Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action, or both (American Diabetes Association 2004). Major types of Diabetes include:
Type 1 diabetes: results from destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, leading to absolute insulin deficiency. It usually occurs in children and young adults and requires insulin treatment.
Type 2 diabetes: usually characterized by insulin resistance in which target tissues do not use insulin properly. It accounts for approximately 85 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases.
Gestational diabetes: first recognized during pregnancy. Other rare types of diabetes include those caused by genetic conditions, surgery, drug use, malnutrition, infections, and other illnesses.
High blood levels of glucose can cause several problems, including: Blurry vision, Excessive thirst, Fatigue, Frequent urination, Hunger, and Weight loss However, because type 2 diabetes develops slowly, some people experience no symptoms at all. Where as in type 1 diabetes patients usually develop symptoms over a short period and are often diagnosed in an emergency setting.
Consequences of Diabetes
Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke). Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy in the feet increases the chance of foot ulcers and eventual limb amputation.
Diabetic retinopathy causes blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. After 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2% of people become blind, and about 10% develop severe visual impairment. Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure. 10-20% of people with diabetes die of kidney failure. Diabetic neuropathy is damage to the nerves as a result of diabetes, and affects up to 50% of people with diabetes. Common symptoms are tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the feet and hands. The overall risk of dying among people with diabetes is at least double the risk of their peers without diabetes.