Friday, April 5, 2013

Diabetes...Things Just Got Real

Diabetes is a disease that I believe a lot of people underestimate.  I believe this is because we often see people with the disease walking around appearing to be healthy on the exterior, meaning that we can't tell that someone has diabetes by simply looking at them.  However, contrary to this misconception, Diabetes can lead to extreme and debilitating outcomes.  For example, untreated diabetes can lead to hypertension, renal failure, neuropathy.   

Now, there are multiple types of Diabetes and each has its own effects.  For example, there's a Diabetes Incepitus and Diabetes Mellitus (Types I and II).  Type I Diabetes is sometimes classified as juvenile onset.  It is an auto-immune disease of which the Beta Cells in the pancreas are destroyed.  This just means that the body has decided to look at the pancreas as a foreign tissue and is trying to "protect" you from the immune system does its job and kills those cells.  This results in the body's inability to produce Insulin, a molecule that's synthesized by the Beta Cells to decrease blood glucose levels.  Without functional Beta Cells glucose will remain at increased levels in the blood, thus, contributing to increased blood pressure.

Type II Diabetes involves a different mechanism of action as the Insulin receptors that are on other cells (i.e. muscle cells and fat cells) are no longer responsive to the Insulin that was produced or more Insulin is required to have a desired effect.  This is a process known as desensitization.  Consequently,  these cells don't take up the glucose, thereby, raising blood pressure.  Now let me backtrack a little bit to say that this form of diabetes was formerly called adult onset diabetes.  However, this classification isn't used anymore as people are being diagnosed at a younger and younger age.  Not to sound like I'm preaching but this is a problem.  Could you imagine being a young adult needing treatment for a disease that is, for the most part, preventable?   

My point here is that Diabetes needs to be taken more seriously.  This will probably require a more honest and raw education process.  I don't think it it widely discussed outside of the warning that you shouldn't eat too much sugar or you may develop Diabetes.  We have to do something more than this because there are many Americans with a form of diabetes (Type II) that can be prevented.  Two ways that we can prevent Diabetes is by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising on a regular basis.

This post won't be too long because this was something that was just on my mind.  So I decided to share my thoughts.

What are some of the ways that you can educate people about the effects of Diabetes?

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