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April 21, 2008

Short Review - About Diabetes Mellitus (DM)

Short Review - About Diabetes Mellitus (DM)

Diabetes is one of the world’s most chronic but treatable diseases. Characterized by persistent levels of high blood sugar, diabetes is most dangerous for its possible side effects and further consequences. Some of these include an increased risk of heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. Diabetics are also at a higher risk for gangrene, and sometimes even lose limbs due to amputations as a result of gangrene. Erectile dysfunction, or impotence, and various forms of nerve damage are also potential consequences of diabetes.

Diabetes has been around presumably for centuries. In retrospect, it has been found to be the cause of death in many historical situations. However, proper identification and treatment of diabetes was not achieved until the period around 1900. Many scientists working in tandem or alone, made the string of discoveries that have led to our current understanding and capabilities regarding diabetes.

Diabetes is caused basically by a disorder involving the hormone insulin. Insulin’s normal function is to regulate the body’s sugar levels. This means that if the body has a problem creating or properly using insulin, blood sugar levels may go unregulated and therefore result in the problems associated with diabetes. The most wide-reaching form of treatment for diabetes is insulin injections.

Diabetes is contracted largely through genetics. Scientists are doctors are not in 100% agreement over the extent to which diabetes is inherited, but most agree that a family history does indeed play some part in increasing susceptibility to diabetes. Furthermore, diabetes can be brought on by stress or obesity, or environmental factors such as certain chemicals. The obesity issue is an important one, as obese individuals have a much increased risk of contracting diabetes. For this reason, proper weight management is essential from childhood through adulthood to help decrease one’s risk of diabetes and other health problems.

Diabetes can be diagnosed based on the presence of many or all of a certain set of symptoms. Since the inception of diabetes diagnosis, doctors have diagnosed it based on abnormally high levels or urination, thirst and appetite (Poliphagia, Polidipsy, & Poliuria). These are all symptoms relating to a diabetic’s inability to properly regulate food and digestion due to issues with insulin. Further symptoms of diabetes can include psychological concerns such as chronic mania and lethargy. Bad breath, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain can also be present. If untreated for a prolonged period of time, diabetes will result in a coma and possibly death.

Due to the seriousness of diabetes, it is recommended that people have themselves checked for it on at least a somewhat regular basis. This warning is especially targeted at people who are at a risk of diabetes for one or more of the reasons listed such as family history or obesity. For many people though, diabetes is not discovered until they fall victim to one of the other health problems brought on by diabetes, like a heart attack for instance. In these cases, the patient is treated and doctors will discover after the fact that diabetes has been the source of the medical troubles.

Diabetes is an undeniably serious disease affecting a large percentage of the population. Quick diagnosis and proper management techniques can still lead to a long and happy life though. New advancements are being made regularly toward improved treatment and a possible future cure for all types of diabetes.

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