29 Ocak 2008 Salı

Leptin: What It Is, and Why It May Be the Most Powerful "Tool" Against Diabetes

It's well known that obesity and diabetes often go hand-in-hand. Over 60 million Americans are obese, a condition that makes it 20 to 40 times more likely that you'll develop diabetes than someone of a healthy weight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Even being overweight (as opposed to obese) increases your risk of type 2 diabetes seven-fold.

Still, while epidemic numbers of Americans--nearly 20 million--have diabetes, it is not known why some obese people develop diabetes, while others never do.

A Hormone Called Leptin

The protein hormone leptin--which comes from the Greek word for "thin," leptos--may hold the key to unlocking some of this mystery. Derived from fat cells, defects in leptin signaling may lead to obesity, overeating and less energy expenditure.

According to metabolic specialist Ron Rosedale, M.D.:

"Leptin is the way that your fat stores speak to your brain to let your brain know how much energy is available and, very importantly, what to do with it. Studies have shown that leptin plays significant, if not primary, roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, and perhaps the rate of aging itself."

Further, a study on mice published in Cell Metabolism has revealed that leptin plays a role in regulating blood sugar, which it does via two brain-body pathways:

One that controls appetite and fat storage

One that tells the liver what to do with its glucose reserves

If the first pathway (the one involving appetite and fat storage) is disrupted, obesity is expected, which raises the risk of diabetes. However, the study found that both pathways may have to be disrupted in order for the body to lose control of insulin and blood sugar levels and develop diabetes.

"Taken together, our findings show there's more to the obesity-diabetes link than the classic thinking that if you eat too much sugar, you'll get fat and get diabetes and that if you don't get diabetes, it's only because you're making more insulin to keep up with the sugar," says senior author Martin G. Myers, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan Medical School. "There's something else contributing. Now the challenge is to find out what that is."

Leptin's Link to Fat and Diabetes

"If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin, which is supposed to tell an area of the brain in the hypothalamus that there is too much fat stored, more should not be stored, and the excess burned," Rosedale says.

"Therefore, signals are sent to stop being hungry, to stop eating, to stop storing fat and to start burning some extra fat off. More recently, it has been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also "rewire" these very important areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism," he continues.

In fact, it is also possible to become leptin-resistant. How this process occurs is the focus of much research, but Rosedale suggests that leptin-resistance is similar to insulin-resistance in that it occurs after being overexposed to high levels of the hormone. At this point, the body no longer responds to the hormone, much like you no longer notice a bad odor after being exposed to it for a while, Rosedale explained.

Much like high blood sugar levels result in surges in insulin, sugar metabolized in fat cells causes the fat to release surges in leptin. Over time, leptin-resistance may develop.

Can Leptin be Used to Help Lose Weight or Prevent Diabetes?

As it stands, leptin is still a mysterious hormone that researchers are trying to sort out. To put it simply, though, overweight people tend to have very low levels of leptin in their systems (they may have disruptions in leptin signaling or they may be leptin-resistant, for instance). And, studies have found that feeding leptin to overweight mice causes them to lose weight. This effect was not observed in humans, however.

For now, the best way to reduce your chances of diabetes and obesity (and other diseases like heart disease and accelerated aging), according to Rosedale, is to avoid surges in leptin (which can eventually make you leptin-resistant).

Eating the typical American diet, full of refined sugars and other processed foods, is a surefire way to cause surges in leptin. Focusing your diet on simple, mostly unprocessed foods like vegetables is currently the best way to reduce surges in leptin and leptin-resistance, Rosedale says.

So for now there is no magic leptin injection or pill to make you lose weight and prevent diabetes. The good old advice of eating a healthy diet, though, will help to keep your leptin levels normal, which is key to a healthy weight and life.

The Basics on Diabetes

Every day, in the United States, more than 2000 new cases of diabetes are diagnosed. Type II diabetes, the most prevalent form of diabetes worldwide, often shows few or even no symptoms!

After eating, food is broken down into what is known as glucose, a sugar carried by the blood to cells throughout the body. Using a hormone known as insulin, made in the pancreas, cells process glucose into energy.

Because cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly in the body of a person with type II diabetes, they have problems converting food into energy. Eventually, the pancreas cannot make enough insulin for the body's needs. The amount of glucose in the body increases, and the cells are starved of energy.

This starvation of the cells, paired with the high blood glucose level can damage nerves and blood vessels. This leads to complications such as kidney disease, nerve problems, blindness, and heart ailments.

There are a lot of factors that can help to attribute to diabetes cases - lifestyle, environment, heredity - and those who are at risk should be screened regularly to prevent diabetes. Those that are already diagnosed with diabetes should aim to keep their glucose level under control.

But how do you know if you have type II diabetes? After all, it has few symptoms, often no symptoms in some patients. However, if you notice an increased thirst or hunger, a change in weight, or blurred vision, getting tested for type II diabetes is necessary, as only your doctor will be able to help you find the treatment steps necessary to being able to manage your life with diabetes.

Simple changes such as eating right, managing your weight, and keeping your blood sugar level under control may be enough. However, you doctor may prescribe diabetes-regulating medications to assist you in controlling your type II diabetes.

Diabetes is a serious ailment with extreme consequences if it isn't treated properly. But if you follow your doctor's advice and maintain both your lifestyle and blood sugar levels, you can help to prevent the more serious consequences from occurring.

This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to treat, diagnose or prevent any ailment or disease. See your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Diabetes – What You REALLY Need to Know

The incidence of diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in the western world. Perhaps it is time to take stock of our lifestyle and to understand the dangers this disease presents.

Put simply, diabetes is the inability of the body to process sugars and starches properly. When we eat or drink our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Without sufficient insulin, body cells are unable to use glucose properly and blood levels of glucose rise, producing hyperglycemia, the major symptom of diabetes.

Excess levels of glucose and ketones (chemicals produced by the liver from fatty acids) can result in weakness, dizziness, and unconsciousness. Too little glucose (hypoglycemia) can produce similar symptoms. Both conditions are temporary and reversible.

Symptoms are thirst (polydipsia), increased urination, (polyuria), weight loss, constipation, tiredness, lack of energy, tingling or pins and needles in the hands or feet, blurred vision and increased infections.

There are three main types of diabetes:

1. Type 1 diabetes – no insulin is produced. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus affects 10% of diabetics. Generally develops in children and young adults and affects more males than females. Sometimes called juvenile-onset diabetes, it occurs when a person’s body cannot make the hormone insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot use the carbohydrates and sugars in food properly.

2. Type 2 diabetes - insulin is produced but the body becomes resistant to it. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus affects people who are more than 40 years old and overweight or obese. Sometimes called mild diabetes but it is just as serious as type 1 diabetes. The symptoms are similar to type 1 but may build up slowly. Diabetes specialists are very concerned at the rise in type 2 diabetes in young people. They are linking it to the big increase in the number of teenagers and young adults who are overweight or obese.

3. Gestational diabetes Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. If it happens during the first 12 weeks, it is probably likely that the woman had diabetes before she became pregnant. If it happens later in the pregnancy, it is more likely that her body cannot produce enough insulin for herself and the baby. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born. But women who have had gestational diabetes are three times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at some time of their life than those who have not had diabetes during pregnancy.

Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can, in later life, cause problems to many organs including the kidneys, eyes, nerves and the heart. High on the critical list for diabetics is the risk of serious eye disease and loss of vision.

Eye care professionals are predicting a devastating increase in vision loss as the diabetic epidemic grows alarmingly. Over 70% of our sensory information comes through our eyes.

High blood sugar can gradually damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye in the retina. This causes a problem called diabetic retinopathy and the longer you have diabetes the more likely you are to have retinopathy. More than 70% of diabetics develop some changes in their eyes within 15 years of diagnosis.

Non-proliferative retinopathy is the common mild form where small retinal blood vessels break and leak.

Proliferative retinopathy is more serious. New blood vessels grow abnormally within the retina. If these vessels scar or bleed they can lead to potentially serious vision loss including blindness.

Common circulatory complications include high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, reduced circulation to the limbs, kidney problems, and damage to the retina of the eye, sometimes causing blindness. People with diabetes are vulnerable to circulatory problems, which can narrow the coronary arteries, causing angina and increasing the risk of a heart attack.

Nerve-related complications include numbness, pain, and impotence. Damages to nerves and small blood vessels can cause numbness and lack of sensitivity to pain. As a result, you may be unaware of minor injuries, which then become infected. Uncontrolled diabetes can cause itching in the genital area. In men damage to the blood vessels supplying the penis can lead to impotence.

People with diabetes also have a reduced ability to fight infection, and they heal less quickly than do other people. People with high blood glucose levels are prone to cystitis, bladder and kidney infections, and diabetes can result in damage to small blood vessels.

Some of the steps a person with diabetes can take are:

1. Stabilize and control your blood sugar with diet.. A diet that controls weight establishes regular eating patterns, and helps control glucose concentrations in the blood.

2. Have a yearly diabetic eye examination.

3. Undertake regular exercise.

4. Limit alcohol intake, regulate consumption of carbohydrates, and eat plenty of fibre rich foods.

By following the above guidelines, a person with diabetes can expect to live a relatively normal and productive life. Your health care specialist will be your best ally and should be consulted whenever you have any concerns about your diabetes or your treatment.

How To Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

A healthy diet and regular exercise program not only will improve your appearance, but it also can improve your health and decrease your risk of developing certain diseases. Recent studies by Harvard researchers have concluded that moderate exercise and a healthy diet can prevent most cases of type 2 diabetes - the most common form of diabetes. The study overwhelmingly indicated that by making the appropriate lifestyle changes, diabetes can be prevented over 90% of the time. The study also concluded that lifestyle changes significantly reduced the risk of getting the disease by 58% among people who already showed signs of developing diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for over 90% of all diabetes cases. It occurs when your body can not properly utilize insulin in getting nutrients to your cells. This results in high levels of sugar in your blood. The number of cases of diabetes has been growing rapidly. Studies indicate that over 16 million Americans have some form of diabetes! Type 2 diabetes used to be considered a disease of the old, but not anymore. It is becoming much more prevalent in younger people and has recently been showing an alarming increase among young people.

Diabetes is a disease where your underlying genetic background is critical. If you have these genes and are at risk of developing diabetes, your lifestyle decisions very well may determine whether these genes become active or remain dormant.

What is most interesting is that Harvard researchers determined that 91% of cases among the people they studied could have been prevented by watching their weight, eating a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and not drinking and smoking. Being overweight is the number one reason people contract diabetes - 61% of all cases are attributed to obesity and weight problems.

Some other interesting facts: Overweight women cut their risk by 24% simply by walking regularly. There is a direct correlation between the amount of exercise and instances of diabetes. The more exercise, the less instances. Those who did 7 or more hours a week of exercise had a 29% lower risk than those who did not exercise or exercised less than 30 minutes per week. Eating a diet that is high in fiber, low in fat and low in partially hydrogenated oils (french fries, commercial baked goods) also significantly decreases your risk. If you already do not do so, become a label reader!

Pepper may not just be for seasoning. Capsaicin is a protein compound found in pepper and peppers significantly lowers blood sugar levels and increases insulin levels. Researchers have not concluded if the pepper compound acts by increasing the release of insulin, or by slowing it's breakdown. Large doses of aspirin also lower your blood sugar and is an effective treatment of diabetes, but researchers warn that that the large doses required have detrimental side effects (intestinal bleeding, dizziness, nausea) that outweigh the benefits.

There are many diseases and illnesses you have no control over, but type 2 diabetes is highly preventable by watching your weight, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and not smoking or drinking.

Brief Overview Of Diabetes And Diet

Diabetes has been around for centuries. There are presently sixteen millions diabetics in America, but eight million do not know that they have the disease. Today, diabetes is in third place as the cause of mortality, behind cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

Diabetes is caused by a disruption in insulin production in the body. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas when the level of blood sugar, glucose, increases - after a meal, most commonly. With the help of insulin, glucose moves from the blood into the cells. The cellular components turn the glucose into energy. When glucose does not enter cells, it stays in the blood and is filtered by kidneys which later eliminate it from the bloodstream.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when insulin in the body does not work as it should. Main symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive urination, excessive appetite, fatigue, blurred vision, frequent and slow-healing infections including bladder, vaginal and skin. In men, diabetes may be accompanied by such symptoms as erectile dysfunction.

In order to timely recognize diabetes, everyone should be familiar with the different types of diabetes as well as with main symptoms of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening condition which is less common. Those suffering with this type of diabetes need complete insulin replacement because the body does not make sufficient amounts of this essential hormone.

The most common type of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. 90% of all diabetes cases in the US are diagnosed as Type 2.

There is also gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy due to specific hormonal changes in the body of the expectant mother.

Diabetes is often accompanied by obesity and high cholesterol and is a disease that often runs in families, so if one of your family members has it, you have a higher risk of developing diabetes too. Lack of activity, a diet rich in fats and processed products and obesity significantly increase your risk for diabetes.

Diabetes can be prevented and controlled by amending your diet. When we eat a product that is rich in sugar, the pancreas starts to produce more insulin to turn the sugar into energy. Saturated fat is transformed by the liver into sugar, which triggers the same response of pancreas - more insulin, more energy.

When the body doesn't use this energy, it stores it as fat in the liver, on the stomach and hips. The more sugar and fat we eat, the more "storage space" our body requires.

However, when you switch to eating vegetables, cereals and other fiber-rich products cooked or seasoned with olive or grape seed oil, the pancreas does not need to produce any extra insulin. As a result, fat is not deposited in the body and the blood sugar levels remain stable. By avoiding sweet and fat-rich foods, blood sugar levels remains balanced which can delay the onset of diabetes and for those already diagnosed as diabetic can help them manage the condition.

Prevent Diabetes By Eating Right

An ounce of prevention is always better than cure, particularly if diabetes runs in your family. But this time, people need tons of prevention to keep this chronic disease from further seeping into the mainstream not only of the American society but also of societies all over the world.

Diabetes has become so widespread that the United States spends as much as $100 billion a year for the healthcare of Americans with diabetes. Millions of people all over the world have diabetes. The sad thing is most of them do not know they have it until it is too late.

Diabetes is a devastating disease which can damage the vital organs of the body including the kidneys, heart and the eyes. While diabetes does not really kill people, it can result to more serious and complicated diseases. Diabetes may not kill people as a general rule, but it makes them lose their eyesight, and leads them to kidney and heart problems, and later on, death.

People with diabetes can survive the diseases provided they practice proper health care. Those who do not have the disease, but are in danger of getting the disease due to heredity, can avoid getting the Big D through proper nutrition.

Aside from heredity, the top cause of diabetes is improper diet. Modern man's propensity for leading hectic lives has led them into eating the wrong kinds of food. Man has become so obsessed with wealth creation and pleasure, that he has no more time to prepare a well-balanced meal. Thus, the modern man's diet consists of canned goods, processed fish, meat and vegetables that can be eaten immediately by just popping it inside a microwave. The modern world has convinced man to have a preference for refined food, from sugar to grains.

Most people who are healthy all their lives are getting diabetes and the culprit is the kind of food they eat, and our ignorance as to the nutrient content of the food we eat.

But there are health-friendly foods that are available in the market, one only has to learn how to recognize and eat them. It's just a matter of changing our choice of food, like preferring whole grains over refined grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and the likes. Eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat, sweet and oily food. It also helps to read the labels of processed food, to determine the amount of one's carbohydrate intakes.

Most people shy away from eating right because of the misconception about proper dieting. It is okay to eat certain kinds of food but you need to know how to eat them properly like knowing the proper number of servings, or the better way of cooking such food. If you find vegetables boring, then be creative in your food preparation. Differently-colored salads can encourage your good appetite.

If you can't resist oily food, then avoid going to fast food joints because seeing french-fries hungry people will just make your saliva drop and will make you forget you diet.

So how does one know that he already has diabetes? The common symptoms are frequent urination, fatigue and being thirsty all the time. Diabetes simply means too much glucose in your bloodstream. Too much glucose in the body requires more water, thus making you feel thirsty most of the time. With thirst comes an increased water intake, making urination frequent.

Why Is Diabetes Called The Stealth Disease?

Stealth, by definition, is the way of moving without being seen, felt or detected. Does diabetes exhibit these characteristics to be tagged as the stealth disease?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the level of blood glucose of a person is higher than normal. There are several symptoms that tell a person he has diabetes. Some of these are frequent urination accompanied by unusual thirst, dramatic change in weight, blurring of vision, lack of energy, and many more. However, not all people who actually have diabetes show these symptoms.

Diabetes can already be quietly creeping inside your system without you knowing it, especially on its early stages. According to the current statistics of the American Diabetes Association, there are about 20. 8 million people, in the US alone, who have diabetes. Among these, around 14. 6 million were diagnosed to have the disease, while an alarming 6. 2 million people or nearly 30% of those who have diabetes do not know that they already have one. Also, in a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine couple of years back, 4 out of 112 obese adolescents have the silent type of diabetes.

Different Forms of Diabetes.

There are three different types of diabetes - Type I, Type II, and Gestational diabetes. We discussed Type I and II previously as juvenile and adult. Let's review the first two types.

Formerly known as the juvenile diabetes, Type 1 is usually diagnosed at a younger age, mostly during childhood. This type can be linked to the person's genes. In this type, the pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Thus, in order for a Type 1 diabetic to survive, he needs to continuously take insulin shots.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as the adult-onset diabetes, is most common among diabetic patients - almost 90% of diabetic patients have this type. From the term adult-onset, this type of diabetes is mostly diagnosed at a later age in life. Some may have had it since childhood but just didn't realize until later. This is because, most of the time, type 2 diabetes starts to show symptoms when it is already in the advanced stage.

Type 2 diabetes can also be linked to the person's lifestyle and diet. That is why people who are overweight or those aged 40 and above have greater risks in developing this type of the disease. Thus, to control or prevent having diabetes in the future, we should all be mindful of the things we do and the food we eat.

The third kind is the gestational diabetes. This is only present in pregnant women, most of the time during the third trimester. This kind is usually caused by certain hormones brought about by pregnancy or, like the other types, lack of insulin. Ob-Gyns oftentimes require their patients to undergo the Oral Glucose Tolerance Test, especially when the woman is almost overweight due to her pregnancy. Even if this type ceases after giving birth, there is a big possibility that the woman will acquire Type 2 diabetes in the future.

If no proper care is administered or left improperly managed, this stealth disease can lead to further complications. These complications may be heart, kidney or eye problems, impotence or even nerve damage. Therefore, careful management is really necessary for diabetic patients.

Weight Loss Helps Prevent Diabetes

A few months ago (March 2005), the American Diabetes Association announced the findings of the comprehensive Diabetes Prevention Program. The DPP was conducted at over 25 medical centers nationwide and involved thousands of participants who volunteered to have their habits monitored and to follow dietary and exercise recommendations. All participants had been diagnosed with 'pre-diabetes', a condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not yet in diabetic ranges. Untreated, more than half of those people diagnosed with pre-diabetes will develop full-blown type 2 diabetes within a decade.

For the study, the participants were divided into two groups. One half were given dietary recommendations. The other half got the same dietary recommendations, plus the recommendation to exercise at least 30 minutes daily, five times a week.

The results? Those who included daily exercise in their routines and followed the diet recommendations cut their risk of developing diabetes by 58%. The reason? Those who made the recommended changes in their lifestyle lost 'a moderate amount' of weight. Even more important, researchers found something that they didn't expect. Those in the treatment group had a substantial chance of reducing their blood sugar level to normal, something that had been assumed was impossible.

Apparently, losing weight not only prevents a worsening of diabetes, it reverses the damage that obesity causes to the cells that produce insulin.

How much weight loss does it take to have an effect on the progression of diabetes? The key is in the definition of 'a moderate weight loss' - 5-7% of your body weight. In other words, depending on your boy weight, a loss of as little as 7-10 pounds can make a difference!

The recommendations suggested by the American Diabetes Society for a healthy diet to prevent diabetes is an ideal diet for steady, gradual weight loss - the kind of weight loss that stays lost. The diet includes the following suggested daily diet allowances:

* Grain - 6-11 servings per day (Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta).

* Vegetables - 3-5 servings per day.

* Fruits - 2-4 servings per day.

* Milk - 2-3 servings per day.

* Meat - 4-6 ounces per day (Meat, eggs, fish, dried beans, nuts and peanut butter).

* Fats, Sweets, Alcohol - Occasional treats.

(Recommendations for portions are based on gender and activity level. For instance, a sedentary 40 year old woman needs fewer portions than an active 25-year-old woman.)

Look familiar? It's also the dietary recommendation for the Heart Healthy diet from the American Heart Association, and the recommendations from the USDA's new MyPyramid. The results just keep coming in, but the message is clear: losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet can help prevent most major health problems. Why wait till you're diagnosed? Start today - and it may never happen.

Symptoms Of Adult Diabetes

The symptoms of adult diabetes are symptoms that should be recognized. Recognizing a symptom or sign for diabetes is important because diabetes is a condition that can be life-threatening. Diabetes is a disease where high levels of sugar in the blood exist, creating a symptom or sign for diabetes. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin in the body, by the inability to use insulin or both of these. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels. About 17 million persons in the USA suffer from symptoms of adult diabetes.

Diabetes consist of three main types:

* Type 1 Diabetes - is usually diagnosed in childhood. The body makes very little or no insulin, and daily injections of insulin are required to keep the person alive.

* Type 2 Diabetes - accounts for about 90% of all cases of diabetes and usually occurs in adults. The pancreas do not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal, frequently because the body does not use the insulin produced very well. Symptoms of adult diabetes and Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common with the increasing number of elderly Americans, with the failure to exercise and increasing obesity rates.

* Gestational Diabetes - is high blood glucose that develops during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes.

Here are the most common Type 2 symptoms of adult diabetes:

1. Blurred Vision

2. Fatigue

3. Impotence In Men

4. Increased Appetite

5. Increased Thirst

6. Infections That Heal Slowly

7. More Frequent Urination

How does one know if symptoms of adult diabetes that are being experienced are actually indicating diabetes? The best way is to do a blood test called the fasting blood glucose level test. Diabetes is diagnosed if this test shows blood glucose is higher than 126 mg/dL on two different tests. If levels are between 100 and 126 mg/dL, this condition will be referred to as impaired fasting glucose or prediabetes and should be considered a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.

What does one attempt to do for stabilizing blood sugar levels and diabetes? While there is no cure for diabetes, the immediate objectives are to stabilize blood sugar and eliminate any symptom or sign for diabetes and high blood sugar. Long-term, the goals of treatment are to prolong ones life, to relieve symptoms of adult diabetes and prevent long-term complications that may result such as heart disease and kidney failure.

A person with symptoms of adult diabetes should work closely with their physician to keep blood sugar levels within acceptable ranges. In addition, the more you understand a symptom or sign for diabetes and how to treat it, the more proactive you can become in making lifestyle changes that will improve your health. Besides oral medications, the good news is that Type 2 diabetes may respond to treatment with exercise, diet improvements and weight management.

Gestational Diabetes

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from gestational diabetes. In fact, it affects two to four percent of all pregnancies and involves an increased risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child. Gestational diabetes is a high-blood sugar condition first found in pregnancy. It is caused when your body cannot produce enough insulin, or even process insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by t he pancreas that allows your cells to turn sugar into energy.

How will gestational diabetes affect my pregnancy? If left untreated, gestational diabetes can definitely affect your baby. He could develop a condition called macrosomia, where he would grow very large, possibly resulting in the need for a cesarean section. He could also develop neonatal hypoglycemia, prolonged newborn jaundice, low blood calcium, or respiratory distress syndrome.

Am I at risk of having gestational diabetes? Women who already suffer from diabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, as well as women who are obese. Other factors include:

  • A family history of diabetes.
  • Older maternal age.
  • Previous delivery of a baby over 9 pounds.
  • High blood pressure.

There are not really many noticeable symptoms related to gestational diabetes, but your health care provider will test for it around week 24 of your pregnancy.

How is it treated? The easiest way to control gestational diabetes is to control your glucose intake. Your doctor will most likely suggest that you follow the nutritional guidelines of the American Diabetes Association. This will basically limit your intake of sugars and fats your body gets while eating the right foods to ensure that you receive all of the other nutrients that you will need to have a healthy pregnancy.

Diabetes And Your Diet

If you are like me you probably thought diabetes is one of those things you have or don't have; nothing could be further from the truth because diabetes is now the biggest threat to health in the developed world and we are eating ourselves into it because of poor diet.

First question is how prevalent is diabetes? Using Australia as an example that has a total population of around 20 million inhabitants, in the last full year official figures show 70,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes during the year. That is equal to one extra person diagnosed every seven minutes 24/7.

At present 700,000 people are diagnosed with having diabetes and a conservative figure indicate that for each person diagnosed there is another that is not diagnosed but does suffer from diabetes. that is 1.4 million sufferers out of a total population of 20 million. - More than 5% and growing by the day. The organization Diabetes Australia forecast that by the year 2010 the number of sufferers could be close to 10% of population. This rate of increase is happening throughout the developed world and is caused by lack of exercise and poor diet. We could be quite cruel here and say that people are queuing to shorten their lifespan because diabetes does reduce your lifespan.

The answer to this epidemic is in the hands of each of us. We must exercise more and be more conscious of what we eat. Attention to diet should start from a very young age; in particular we should concentrate on serving sizes and avoiding fatty foods. Yes that does include every child's favorite burger and fries. Once a month does little harm if the children are active, once a week causes damage even if they are active.

We all need to be conscious of seven servings of fruit and vegetables each day in our diet and also the need to back a good diet with reasonable exercise, like walking. People most at risk of type 2 diabetes, the most common, are overweight and do not exercise. They may have high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, if you fit this category ask your doctor to check for diabetes next time you visit.

I saved the scariest fact for last: The total number of people in Australia with diabetes or "pre-diabetes" is 3.2 million or 15.1% of the total population. Each of these people will have a reduced lifespan.

Diabetes, Recognizing the Signs, and Symptoms

Do you find yourself going to the bathroom more than usual? Are you unusually hungry or thirsty? Is fatigue a normal, everyday feeling? Does spontaneous, blurred vision interfere with you daily life? If this sounds like you, you may have Diabetes. Diabetes effects over sixteen million Americans, and many people are unaware they have it. Every day, 2,200 new cases of Diabetes are diagnosed in the United States. Diabetes is characterized by a high level of sugar in the blood, as a result of defective insulin secretion, or insulin resistance. Although we tend to group all people with Diabetes together, the truth is that there are two different types of Diabetes that are similar in their elevated blood sugar, but different in many other ways.

Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children, and young adults. It is characterized by the Pancreas' inability to produce insulin. It is thought that this inability arises from an autoimmune condition. Basically the body is killing its own insulin producing cells. The symptoms of type 1 Diabetes are very obvious, frequent urination, increased thirst, and weight loss. The onset is usually abrupt, and severe. In addition, having type 1 Diabetes increases your risk for many serious complications, heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, and kidney damage. Treatment consists of intermediate or long-acting insulin (taken once or twice daily) with fast- or rapid-acting insulin injections taken at mealtimes.

Type 2 Diabetes often develops rather insidiously, showing few or no symptoms. The symptoms are similar to type 1, however they develop gradually over time. This may explain why it often goes undetected at first. The cells of the body being resistant to insulin characterize the most common form of diabetes, type 2. The Pancreas still produces insulin, however the body cannot use it efficiently. Type 2 usually develops in men or women over 40 years of age, characterized by obesity, and lack of physical activity. In particular, people who are an "apple-shape" - with lots of fat around the abdomen - are at greater risk of developing diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes runs in families, and is particularly common among people of African-Caribbean or Asian origin. Similarly, having type 2 Diabetes increases your risk for many serious complications, as type 1. Unlike type 1, type 2 Diabetes can usually be controlled with diet, exercise or medicines.

If you suspect you may have Diabetes, it is important to see your doctor, especially if you fall into any of the categories previously mentioned. Discovering you have Diabetes is frightening, don't panic, people with Diabetes can live long, healthy, happy lives. Eat right and exercise. It's a simple prescription that will keep you healthy, whether you have diabetes or not.

Healthy Eating for Diabetes Patients

When faced with the diagnoses of Diabetes, there is much that the healthcare provider can do to help patients today. However, eating right is something the patient can—and must—do for themselves. Food and blood glucose levels walk hand in hand for Diabetes sufferers, making mealtime an effective method to keep the disease at bay. The subsequent article discusses how eating right can lead to better health and solid management of a complicated disease.

For many, the do-it-yourself method of food regulation is difficult. Changing eating habits is hard to do. There are new diet trends offered seasonally each year for people continually searching for a way to eat right. One important fact for the diabetic to keep in mind is that healthy eating for them is very nearly on par for healthy eating for everyone else—it’s just that healthy eating is a must rather than an option. Healthy eating is comprised of a wide variety of foods with balanced meals that range with carbohydrates, proteins and fat. All calories must be accounted for, so keeping a food diary is a good way to start your journey into a healthy eating lifestyle.

For the diabetes sufferer, meals must be planned to keep blood glucose levels safely under control. Intake must be carefully weighed against insulin doses, medication and exercise to avoid extreme fluctuation of blood glucose levels. Meal planning may seem like a novelty at first, but after a week or two, you can recycle your plans and accomplish your healthy eating lifestyle more rapidly than you may have thought possible. Most healthcare providers will refer diabetes patients to a dietician or nutritionist to discuss a healthy eating plan. Talk about what you like to eat and find out if it can be worked into an eating plan.

A dietician will also be able to inform you about calorie counting, counting fat grams, counting carbohydrate grams, counting sodium grams, counting food exchanges, and any of your own individual goals for keeping healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle. Dieticians that have experience working with diabetic patients will provide you with a new way to look at food and eating so that the diabetes can be managed successfully.

While preparing your healthy eating plan you should also discuss your activities, your target range for blood glucose levels and how you may be able to prevent other diseases simply by eating healthy. Whether you have gestational, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you will want to include as wide a variety of foods as possible. Use the standard food pyramid as a good rule of thumb when planning your daily intakes. To keep your body nutritionally happy, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals in proper proportion are necessary.

Sources of carbohydrates include bread, grains, pasta, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. Excellent protein sources are poultry, meats, dairy products, eggs and fish. For fat, look to meat, dairy products, nuts and oils. Most patients, however, need to keep weight under control, so focusing on good carbohydrates and protein becomes increasingly more important fat intake. Your caloric intake must be spent wisely and it’s best to avoid fats from bacon, bacon grease, butter, lard, cream cheese and coconut oil. If you crave sweets, consider using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to keep your blood glucose levels in check.

While a dietician will be able to individualize your healthy eating plan, there are some general tips that all diabetes patients can keep in mind when it comes to eating healthy:

  • Use a nonstick vegetable spray for cooking instead of oils.
  • To flavor foods without adding additional calories, season your meals with herbs.
  • When eating poultry, remember that breast meat is leanest.
  • Avoid pastas that contain eggs or fat; select converted, brown or wild types of rice.
  • Choose "choice" or "select" cuts of meat which are lower in fat.
  • Try to eat fresh or frozen vegetables. If eating canned vegetables, be sure to rinse them to reduce the amount of sodium.
  • When it comes to oils, choose olive, canola, soybean, corn, sesame or safflower.

While eating healthy and learning the ins and outs of nutrition may seem daunting at first, it will ultimately prove both rewarding and empowering. Controlling your disease by eating right is key to this and may other diseases.

Easy Guide to Control Blood-Sugar Levels

Sugar is the primary culprit in the development of hypoglycemia and diabetes. While sugar does provide a temporary boost of ener­gy, eating it too frequently puts tremendous stress on the organs and glands that regulate blood-sugar levels. If you don't have hypo­glycemia or diabetes or if you rarely indulge in sugar, your pancreas can handle occasional sugary treats. But if you frequently eat sugar, your pancreas can become hypersensitive to sugar and overreact, flooding your body with insulin, which causes blood-sugar levels to plummet. This triggers your adrenal glands into action, and they notify your liver to release the glucose that it has stored as emer­gency fuel, which once again floods your bloodstream with sugar. If this happens too many times, your pancreas can finally give up and stop producing insulin or your cells may become resistant to insulin, and hypoglycemia can slip into diabetes.

Most American women eat about 80 pounds of sugar per year, as well as large amounts of refined carbohydrates such as white flour, which is easily converted into glucose in the body. Even if you don't add sugar to foods, you can still take in tremendous amounts if your diet contains a lot of prepared foods. Obviously, desserts and sweets are loaded with sugar, but other foods such as salad dress­ings, pasta sauces, and dry cereals also typically contain large amounts of sugar. Sugar is hidden in foods in many forms and is often used in more than one form in processed foods. To help restore healthy blood-sugar levels, avoid all forms of sugar, includ­ing sucrose, glucose, maltose, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, bar­ley malt, and molasses. Learn to enjoy the unprocessed sweetness of fresh fruits (in moderation) and sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots, and winter squash. Although giving up concentrated sweet­eners may be difficult initially, you will find that your cravings for sugar will diminish within a few weeks.

Other foods that interfere with healthy blood-sugar levels include refined carbohydrates such as breads and pastas made from white flour and white rice, all of which are rapidly broken down into simple sugars in the body. Stimulants such as caffeine offer a temporary burst of energy, but stress the adrenal glands and further impair their ability to normalize blood-sugar levels. Alcohol also interferes with blood-sugar stability because it hinders the body's ability to use glucose and stimulates the release of insulin, which causes blood sugar take a nosedive.

To help maintain steady blood-sugar levels, eat a diet high in fiber, especially soluble fiber, which slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and prevents rapid increases in blood ­sugar levels. Soluble fiber keeps the pancreas from secreting too much insulin by enhancing cell sensitivity to insulin and improves the use of glucose by the liver, which prevents blood-sugar levels from remaining too high. Strive for at least 35 grams and preferably 50 grams of fiber each day. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, veg­etables, and fruits are good sources of fiber, and especially good sources of soluble fiber include legumes, oat bran, most vegetables, apples, and pears. Eat carbohydrates in as close to their natural state as possible, because the fiber content helps to slow the absorption of natural sugars that carbohydrates contain-for exam­ple, eat an apple instead of drinking apple juice. Psyllium-seed husks, guar gum, and pectin are excellent sources of supplemental soluble fiber. To help balance blood-sugar levels, take one to three teaspoons of a fiber supplement stirred into a glass of water twice daily before meals.

Protein is essential for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands, pancreas, and liver and prevents cravings for high-carbohy­drate foods. Because protein does not stimulate the release of insulin as do carbohydrates, it helps to stabilize blood-sugar levels. For maximum blood-sugar stability, eat three to four ounces of pro­tein at lunch and at dinner. Moderate amounts of healthful fats are also essential for helping to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels and for providing a feeling of satiety, which helps to reduce cravings for carbohydrates. Raw nuts and seeds, avocados, olive oil, and flaxseed oil are all good sources of health-enhancing fats.

Eating frequent small meals is a helpful strategy for stabilizing blood-sugar levels. Avoid skipping meals, or going for more than two to three hours without eating. Get into the habit of eating meals at regular times, because your body functions best on a regular schedule. Plan for three meals a day, plus midmorning, midafter­noon, and evening snacks. Include a small amount of protein or fat in your snack to help keep blood sugar stable-for example, have an apple with a few almonds, crackers with tofu spread, or carrot sticks with a few walnuts.

Supplements that are especially helpful for balancing blood­ sugar include chromium, a trace mineral that is essential for the proper functioning of insulin. Take 200 to 600 micrograms of chromium picolinate daily. To help strengthen the adrenal glands, take 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily in divided doses and a high­ potency multivitamin and mineral that provides 50 to 100 milligrams of the B-complex vitamins.

Conquering Diabetes With Diet

Finding the right nutritional approach when living with diabetes can be incredibly challenging, especially with the largely unhelpful diets that abound which claim to help but in reality do not.

For the uninitiated, when someone is diabetic they are unable to produce or correctly use insulin, which is the hormone that is responsible for getting sugar (glucose) into cells for use as energy. The sugar, unable to enter hungry cells, stays in the bloodstream building up to dangerous levels. Meanwhile, the person feels hungry and craves sweets.

This is why it is literally a matter of life and death that a proper diet is strictly followed. Blood sugar levels not controlled or the condition allowed to progress leads to feeling unhealthy, fatigue, ulcers, blood vessel destruction, eye problems, blindness, heart disease, loss of fingers, toes, or limbs, and life on medications, just to name a few complications.

One of the main goals for a diabetic diet is to lower your weight and maintain it. This alone helps insulin to better do its job. In addition, a proper diet is designed to help your body to heal and better maintain regular glucose levels in your body naturally. The proper diet supplies you with quality vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants fresh from healing food that your body cannot get on a devitalized, convenience, over-cooked, over-processed, fast food, and junky diet. The goal is to get out of the way and give your body what it needs to heal and live normally instead of abnormally. The goal is to get as healthy as you can and get off or at least really reduce the medications you are on.

Diabetes is a disease of lifestyle.

Since diabetes prevents your body from processing glucose the way it should, you will probably need to continue any current diabetes medications while following your diet until blood tests show your body needs less and less of the drug. The goal is that a proper diet and lifestyle will help you to keep your glucose normalized, blood pressure under control, weight becoming normal, and keep you moving in a direction of optimal health.

Overall, there is no official diabetic diet to follow and it really depends on the individual diabetic. Some people are more sensitive to foods and others need daily exercise more strictly. However, there is a fairly well defined lifestyle that will guide you on the path.

Foods to include in your diet are all fresh fruits and vegetables. Greens are by far the best and most healing foods for diabetes. Romaine, kale, chard, baby mixed greens, watercress, spinach etc. are all excellent choices. Sprouts of all kinds, celery, avocado, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, squash, green beans, peas, radishes, red peppers, etc, are all great choices for vegetables. All fruits are beneficial as well, as long as an eye is kept on their effects to your blood sugar. All foods should be consumed in as fresh a state as possible. Raw is best and steamed lightly is a good second place. Your focus should be eating as much fresh, raw, fruits and vegetables and keep a wide variety.

Foods to eliminate completely are: all fried foods, any and all food with sugar or sweeteners added (even concentrated fruit juice, slpenda, cane crystals, etc., and even in small amounts; no sugar), barbecued meat, preserved meat (slim jims, hot dogs, bacon, ham, etc.) and grains (this includes all wheat products, pasta, bread, cereals, oatmeal, couscous, rice, etc.). You should definitely eliminate all hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats, additives, preservatives, and food dyes. Avoid all convenience foods, as these are not made to be healthy at all and you will find one if not all of the ingredients to be avoided in them.

The true convenience food for you is a piece of fruit or vegetables and a handful of non-roasted nuts. No trash, no waste, and it waits until you are ready! Fabulous combos are apples and brazil nuts, cashews and pears, pecans and mango, and sunflower seeds with fresh figs.

Occasional use of brown rice in small quantities, occasional use of milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and occasional use of a freshly cooked meat is acceptable as long as you are honest with yourself about your blood sugar values and your definition of occasional is not exaggerated. For health purposes, each of the above foods should only be eaten once a week if they do not negatively affect your blood glucose or blood pressure.

You should experiment with foods such as raw cheeses and milk, raw honey, stevia, unsweetened cocoa, dates, and freshly made (not pasteurized or heated) juices. Juices in particular are very healing and chock full of vitamins and minerals, but check how they affect you. Juices with carrot, beet, celery, kale, parsley, apple, ginger, lemon, and others are all very healing. Some of the choices used raw (such as dairy) may be more beneficial to you and allow you to eat them more often.

Some general guidelines on how a diabetic can stay healthy for many years to come:

10-30% of your daily calories on a diabetic diet should come from fats in foods, such as avocado, nuts, coconut, olives and olive oil, occasional raw cheese, occasional eggs, and meat. The rest of a diabetic diet should consist of simple and complex carbohydrates (sugars) coming fresh vegetables, greens and fruit. Emphasize the greens.

Exercise daily and do activities that you enjoy. Walking is one of the best. If you like, try all sorts of different activities and keep yourself moving, active, and enjoying life. You may like yoga, pilates, hiking, biking, gardening, running, swimming, any ball game, lifting weights, and even playing with your kids or dog. It is important for a diabetic to get regular daily exercise and for the session to last at least 45 minutes. Studies have suggested that anything shorter than this does not have the best impact possible on blood sugar regulation.

Six Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that strikes more people every year. It also leads to severe complications such as heart problems, blindness, kidney trouble, and amputation of limbs. Diabetes has a genetic component that may make you more prone to the disease. It runs in families and women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk as well. Can we prevent or delay the onset of diabetes? Yes, there are some simple things you can do now that will allow you to avoid or delay this disease.

1. Look at what you are eating. Eat smaller portions; you can make it look like more by using a smaller plate or a salad plate. Don't snack while you are cooking. You probably don't even realize how many calories you take in by snacking while cooking. Don't be tempted to "clean up" the unfinished food to keep from throwing it away or storing it in the refrigerator. Eat breakfast every day, and make your meal and snack times regular by having them at the same time each day.

2. Limit your meat, poultry, and fish intake to about three ounces a day. This is equal to about the size of a pack of cards. Another good tip is to listen to music instead of watching TV. If you are watching TV while you are eating, you are not aware of how much you are eating.

3. Low salt broth is a good substitute for oil and butter. Drinking a full glass of water before eating will also help reduce your appetite. If you are eating at a fast-food place, try choosing the healthier foods, such as grilled chicken, salad instead of fries, or fruit instead of desserts or shakes. It isn't necessary to deprive yourself of all your favorite foods, just cut down on portions and eat at regular times and choose healthier foods.

4. Limit your desserts, and when eating out, have a good-sized vegetable salad to take the edge off your appetite. When you receive your entrée, either share it with your dinner companion, or ask for a take-home box immediately after receiving your meal. Have meals that have been stir fried, or make with a nonstick spray.

5. Increase your physical activity! Yes, that means moving out of the chair and spending less time in front of the TV. There are small activities you can do to increase your physical activity. Turn the radio on and boogie while working on your household chores. Teach your kids how to dance the way you did when you were their age.

6. If you are at work, instead of sending e-mail to your co-worker, walk over to their desk and deliver the message in person. Take walks; it's a great way to keep up with your friends and an enjoyable, healthy way to take a break. Avoid the elevator and take the stairs as much as you are comfortable in doing that. One friend of mine marches in place during each commercial while she is watching TV. Don't circle the parking lot looking for the closest parking spot, park as far out as you feel comfortable in walking. Not only will it increase your activity level, but it also may save your car from a few dings.

By making of few simple changes like this in your life, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing and of course delay or prevent the onset of diabetes. Even if you can't completely prevent diabetes, delaying it for a few years or more will go a long way in avoiding many of the long-term side effects of diabetes.

Source: http://www.healthguidance.org/authors/147/Susanne-Myers
Susanne Myers

Susanne Myers together with Christine Steendahl, owns and publishes the Healthy Menu Mailer. Each week, we provide you with 7 dinner recipes. Sign up for a free sample menu at http://www.healthymenumailer.com.

Exercise and Blood Sugar

Exercise is essential for maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels. Regular moderate exercise enhances the ability of cells to respond to insulin and to absorb glucose. The more fit you are, the more responsive your cells will be to insulin, which helps to keep blood sugar under control. Through its positive effect on blood-sugar lev­els, exercise helps to prevent diabetes.

Exercising moderately and regularly is also extremely important if you have diabetes. Because exercise helps to decrease blood-glucose levels and enhances cel­lular response to insulin, it often lowers insulin requirements. Reg­ular exercise has other benefits as well: It helps to decrease carbohydrate cravings, increases energy levels, and helps to prevent the common complications of diabetes such as cardiovascular dis­ease and impaired circulation. Exercise also improves the health of the adrenal glands by defusing emotional stress, which is a primary cause of adrenal fatigue and a contributing factor to blood-sugar imbalances. Plan for at least 30 minutes of activity such as walking or biking at least five days a week.

How Does A Person Acquire Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition where the body, or to be precise the pancreas, loses its ability to create insulin, the chemical necessary to regulate blood sugar levels. As we take in food, a substance called glucose enters through the bloodstream, and it is insulin's role to make sure that that glucose is carried to different parts of the body, in turn fuels us with the energy we need. Diabetes is often considered as a silent disease, much like cancer and nearly five out of ten people are unaware that they have diabetes.

So how did we get such a disease? A known fact about diabetes is that it can be hereditary, especially if a family member has a history of diabetes. Obesity is also one of the most common factors, leading to the lack of exercise and high blood pressure levels. US studies have shown that diabetes can also develop when a mother gives birth to a child who weighs more than 9 pounds.

There are two types of diabetes: The Type 1 diabetes inflicts mostly children when the pancreas completely loses its ability to secrete insulin. Common diabetic symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination and continued weight loss despite of excessive hunger. They begin to be insulin dependent and its dire results may also include blindness and amputation of certain limbs in the body.

Type Two diabetes is far more common than Type One. Its symptoms may include those of Type One, but its leading concern is that nearly half of diabetics may not be able to have such symptoms and the cause of hereditary diabetes to children. They are often considered as non-insulin dependents, in which an excessive secretion of insulin passes through the bloodstream, causing the body to develop a high resistance to the chemical. The end result would be the high blood glucose content, which can be treated with regular exercise and a high protein diet of starch and carbohydrates.

Sadly, there is no absolute cure for diabetes of any type. The only recommendation from doctors is to prolong life, making sure that they would still continue to live normally. In the US alone, nearly 200,000 deaths per year has been reported due to diabetes.

In order to cope with diabetes, it is important to maintain their weight and exercise regularly. Alcohol consumption can be regulated to its utmost maximum, better if cut out completely and smoking is an absolute health risk to both the lungs and diabetics. Regular visits to the doctor are an absolute must in order to check and make sure that their blood glucose levels are on tract. Family encouragement can also do wonders for those suffering from diabetes, helping them that there is always a way to surpass diabetes without the fear of death. It helps increase the quality of life among family members with diabetes.

Knowing The Symptoms Of Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is a condition resulting from the pancreas' inability to produce enough insulin, which is needed by the body to help create energy. A deficiency of or ineffectiveness of insulin leads to high glucose levels in the blood, thus, leading to this illness.

Diabetes has two types. Type 1 Diabetes usually occurs in young people and requires frequent insulin injections, while Type 2 Diabetes is experienced by older people and is not as dependent on insulin. Majority of those who have Type 2 Diabetes have been found to be either obese or overweight.

Diabetes usually runs in the family, so it's best to know early on if you have it. The common symptoms experienced by someone who has diabetes include unusually frequent urination and hunger, constant thirst, rapid weight loss, tiredness, numbness in the feet and hands, recurrent skin infections, itching in private parts and blurred vision. When left unattended, diabetes could escalate to hyperglycemia, which develops from an excess of glucose in the blood, and leave the person temporarily unconscious, or, worse, cause severe infections, poor healing abilities, heart ailments and numbness from nerve damage.

The direct origins of diabetes, besides heredity, remain uncertain. However, several scientists believe that diabetes can also spring from an infection in the pancreas, a disorder in the autoimmune system and even from an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.

When you notice the signs that possibly point to diabetes, consult your doctor immediately. You will be subjected to tests to determine whether your blood sugar is stable and if there is a presence of diabetes. Your doctor will then recommend an appropriate exercise regimen and diet to temper the effects of diabetes, or, if needed, prescribe medication.

People diagnosed with diabetes should avoid sugars and control the intake of fats, carbohydrates and salt. A life long low-fat, high-fiber diet is ideal. Regular aerobic exercise also helps maximize the effect of insulin treatments. Some studies show that weight management and a proper diet are often enough to keep those with Type 2 Diabetes in check and even prevent people who are diabetes-prone from developing the condition. In alternative medicine, herbs like ampalaya and banaba have also been used to help treat diabetes.

For persons with a history of diabetes in the family and are over forty years old, blood should be checked for sugar levels two hours after a hearty meal. This procedure should be done at least twice a year, as several people have been found to have had diabetes for years without experiencing any of the symptoms.

Sadly, diabetes cannot be cured. But it can be controlled with life-long treatment. Therefore, to combat diabetes, regular check-ups, a healthy lifestyle and constant vigilance are in order.

Sugar High: Diabetes The Killer Disease

Lately, you pee a lot. You always feel thirsty and you always feel hungry. You always feel tired. Your vision blurs most of the time. Your wounds heal longer that it used to. If these things are happening to you, now is the time to worry. You might have diabetes.

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high level of blood sugar. This is due to faulty insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications then eventually to premature death if not controlled correctly. So to better prevent diabetes or treat it if you already have diabetes, equip yourself with the ins and outs of the sickness.

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. In both types, early detection and early treatment will reduce the chances of developing serious health problems.

Type 1 diabetes was formerly known as juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. Type 1 diabetes matures quickly and symptoms are very visible. This type of diabetes occurs when the body's immune system destroys pancreatic cells. These cells are the insulin producing cells. This type of diabetes affects mostly children and young adults. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes include autoimmune, genetics, and environmental factors.

The exact cause of this form of diabetes is still unknown but it is believed that this is triggered by a virus or an allergen which stimulates the immune system of the baby, kid or young adult to attack the beta cells in the pancreas.

Type 1 diabetes symptoms include fatigue, recurrent urination, thirst, weight loss, sweet smelling breath and difficulty in breathing. If type 1 diabetes is left undiagnosed and untreated, this will lead to labored breathing, coma, and death.

Type 2 diabetes was used to be called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes. This form of diabetes develops slowly and the symptoms are usually less severe than people with type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes begins as insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a disorder in which the cells do not use insulin properly. As the need for insulin rises, the pancreas loses its ability to produce insulin.

Recent studies have shown that genetics, fetal history, obesity, lack of physical activity, diet high in fat, and stress may influence in the development of this form of diabetes. Also, genetic studies have shown that association of some genes is in fact the cause of Type 2 diabetes.

Now on to the most important question - is it treatable?

There is still no cure for diabetes but it can be managed. Some of the ways to manage diabetes is through injection of insulin in the body, careful meal planning, blood glucose monitoring, and exercise.

There are some recent medical breakthroughs that may help in the curing of diabetes. One is the transplantation of beta cells (the insulin producing cells) which has been successful although with some side effects. Another treatment is the pancreas transplantation. This is not recommended treatment for diabetes unless there is a need for a kidney transplant as well. Another approach is the genetic manipulation although this is still under study. In this particular treatment, insulin genes are inserted to cells that are not producing insulin to make them produce insulin.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diabetes type 1 is caused by a decreased production of the hormone insuline in the pancreas. Here is a survey of the causes, symptoms and treatment options by this disease.


Special areas in the pancreas gland, the islets of Langerhans, produce a hormone called insulin. This hormone is a protein of small size. Insulin stimulates muscle cells and other body cells to take up glucose from the blood and convert the glucose to glycogen, a kind of starch, and then store the glycogen. By need the body cells convert the glycogen to glucose and use it as fuel. In this way insulin keeps the glucose level in the blood at a normal size.

By diabetes type I the cells producing insulin are destroyed. Then less glucose is taken up from the blood into the body cells and utilized there, and glucose accumulates in the blood.


The cause of the disease is not well known. An auto-immune response attacking the insulin producing cells in the langerhansian islets may be a cause. Virus infection may be another cause. The disease also is to some extend inherited.

When the glucose uptake into the body cells is reduced, but glucose instead accumulates in the blood, the following physiological effects occur:

- The body cells do not get enough fuel for the work they shall do.

- The molecular thickness (osmality) of the blood increases. This causes water to be pulled out from the body tissues and into the blood. The tissues thus get dried out and the urine production increases.

- The tissues begin to break down protein and fat to get energy, causing weight loss and muscular reduction.

The symptoms of diabetes type 1 are a consequence of these mechanisms.


The disease often starts suddenly. Often children or young people are attacked by the disease. The lack of insulin causes an increased amount of blood sugar. Early symptoms of the disease are:

  • Increased urine production
  • Dehydration (lack of water in the body)
  • Abnormally high thirst as a consequence of increased urine production
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • An abnormal high appetite
  • Feeling extremely tired and weak
  • Weight loss, even when one eats well
  • Impaired vision

If the blood sugar level is not stabilized to a normal value, there will be an accumulation of chemicals in the body called ketones, and this condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis. This serious condition can lead to coma and death. The signs of ketoacidosis are:

  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • Rapid breathing
  • High pulse rate
  • Somnolence (abnormal tendency to sleep)

In the long term, diabetes type 1 can severely hurt the blood vessels in vital organs. This can further cause damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys or other body organs.


Diabetes type 1 is treated with insulin injections. Implanting insuline cells in the pancreas is an experimental treatment. Another experimental treatment is to implant stem cells in the pancreas that can develop into new insulin producing cells.

Another important module of the treatment is regulation of the amount of sugar and fat consumed through the diet so that it fits together with the insulin-amount injected. Also regular monitoring of the blood sugar level to regulate the insulin amount is an important part of the treatment.

There are also natural products in the market that can help to normalize the blood sugar level by diabetes type 1. Those products cannot heal the disease or replace insulin injections, but they can help the body to regulate the blood sugar level. These products contain minerals that are working components of enzymes that stimulate the glucose metabolism in the body. They also contain herbs that have been used for a long time in traditional medicine to regulate the glucose level and that have proven their effects in scientific studies.

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Diabetes type 2 is a lifestyle disease that often can be prevented or controlled by a proper diet and exercise. Here is a survey of the causes, symptoms and treatment options by this disease.


Special areas in the pancreas gland, the Islets of Langerhans, produce a hormone called insulin. This hormone is a protein of small size. Insulin stimulates muscle cells and other body cells to take up glucose from the blood and convert the glucose to glycogen, a kind of starch, and then store the glycogen. By need the body cells convert the glycogen to glucose and use it as fuel. In this way insulin keeps the glucose level in the blood at a normal size.

By diabetes type 2, the cells in the body do not react properly by stimulation from insulin. Therefore they do not take in enough glucose from the blood to store it or to use it as energy source. This condition is called insulin resistance. The amount of glucose in the blood therefore rises. Also the insulin production can rise to regulate the glucose amount down, but this effort to reduce the blood glucose is not effective enough. If the disease persists for many years, the insulin production may tire out, so that the amount of secreted insulin decreases.

Diabetes type 2 is the most common kind of diabetes, actually 10 times more common than diabetes type 1, where the insulin production is reduced or stopped. The disease usually appears after the age of 50, but the high sugar and fat consume in western countries nowadays also causes young persons to acquire the disease.


The exact mechanism that causes the disease is not known. There may be an autoimmune response to insulin or to the molecules on the cell surfaces that the insulin connects to. However, these lifestyle factors can cause the disease:

  • Too high consume of sugar and fat
  • Over-weight
  • Too less exercise over many years

Therefore diabetes type 2 can be prevented by a right diet and with regular exercise.

When the glucose uptake into the body cells is reduced, but glucose instead accumulates in the blood, the following physiological effects occur:

- The body cells do not get enough fuel for the work they shall do.

- The molecular thickness (osmality) of the blood increases. This causes water to be pulled out from the body tissues and into the blood. The tissues thus get dried out and the urine production increases.

- The tissues begin to break down protein and fat to get energy, causing weight loss and muscular reduction.

The symptoms of diabetes type 2 are a consequence of these mechanisms.


Symptoms of diabetes type 2 come gradually. The symptoms are:

  • Increased urine production
  • Dehydration, that is a lack of water in the body
  • Abnormal high thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased appetite
  • Slow healing of physical injuries
  • Itching in the skin
  • Infections caused by yeasts
  • Impaired vision

In the long turn, the disease can cause atherosclerosis with blood vessel narrowing, heart disease and stroke.


The treatment of diabetes type 2 is most often diet with a low sugar and fat amount, and with the amount of sugar and carbohydrates strictly controlled. A weight reduction program is a part of the treatment for over-weighted persons. An exercise program is also an important component of the treatment, both in order to get rid of excessive blood sugar levels and to loose weight.

A general healthy diet will also help. Such a diet contains food sources like fish, fouls, seafood, mushrooms, whole corn cereals, whole corn bread and vegetables. The following fat and sugar containing food types are recommended in moderate amounts: Nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, eggs, spawn and fruit.

These fat types are also recommended in moderate amounts: Olive oil, walnut oil, rape oil, sunflower oil. Soy oil, corn oil and butter can be used in small amounts, but these fat types should not be your only fat source. If you only use these fat types, you will not get all essential fatty acids that the body need to work properly. Things to be avoided in the diet are: Snacks, fast food, fat read meat, cookies, margarine, chemically altered fat and sweet beverages.

The listed measures will usually lighten the burden upon the blood sugar control of the body so that it manages to normalize the blood sugar levels.

The listed lifestyle measures will also prevent diabetes type 2, but for prevention the control of the daily carbohydrate intake does not have to be controlled so strictly.


If lifestyle measures do not work good enough, medication to lower the blood sugar is used. There are several classes of medicaments against diabetes type 2 to be taken by mouth and that work in different ways.

- The first class of drugs against diabetes type 2 developed, and which are still in use, are the sulfonylureas drugs like Glucotrol® and Micronase®. These drugs stimulate the pancreas to make more insulin. Side effects from these drugs that may occur are: Low blood sugar levels, water retention, edema, weight gain, heart problems and allergic reactions. Law blood sugar levels occur more easily if the drug is used together with alcohol.

- The biguanides like Metformin make the liver to slow down the brakedown of stored complex carbohydrates to glucose, and thus lower the blood glucose level. This drug class also help to control weight. Possible side effects form this drug class are lactic acidosis, nausea, appetite loss, diarrhea, abdominal gas and metallic taste.

- Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors like Precose® and Glyset®, inhibit breakdown of complex carbohydrates in the gut to simple sugars and the uptake of sugars from the gut into the blood, and thus lower the content of sugar in the blood. They may give side effects like abdominal gas and diarrhea.

- The thiazolidinediones like Avandia® and Actos® make body cells more sensitive to insulin and thus make skeletal muscle take up glucose form the blood. Side effects that may occur by this class of drugs are anaemia, head-aches, muscle aches, tooth aches, sore throut, increased upper respiratory tract infection rate, water retention, edema, weight gain, heart problems and liver injury.

- Meglitinides like Prandin® are taken by meals and controls the blood sugar levels after meals by stimulating the pancreas to make more insulin when the sugar from the meal comes into the blood. Possible side effects are low blood sugar levels, increased risk of upper respiratory tract infection, headache, joint and back pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and weight gain.

If the insulin production is reduced, insulin injections are also used.

There are also natural products in the market that can help to normalize the blood sugar level by diabetes type 2. Those products cannot heal the disease, but they can help the body to regulate the blood sugar. These products contain minerals that are working components of enzymes that stimulate the glucose metabolism in the body. They also contain herbs that have been used for a long time in traditional medicine to regulate the glucose level and have proven their effects in scientific studies.

Detecting Diabetes and Caring For It

One of the best things you can do for your health is to know how to detect diabetes before it becomes an even bigger problem in your life by not taking care of it. Believe it or not there are quite a few people out there who don’t exactly know what diabetes is. Diabetes is a disorder characterized by hyperglycemia or elevated blood glucose (blood sugar). When the amount of sugar in our blood runs too low or too high it is quite typical for anyone to not feel very well. Diabetes is a term generally used when speaking of a person who has a blood sugar level that is consistently high. Millions of Americans have diabetes; however most of them do not realize it. In the long term diabetes can cause complications concerning the kidneys, eyes, heart, nerves and blood vessels.

There are two types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes (insulin deficiency) means there is not enough insulin being produced. Type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) occurs when there is plenty of insulin being produced but cells in our bodies are very resistant to it’s action, which in turn causes your blood sugar to consistently be high.

The most common symptoms of hyperglycemia, otherwise known as diabetes, would be frequently hungry, frequently thirsty and frequently urinating. Apart from those symptoms other symptoms that may occur are fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision, wounds healing more slowly, dry mouth, impotence, dry/itchy skin and recurrent infections.

Even though diabetes may sound like a horrible disease it can be easy to live with. The key to doing that is to take care of yourself. Many people do not take care of themselves because they refuse to admit there is something wrong with them health wise. They won’t even admit it to themselves. So, what happens when they do this? They try to survive without taking medication(s) they need or doing anything in their life to help keep their bodies healthy. Don’t do this. The only thing it can lead to is an unhealthy body, physically and mentally, and possibly depression in the long run.

If you wish to watch your blood sugar, whether you are diabetic or not, there are many things you can do at home. Purchase a blood glucose monitor. This can easily be purchased at your local pharmacy or online. There are websites that will tell you how high and or low your blood glucose level should be, though your blood glucose monitor should come with an instruction manual which supplies this information as well. One of the best things a diabetic can do is exercise and eat properly. Not only does exercise help to keep your body in good condition on the outside but it helps on the inside as well. However, if you are a diabetic do not do anything involving weight training. Studies suggest that this can affect your blood glucose level by increasing it.

If you wish to learn more about diabetes look up the American Diabetes Association online.

Home Remedies for Diabetes

Any successful method for treatment of diabetes should aim at removal of the actual cause of the disease and building up of the whole health-level of the patient. Diet plays a vital role in such a treatment. The primary dietary consideration for a diabetes patient is that he should be a strict lacto-vegetarian and take a low-calorie, low-fat, alkaline diet of high quality natural foods. Fruits, nuts and vegetables, whole meal bread and dairy products form a good diet of the diabetic. These foods should be eaten in as dry a condition as possible to ensure thorough ensalivation during the first part of the process of digestion.

Cooked starchy foods should be avoided as in the process of cooking the cellulose envelopes of the starch granules burst and consequently, the starch is far too easily absorbed in the system. The excess absorbed has to be got rid of by the kidneys and appears as sugar in the urine. With raw starchy foods, however, the saliva and digestive juices in the small intestine regulate the quantities required to be changed into sugar for the body's needs. The unused and undigested portion of raw starchy foods does not become injurious to the system, as it does not readily ferment.

The diabetic should not be afraid to eat fresh fruits and vegetables which contain sugar and starch. Fresh fruits contain sugar fructose, which does not need insulin for its metabolism and is well tolerated by diabetics. Fats and oils should be taken sparingly, for they are apt to lower the tolerance for proteins and starches. Emphasis should be on raw foods as they stimulate and increase insulin production. For protein, homemade cottage cheese, various forms of soured milk and nuts are best. The patient should avoid tea, coffee, cocoa, white flour, sugar and all the products from them, tinned fruits, refined cereals and alcoholic drinks. He should also avoid overeating and take four or five small meals a day rather than three large ones.

Among the several home remedies that have proved beneficial in controlling diabetes, perhaps the most important is the use of bitter gourd Recent research by a team of British doctors have established that bitter gourd contains a hypoglycaemic or insulin-like principle, designated as. 'plantinsulin', which has been found valuable in lowering the blood and urine sugar levels. It should, therefore, be included liberally in the diet of the diabetic. For better results, the diabetic should take the juice of about four or five fruits every morning on an empty stomach. The seeds of bitter gourd can be added to food in a powdered form. Diabetics can also use bitter gourd in the form of decoction by boiling the pieces in water or in the form of dry powder.

The tender leaves of the mango tree are considered useful in diabetes. An infusion is prepared from fresh leaves by soaking them overnight and squeezing them well in water in the morning. This filtrate should be taken every morning to control early diabetes. In the alternative, the leaves should be dried in the shade, powdered and preserved for use when necessary. Half a teaspoon of this powder should be taken twice a day.

Besides bitter gourd, certain other vegetables have been found useful in diabetes. These include string beans, cucumbers, onion and garlic. String bean pod tea is an excellent natural substitute for insulin and valuable . in diabetes. Cucumbers contain a hormone needed by the cells of the pancreas for producing insulin. Onions and garlic have proved beneficial in reducing blood sugar in diabetes.

The diabetic patient should eliminate minor worries from his daily life. He must endeavor to be more easy-going and should not get unduly worked up by the stress and strain of life.

Home Remedies for Glaucoma

The modem medical treatment for glaucoma is through surgery which relieves the internal pressure in the eye due to excess fluid. This, however, does not remove the cause of the presence of the excess fluid. Consequently, even after the operation, there is no guarantee whatsoever that the trouble will not recur, or that it will not affect the other eye. The natural treatment for glaucoma is the same as that for any other condition associated with high toxicity and is directed towards preserving whatever sight remains. If treated in the early stages, the results are encouraging. Though cases of advanced glaucoma may be uncurable, certain nutritional and other biological approaches can prove effective in controlling the condition and preserving the remaining sight.

Certain foodstuffs should be scrupulously avoided by patients suffering from glaucoma. Coffee in particular should be completely avoided because of its high caffeine content. Caffeine causes stimulation of vasoconstrictors, elevating blood pressure and increasing blood to the eye. Beer and tobacco, which can cause constriction of blood vessels, should also be avoided. Tea should be taken only in moderation. The patient should not take excessive fluids, whether it is juice, milk or water at any time. He may drink small amounts several times with at least one-hour intervals.

The diet of the patient suffering from glaucoma should consist of seeds, nuts and grains, vegetables and fruit, with emphasis on raw Vitamin C-rich foods, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Certain nutrients have been found helpful in the treatment of glaucoma. It has been found that the glaucoma patients are usually deficient in Vitamin A, B, C, protein, calcium and other minerals. Nutrients such as calcium and B­ complex help relieve the intraocular condition. Many practioners believe that intraocular pressure in glaucoma can be lowered by the Vitamin C therapy. Dr. Michele Virno and his colleagues reported recently at a meeting of the Roman Ophthalmological Society in Rome, Italy, that the average person weighing 150 pounds who is given 7000 mg. of ascorbic acid five times daily, acquired acceptable intraocular pressure within 45 days. Symptoms such as mild stomach discomfort and diarrhoea from large doses of Vitamin C were temporary and soon disappeared. It has also been suggested that some calcium should always be taken with each dose of ascorbic acid to minimise side effects of the large dose.

The patient should avoid emotional stress and cultivate a tranquil, restful lifestyle. He should also avoid prolonged straining of the eye such as occurs during excessive T.V. or movie watching and excessive reading. The use of sunglasses should be avoided.

Early Symptoms of Diabetes

Although there are three different kinds of diabetes, the first set of symptoms to be experienced are typically those of hyperglycaemia, or an excess in blood sugar (glucose), and this is the first indicator something isn't quite right.

The symptoms of hyperglycaemia may include blurred vision, fatigue, increased thirst and appetite and increased urination.

In a Type 1 diabetic, the onset of hyperglycaemia can be fairly abrupt due to fact the pancreas isn't producing any insulin at all, or nearly no insulin at all. This means there is absolutely no outlet for the glucose, as the levels just build and build rapidly. Type 1 diabetes is extremely dangerous and can result in death. It used to be known as Juvenile Diabetes, as it usually only affects the young, and any symptoms shouldn't be ignored and doctors should be consulted immediately as a matter of urgency.

For Type 2 diabetics, hyperglycaemia may take a long time to develop to the point the symptoms can be felt and noticed. Many people go through their entire lives unaware they have Type 2 diabetes, and take many of the symptoms as simply being signs of aging, especially since Type 2 Diabetes typically affects the middle aged adults onwards, hence its former name Adult Diabetes. In fairly recent years, due to the amount of children developing Type 2 Diabetes due to poor diets and obesity (the prime causes of Type 2 Diabetes), the name simply became Type 2 Diabetes.

As the symptoms of hyperglycaemia in Type 2 Diabetes can be extremely subtle, many people are completely unaware they have diabetes at all. Type 2 Diabetes is caused by one of two factors, the first factor being a lack of insulin production within the pancreas, the second being a condition known as 'insulin resistance'. This is where the body begins to reject admission of the insulin, which carries the glucose. Therefore, a person's body not only becomes starved of glucose as a fuel, but begins accumulating the glucose in the blood, which now has no outlet. The body may attempt to flush some of the glucose out of the body via urine.

Gestational Diabetes may perhaps be the most difficult form of diabetes to detect as the symptoms are so similar to a regular pregnancy it can be almost impossible to differentiate. For example, fatigue, increased appetite and thirst, and increased urination.

Gestational Diabetes is usually a temporary form of diabetes which disappears soon after the pregnancy, although it may leave the mother and child susceptible to developing permanent Type 2 Diabetes in the future.

Another worry concerning Gestational Diabetes is the damage it can do to the baby, which may be respiratory or cardiac problems, stillborn or death soon after birth. Untreated Gestational Diabetes can also be a contributing factor in later health problems as the baby reaches adulthood such as chronic obesity.

If you think you have even slightly felt any of the aforementioned symptoms of hyperglycaemia, it is highly important you see your G. P. as soon as possible. Diabetes isn't a disorder you want to second guess yourself, as it can be fatal, particularly in the case of Type 1 Diabetes.

Although diabetes can be an extremely dangerous disorder, upon diagnosis it is extremely treatable. The most important things for a diabetic to do are to take any prescribed medication and monitor blood sugar levels regularly. If you have been advised by your doctor to take with you an emergency insulin / glucose kit, you should do so at all times, as it may be fatal not to. The other factors include plenty of exercise to help regulate glucose levels, and a healthy balanced diet.

The Basics of Diabetes

In simple terms diabetes is the inability of the body to process sugars properly. When we eat or drink our pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin is released into the blood and helps to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Diabetes is a condition where this process does not function correctly. This is due to either:

  • No insulin being produced, often called Type 1 diabetes, and requires the sufferer to use insulin injections, or...
  • Insulin is produced but the body becomes resistant to it. This renders the insulin ineffective. This is normally called Type 2 diabetes and is rapidly becoming more common.

Latest research shows that 2 in every 100 people have diabetes. Alarmingly half of these people do not even know they have it. Many people have diabetes without being aware of it because someone with diabetes looks no different from anyone else.

Someone can have diabetes for months or even years without realizing they have the condition. The danger is that while diabetes is not immediately life threatening the long term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to one's health. Uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged high blood sugar levels can, in later life, cause problems to many organs including the kidneys, eyes, nerves and the heart. This may sound grim, however controlling blood sugar by a combination of medicine, diet and exercise will vastly reduce the long term complications.

The simplest way to check if you have diabetes is to arrange a blood sugar check with your doctor. A tiny sample of blood, obtained by pricking a finger is checked using a small electronic tester. A normal blood sugar level is generally between 72 - 126 mg/dl or 4 - 7 mmol/l (1 mmol/l = 18mg/dl). Diabetes is diagnosed when the body is unable to keep the blood sugar level within these limits. The unit of measurement used (mmol/l or mg/dl) will depend on which country you live in.

Diagnosis of diabetes can occur out of the blue during a routine check-up but more often it follows from the sufferer experiencing the "symptoms" of diabetes. These symptoms can be many or few, mild or severe depending on the individual.

The symptoms are:

Nothing at all; No this is not a typo. It is true many people do indeed feel no different and are astonished to discover they have diabetes. However even if you feel fine you must take your diabetes seriously and act on the doctor's advice.

Thirst (polydipsia); This is a very common symptom. Often it seems no matter how much you drink your mouth still feels as dry as Death Valley. The problem is compounded before diabetes is diagnosed by sufferers drinking copious amounts of... sugary drinks! Of course this only increases the blood sugar level and leads to increased thirst.

Increased urination (polyuria); Another very common symptom. Sufferers need to urinate often and pass large volumes each time. In addition this symptom takes no account of time so sleep is constantly disturbed by having to visit the bathroom during the night. It is a mistake to think this is caused by the increased thirst and drinking more. The opposite is true. High sugar levels in the blood spill over into the urine making it syrupy. To counter-act this water is drawn from the body causing dehydration and therefore thirst.

Weight loss; glucose is the form of sugar which is the body's main fuel. Diabetics cannot process this properly so it passes into the urine and out of the body. Less fuel means the body's reserve tissues are broken down to produce energy with a resultant loss in weight.

Other symptoms include constipation, tiredness, lack of energy, tingling or pins and needles in the hands and feet, blurred vision and increased infections.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms it does not necessarily follow that you are diabetic however it might be advisable to visit your doctor to be sure.

If it does transpire that you have diabetes please do not panic. It can come as a shock and it will mean some changes in your life. While (currently) incurable it can be treated so the long term complications are reduced or even eliminated. As a result you may actually increase your health and life expectancy compared to previously when you were taking no care of your body whatsoever. It requires discipline and self-control however there is no reason why anyone with diabetes cannot live a full and perfectly normal life.

The Different Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a biological disorder in which a person's blood sugar (glucose) levels aren't been regulated as they should be. Glucose is our bodies' main energy source, and our brain and nervous system rely completely on glucose to function. Our bodies' natural blood sugar regulator is the pancreas, which carries out the task by producing insulin which ushers glucose into the needed parts of the body, such as the brain, muscles, and other organs. In the three different kinds of diabetes, this task isn't being carried out properly, and we'll examine each kind of diabetes, explain why this is so, and also expose the risks each form of diabetes presents.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes used to be known as 'Juvenile Diabetes' because of its tendency to strike a person in their childhood up to their early adulthood. It is also sometimes known as 'Insulin Dependant Diabetes', as a person with this condition is reliant upon insulin injections to survive.

It is the most serious form of diabetes and the least common. The cause for Type 1 Diabetes is usually pancreatic failure due to what is known as an 'autoimmune' malfunction. Autoimmunity is where our immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells or tissues within the body much in the same way as it would a viral infection. Although the exact reasons for this malfunction aren't known, it does occur. In the case of Type 1 Diabetes, it is the insulin producing pancreatic cells which have incurred the wrath of the immune system, which attack until the pancreas is left permanently damaged, and incapable of producing any insulin, or hardly any insulin.

As a person with Type 1 Diabetes doesn't produce any insulin, their quota of insulin they inject is absolute. In other words, should their blood sugar levels rise, their pancreas is absolutely incapable of making any insulin to compensate for the shortfall. This can mean a person can find themselves becoming hyperglycaemic in a very short space of time. Hyperglycaemia is an excess of blood sugar, and the immediate symptoms can be increased thirst, hunger and tiredness as well as increased urination, blurred vision, nausea and possibly even vomiting. Other symptoms of hyperglycaemia which can develop are irritation of the genitals and yeast infections.

Another risk for those who have Type 1 Diabetes is the possibility of becoming the opposite of hyperglycaemic, which is hypoglycaemic. This is where there is a shortage of blood sugar, and the symptoms can be tiredness, confusion, dizziness, anxiety, and fever-like symptoms. Hyperglycaemia takes hold very quickly, and if the blood sugar isn't raised quickly, a person can end up unconscious, in a coma or even die in a very short space of time.

To counter these two extremes, a person with Type 1 Diabetes is usually advised to carry with them an emergency kit containing insulin injections and glucose injections or another ready-supply of glucose such as Lucozade energy sweets, which upon consumption raise blood sugar levels within minutes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes used to be known as 'Adult Onset Diabetes', as when the term was given, it was thought only adults developed this form of diabetes. This has proven to be false as a soaring number of children throughout the world now develop this type of diabetes each year. Modern day living where too much bad food is consumed, not enough exercise is taken and childhood obesity is largely to blame for this.

The prime cause for Type 2 Diabetes isn't the failure of the pancreas, but more due to obesity and poor diets and unhealthy lifestyles. When a person overloads their body with sugar, as many obese people have done for years, this means persistent blood sugar levels, and the insulin and pancreas can struggle to deal with the sugar. The insulin ushers the sugar into the muscles, but the muscles don't burn the glucose off because no exercise is taken. The result is an accumulation of blood sugar for prolonged periods of time. This can lead to a condition called 'Insulin Resistance', which is the prime cause of Type 2 Diabetes. When a person becomes insulin resistant, their muscles and other would-be outlets for the glucose begin to resist entry to the insulin, therefore the glucose isn't delivered. This, over a period of time, results in a person experiencing symptoms of hyperglycaemia. A person with Type 2 Diabetes usually doesn't have to take medication, but is advised to take more exercise and stick to a healthy diet to help to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Most people who adhere to this advice can live their lives normally without medication or symptoms affecting them. In some cases of Type 2 Diabetes, a medication may be prescribed.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes which affects roughly 2-3% of women during pregnancy, and usually alleviates soon after. This can be an extremely tricky form of diabetes to spot, as many symptoms are inline with those of a regular pregnancy, such as tiredness, blurred vision, increased appetite and thirst and increased urination.

It is, however, a very serious form of diabetes which if not picked up on can have severely damaging effects upon your baby, which may leave the baby with stillborn or dead soon after birth. This is a terrible consequence to pay for any person, so vigilance is imperative. If in doubt, you must consult you G. P. as soon as possible so you can seek advice and get any necessary medication. Gestational diabetes may also leave a child and mother with higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes further down the line, as well as a heightened risk of been an obese adult for the child.