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Diabetes, enter your cells, which lowers the amount of

            Diabetes, also known as diabetes mellitus, is a group of
diseases where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not
properly respond to the insulin that is produced. Insulin enables cells to take
in sugar and use it to produce energy. There are many different types of
diabetes, the most common forms are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Both impact blood
glucose levels, and if left untreated can cause many complications and lead to
other diseases.

The
pancreas is the organ that produces insulin. It stretches partway across the
abdomen, just below the stomach. Its main functions are to aid in digestion and
produce hormones that control blood glucose levels. The pancreas secretes
insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin then circulates, allowing sugar to
enter your cells, which lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your
blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

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 Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile
diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition where the
pancreas produces little or no insulin. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children
and young adults. Only five percent of people with diabetes have this form of
the disease. With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system will attack part of
its own pancreas. The immune system accidently sees the insulin-producing cells
in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease.
Without insulin the sugar will stay and build up in the blood. As a result, the
body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose. If left untreated, the high blood
glucose levels may cause damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart (Diabetic
Institute 2016). To control their diabetes, patients take insulin shots. Regulating
the insulin dose is the most significant challenge. The amount is based on many
factors including: types of food consumed, the amount of exercise, the amount
of stress and emotions and general health of the patient. These factors are
constantly changing. Therefore, deciding on the right dosage can be challenging.
If the patient takes too much insulin, then her/his blood sugar can drop to a
dangerously low level. This is a condition called hypoglycemia. If left
untreated it can be life-threatening. If too little insulin is administered then
cells will again be starved of energy, causing blood sugar to rise to a
dangerously high level. This is a condition called hyperglycemia, this also
increases the chance of long-term complications (West KM 1971).

With
type 2 diabetes the pancreas still produces insulin, however, the cells can not
use it effectively.  This is referred to
as insulin resistance. First, the pancreas will make more insulin to make up
for it but overtime it would not be able to keep up. It would not be able to
make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. When the glucose
builds up in the body instead of going into cells it will cause the same
problems that occur in type 1. To control their diabetes, some people just eat
healthy and exercise. For others that is not enough. They are prescribed oral
medications or insulin by their doctors to help them meet their target blood
glucose level. However, type 2 diabetes usually worsens over time. Therefore,
if medication is not needed at this time, it may be needed in the future.

Type
1 and type 2 diabetes have different causes. However, two factors are important
in both. First, genetic predisposition to the disease and second, something in the
environment triggers it. Genes alone are not enough. She (2003) studied
diabetic twins in Finland, where one twin had type 1 diabetes, to see whether
the other twin would contract the disease. With 228 pairs of twins, born
between 1958 and 1986, approximately a fourth of the twins eventually
contracted diabetes. However, when one twin had type 2 diabetes, the others
risk is 3 in 4 (She 2003).

Type
1 diabetes, in most cases is a recessive disorder. This means patients need to
inherit their risk factors from both parents. It was found that these factors
are more common in Caucasians, who have the highest rate of type 1 diabetes. However,
most people who are at risk for diabetes don’t ever acquire it. Researchers
have determined some environmental triggers that might have played a role. They
suggest cold weather, viruses, and diet. Type 1 diabetes tends to develop more
in the winter than summer. It is also more common in places with cold climates.
Scientists also suggest that a virus that has mild effects on most people can
trigger type 1 diabetes in others. They also suggested that your early diet could
have played a role. Type 1 diabetes is less common in people who were breastfed
and in those who first ate solid food at later ages (American Diabetes
Association 2017).

Type
2 diabetes has a stronger link to family history and lineage than type 1. It
also depends on environmental factors. Several different studies of twins have
shown that genetics play a very strong role in the development of type 2
diabetes. Lifestyle choices also tend to influence the development of type 2
diabetes. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes is overweight and obese with a lack
of physical activity. However, these are the two most common causes of type 2
diabetes. According to the CDC, it is responsible for around 90-95% of diabetes
cases in the United States (WebMD 2017).

Children
of people with type 2 diabetes are more susceptible to the disease. This is in
part due to the children learning bad habits from their parents such as: eating
a poor diet and not exercising. Determining the risk of a child from parents
who have type 1 diabetes is more difficult. Generally, if you are a male with
type 1 the odds of your child developing diabetes are one in seventeen. If you
are a female with type 1 and your child was born before you were twenty-five,
then your child’s risk is one in twenty-five. However, if your child was born
after you turned twenty-five then the child’s risk is one in one hundred. In
any of these cases if you developed diabetes before you were eleven years old,
then your child’s risk is doubled. If both you and your partner have type 1 diabetes,
then your child’s risk is between one in ten and one in four. However, there is
an exception. Around one in every seven people with type 1 diabetes has a
condition called type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome. In addition to
diabetes, these people have thyroid disease and a poorly working adrenal gland.
Some also end up having other immune system disorders. If you have this
syndrome, your child’s risk of getting this syndrome, including type 1
diabetes, is one in two (American Diabetes Association 2017).

Researchers
are learning how to predict a person’s odd of getting diabetes. They have found
that most Caucasians with type 1 diabetes have genes called HLA-DR3 or HLA-DR4.
If you and your child are Caucasian and share these genes then their risk is
higher. Though less studied, suspect genes for other ethnic groups have been
determined. The HLA-DR7 gene puts African Americans at risk and the HLS-DR9
gene puts Japanese people at risk. Scientists have also developed a special
test that tells how the body responds to glucose and can tell which school-aged
children are most at risk. There are also more expensive tests that can be done
for children with siblings with type 1 diabetes. The test measures antibodies
to insulin, to islet cells in the pancreas, or to an enzyme called glutamic
acid decarboxylase. High levels can indicate that a child has a higher risk of
developing type 1 diabetes (American Diabetes Association 2017).

Diabetes is a disease
that affects about twenty-nine million people in the United States. Every year about
one million people are diagnosed with diabetes (Santos-Longhurst 2017).  Unfortunately, there is no cure yet for
diabetes. By controlling blood sugar levels through a healthy diet, exercise, and
medication the long-term complications of diabetes can be minimized. Though
genes play a role in developing the disease, they are not enough. Your genes make
you susceptible to the disease, however, your environment triggers it.  Though both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have a
lot in common, they are two very different forms. They vary on the way that the
pancreas produces insulin. Scientists, despite a cure, have found other ways to
help people with diabetes. They have created an insulin shot that allows
diabetics to regulate their blood glucose levels. They are also working on
stems cells being able to replenish the damaged cells in the pancreas, allowing
it to function properly. With new technology and innovations, hopefully,
scientist will soon find a cure. 

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