People with Diabetes
Did you know? By following the advice of our lifestyle guide© many people have been able to revert Type 2 diabetes!
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.
There are 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people (or nearly one quarter) are unaware that they have the disease. The two types of Diabetes are
Type 1 diabetes
This results from the body's failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and recharge them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
This results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
The body’s aging process might seem, at first glance, to be unrelated to the disease we call ‘diabetes’. Nevertheless, there is a connection between diabetes and aging — if not in their ultimate causes, then at least in the biochemical disruptions resulting from these causes, and in the symptoms that are produced by them. Because of these similarities, both diabetes and aging respond to some of the same treatments.
Diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications and certain populations experience an even greater threat. Heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disorders, dental disease are all associated with diabetes.
Research done and progress so far
The prevention of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes requires different strategies, as they have quite different causes. Primary prevention efforts are focused on the reduction of obesity and physical inactivity, which are the known modifiable risk factors for Type 2 diabetes only. Secondary prevention involves early identification of diabetes through screening to prevent or delay the progression of the disease. Tertiary prevention is aimed at delaying or preventing the development of complications in people who already have diabetes. A landmark trial investigating people with Type 1 diabetes showed that good control can reduce the likelihood of complications leading to blindness or kidney disease, Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again.
New and more effective treatments have become available through research. New oral agents targeting the specific metabolic abnormalities of Type 2 diabetes are available. Patients are benefiting from improved forms of insulin, a range of oral medications to control blood sugar and reduce the need for insulin, and new drugs that may not only control blood sugar, but also strengthen the activity of patients’ own insulin-producing cells.
Kidney disease can be detected earlier by standardized blood tests to estimate renal function and monitor urine protein excretion. Therefore, patients can be treated earlier to slow the rate of kidney damage. Tight control of blood sugar has become a standard of treatment based on results from clinical trials demonstrating that tight control can prevent or delay the development of devastating complications.
Future holds promise
By finding all the genes and environmental factors (e.g., viruses, toxins, dietary factors) that contribute to diabetes, researchers will develop ways to safely prevent or reverse the destruction of insulin-producing cells. Methods for safely imaging the insulin-producing beta cells (insulin producing cells of the pancreas) will help scientists better understand the disease process and assess the benefits of treatments and preventions that are under study.