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More about diabetes

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:04pm
The Story of a RibbonDiabetes, often viewed as a "simple little sugar problem," is actually a very serious disease that affects 120 million children, women and men worldwide--and the number is increasing. This silent killer, which is a leading cause of blindness, amputations, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and other devastating complications, is desperately in need of a cure. The Gray Ribbon Campaign began with a small group of people who decided it was time to get the message across. And noting the success of other ribbon campaigns this group realized that diabetics (and those who care about them) should have their own ribbon---with gray representing clouds (every cloud must have a silver lining) and with the stone symbolizing blood. Thus the Gray Ribbon was born. The ribbon campaign has caught on and is spreading like wildfire...in the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, Greece, Mexico....wherever there is someone who has heard about the Gray Ribbon.

There are 3 main types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes ,

usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that ensures body energy needs are met. Approximately 10 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.The remaining 90 per cent havetype 2 diabetes , which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin that is produced.
Type 2 diabetes

usually develops in adulthood, although increasing numbers of children in high-risk populations are being diagnosed.

A third type of diabetes, gestational diabetes, is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. It affects approximately 3.5 per cent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.

Is diabetes serious?

If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications, includingHeart dieasePeople with diabetes are at very high risk of heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke (cerebrovascular disease). In fact, up to 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of a heart attack or stroke.
Kidney disease About 40% of people with Type 1 diabetes (juvenile onset) and 10% of people with Type 2 diabetes (adult onset) will eventually develop kidney disease which will lead to permanent chronic renal insufficiency (kidney failure).
Eye disease People with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develope glaucoma, but diabetes' effect on the retina is the main threat to vision. Called diabetic retinopathy, this effect of diabetes on the eyes is the most common cause of blindness in people under age 65
Problems with erection
(impotence) ED is defined as the persistent inability to get or maintain an erection that is satisfactory for sexual activity. Most men will experience erectile problems during their life. Although ED affects most men at some point in their lives, it is much more common in men with diabetes. In fact, in up to 12% of men with diabetes, ED is the first sign that leads to the diagnosis of diabetes. Fifty percent of men will experience ED within 10 years of diagnosis of diabetes. Older men with a longer duration of diabetes, poor blood glucose control, and who smoke, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, are at highest risk.Nerve damageGastroparesis affects up to 75% of people with diabetes.
Diabetes is also one of the most common causes of gastroparesis (delayed emptying of the stomach). Gastroparesis occurs when nerves to the stomach become damaged or stop working. The vagus nerve controls the movement of food through the digestive tract, and when damaged, the muscles of the stomach and intestines no longer work normally, and the movement of food slows or stops.
Diabetes can be very damaging to sensory nerves (causing a complication called neuropathy), especially those in the extremities such as the hands and feet. This nerve damage can lead to loss of sensation in the feet, which makes people more prone to injury and less likely to be aware of injuries.

What are the symptoms?
Signs and symptoms of diabetes include the following
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight change (gain or loss)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent or recurring infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
It is important to recognize, however, that many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms.
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