin into your bloodstream. 

As the insulin circulates, it acts like a key, unlocking microscopic doors that allow glucose to enter your cells.  So insulin by doing this lowers the amount of glucose in your bloodstream and prevents it from reaching dangerous high levels.

Because your body is so smart it knows what to do when your blood glucose level drops.  It stops the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.  Your liver’s job in all of this is to act as a glucose storage and manufacturing center.  When the level of insulin in your blood is high, for example after a meal, your liver stores extra glucose as glycogen in case your cells need it later…Pretty smart!!

When your insulin levels are low, for example, after you have not eaten for a while, your liver releases the stored glucose into your bloodstream to keep your blood sugar level with a normal range.

What is Diabetes | Process Breaks Down

If you have diabetes, the process explained above does not work correctly.  Instead of the excess glucose being transported into your cells, the excess glucose will build up your bloodstream, and sooner or later some of it will be transported out of your body through your urine.  This normally will happen when your pancreas produces little or no insulin, or your cells do not respond properly to insulin….or both reasons.

Diabetes Mellitus

The medical term for the above condition is Diabetes Mellitus.  The word “mellitus” in Latin means, “honey sweet.”  It is referring to  the excess sugar in your blood and urine.

Diabetes Epidemic

There is a growing number of people that are obese or overweight.  Include with that fact that the population is aging and you have a recipe for a major health problem.  It is called type 2 diabetes. 

Let’s make it very clear:  If you are obese or overweight and you are getting older, then you are at a high risk of of getting type 2 diabetes.

This should have given you a general understanding of What is Diabetes.

This website is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional or medical advice.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Diabetes and Alzheimer’s

Diabetes Alzheimer’s

It is a well know fact that Diabetes cause many complications for people suffering from the disease.  Ask any diabetic and they can tell you that diabetes will cause problems with your heart, eyes, kidneys, feet, and nervous system.

Regulate Blood Sugar

Now it seems that doctors are convinced that diabetes damages blood vessels that supply the brain.  It is suspected that when the body is starting to lose its ability to regulate blood sugar that the damage to the vessels have already started.  This is a problem because a person might not even be diagnosed with diabetes when all of this starts to occur.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

The bottom line is this:  You need to be right on top of your health as it pertains to diabetes and heart related risks.  There are major implications with what is happening with the obesity fueled epidemic of type 2 diabetes and the aging of the population.

The risk of a type 2 diabetic developing Alzheimer’s Disease is three times that of a non-diabetic.  Be aware that genetics are still a prime risk factor for dementia.

But there is a link between diabetes and Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  You need to be aware and talk with your doctor about it.

Diabetes Symptoms | Dementia Alzheimer’s

  • Brain function slows as type 2 diabetic’s blood sugar rises.  This happen before any loss of memory occurs.
  • People with a history of diabetes develop Alzheimer’s faster then in the population.
  • Type 2 diabetes occurs because of insulin resistance.  Insulin turns blood sugar into energy.  Insulin influences memory in a variety of ways, and an insulin-resistant body in turn affects brain cells' insulin-related activity.

The bottom line is this.  You need to control your diabetes as best you can.  You need to take pro-active steps to prevent heart problems and the problems that can occur with the blood vessels prevent blood from flowing freely to your brain.

The diabetic suffering from diabetes needs to be aware of the risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s.