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Description and Symptoms

Diabetes is a disease due to a lack, or insufficient action, of circulating insulin causing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and a host of symptoms relating to this disorder. There are two basic types of diabetes: Diabetes Insipidus and Diabetes Mellitus.

Diabetes Insipidus is a rare disorder caused either by a deficiency of a hormone called vasopressin, or by the inability of the kidneys to respond to this hormone. Diabetes Insipidus is characterized by extreme thirst and excessive urination.

Diabetes Mellitus is the most common and well known aspect diabetes due to a defect in the production of insulin by the pancreas. The body cannot utilize glucose, its principal energy source, without insulin. As a result, the level of glucose circulating in the blood is high and the level absorbed by the body is low. More than most diseases, diabetes mellitus is associated with diet. It is a chronic disorder of carbohydrate metabolism that can increase the risk of kidney disease, atherosclerosis, blindness, and neuropathy.

Genetics is a major factor and diabetes, but also can be due to a diet high in refined sugars, processed foods and complex carbohydrates. People who are overweight face the greatest risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus is divided into two categories: Type I, called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes, and Type II, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type I occurs mostly in children and young adults.

Symptoms of Type II diabetes include irritability, frequent urination, abnormal thirst, nausea or vomiting, weakness, fatigue, weight loss despite a normal (or even increased) intake of food, and unusual hunger. In children, frequent bedwetting--especially by a child who did not previously wet the bed--is another common sign. People with Type I diabetes are subject to episodes in which blood glucose levels are very high (hyperglycemia) and very low (hypoglycemia). Either of these conditions can lead to a medical emergency.

Episodes of hypoglycemia, which strike suddenly, can be caused by a missed meal, over exercising, or a reaction to too much insulin. The initial signs of hypoglycemia are hunger, dizziness, sweating, confusion, palpitations, numbness or tingling of the lips. This should be treated immediately as the person could then have more serious reactions such as double vision, trembling, disorientation, and could even lapse into a coma.

Hyperglycemia can come on over a period of several hours or days. Warning signals of developing hyperglycemia are inability to keep down fluids. Possible long-term effects include stroke, blindness, heart disease, gangrene, and nerve damage.

The second category of Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) often referred to as maturity-onset diabetes is most likely to occur in people with a family history of diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin, but it does not work effectively. Symptoms include blurred vision, great thirst, fatigue, slow healing, and numbness or pain in the extremities. The onset of Type II diabetes is often linked to diet.

 
  HealingJunction.com of Chicago: Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, and other alternative medical interventions treating
arthritis, Asthma, Chronic Fatique, Crohn's Disease, Diabetes, Headache, Hepatitis, Irritable Bowel, PMS and Sinusitis.
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