Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

In order to determine whether or not a patient has pre-diabetes or diabetes, health care providers conduct a Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG) or an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). Either test can be used to diagnose pre-diabetes or diabetes.
With the FPG test, a fasting blood glucose level between 100 and 125 mg/dl signals pre-diabetes. A person with a fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher has diabetes....click & see

In the OGTT test, a person’s blood glucose level is measured after a fast and two hours after drinking a glucose-rich beverage. If the two-hour blood glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl, the person tested has pre-diabetes. If the two-hour blood glucose level is at 200 mg/dl or higher, the person tested has diabetes.

Major Types of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes

Results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are often dramatic and come on very suddenly.
* Type 1 diabetes is usually recognized in childhood or early adolescence, often in association with an illness (such as a virus) or injury.
* The extra stress can cause diabetic ketoacidosis.
* Symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea and vomiting. Dehydration and often-serious disturbances in blood levels of potassium follow.
* Without treatment, ketoacidosis can lead to coma and death.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are often subtle and may be attributed to aging or obesity.
* A person may have type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing it.
# Type 2 diabetes can be precipitated by steroids and stress.
# If not properly treated, type 2 diabetes can lead to complications like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and nerve damage

Type 2 diabetes
Results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes affects about 4% of all pregnant women – about 135,000 cases in the United States each year.


Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. There are 41 million Americans who have pre-diabetes, in addition to the 20.8 million with diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the pancreas doesn’t make enough or any of the hormone insulin, or when the insulin produced doesn’t work effectively. In diabetes, this causes the level of glucose in the blood to be too high.

In Type 1 diabetes the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed, causing a severe lack of insulin. This is thought to be the result of the body attacking and destroying its own cells in the pancreas – known as an autoimmune reaction.

* infection with a specific virus or bacteria;
* exposure to food-borne chemical toxins; and
* exposure as a very young infant to cow’s milk, where an as yet unidentified component of this triggers the autoimmune reaction in the body.

However, these are only hypotheses and are by no means proven causes.

Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is believed to have a strong genetic link, meaning that it tends to run in families. Several genes are being studied that may be related to the cause of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is believed to develop when:
* the receptors on cells in the body that normally respond to the action of insulin fail to be stimulated by it – this is known as insulin resistance. In response to this more insulin may be produced, and this over-production exhausts the insulin-manufacturing cells in the pancreas;
* there is simply insufficient insulin available; and
* the insulin that is available may be abnormal and therefore doesn’t work properly..

The following risk factors increase the chances of someone developing Type 2 diabetes:
* High blood triglyceride (fat) levels
* Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
* High-fat diet
* High alcohol intake
* Sedentary lifestyle
* Obesity or being overweight

* Ethnicity: Certain groups, such as African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Japanese Americans, have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites.

* Aging: Increasing age is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Risk begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years.
Rarer causes of diabetes include:
* Certain medicines;
* pregnancy (gestational diabetes); and
* any illness or disease that damages the pancreas and affects its ability to produce insulin e.g. pancreatitis.

It’s important to also be aware of the different myths that over the years have arisen about the causes of diabetes.
Eating sweets or the wrong kind of food does not cause diabetes. However, it may cause obesity and this is associated with people developing Type 2 diabetes.
Stress does not cause diabetes, although it may be a trigger for the body turning on itself as in the case of Type 1 diabetes. It does, however, make the symptoms worse for those who already have diabetes.
Diabetes is not contagious. Someone with diabetes cannot pass it on to anyone else.

If you have diabetes, you would be wise to make healthful lifestyle choices in diet, exercise, and other health habits. These will help to improve glycemic (blood sugar) control and prevent or minimize complications of diabetes.
Diet: A healthy diet is key to controlling blood sugar levels and preventing diabetes complications.

Managing type 2 diabetes means making some changes to how you live. Your doctor will ask you to eat healthy, be more active, lose weight if you need to, and quit smoking. He or she may prescribe one or more medicines, too.
It may seem like a lot to do. But keeping your blood sugar under control now can help reduce the risk of health problems from diabetes later.
Regular Yoga exercise, meditation and proper Ayurvedic treatment can keep a diabetec patient well all his or her life through.

(Help taken from:http://www.emedicinehealth.com/diabetes/article_em.htm and http://www.diabetes.org/about-diabetes.jsp)

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