What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is the Fastest Growing Disease in the World Today!

A global epidemic

An estimated 285 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes. With a further 7 million people developing diabetes each year, this number is expected to hit 438 million by 2030.

The costs of diabetes

The personal costs of diabetes may include a reduced quality of life and the increased likelihood of complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and erectile dysfunction.

Approximately 80% of people with diabetes will die as a result of heart disease or stroke. Diabetes is a contributing factor in the deaths of approximately 41,500 Canadians each year. Canadian adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die prematurely, compared to people without diabetes. Life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes may be shortened by as much as 15 years. Life expectancy for people with type 2 diabetes may be shortened by 5 to 10 years.

Types Of Diabetes

In the simplest terms . . . diabetes mellitus (commonly referred to as just

"diabetes") is a blood sugar disease . . . a disease in which the body either does not produce or does not properly utilize insulin.

Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Because diabetics have a problem with insulin, their body's can't use glucose (blood sugar) for energy, which results in elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) and the eventual urination of sugar out of their bodies. As a result . . . diabetics can literally starve themselves to death.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 ("insulin-dependent" and previously called "juvenile diabetes"). Type 1 diabetes is associated with a malfunctioning pancreas which does not produce adequate amounts of insulin. It develops most often in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is traditionally treated with insulin.

Type 2 ("noninsulin-dependent" or sometomes called "adult-onset diabetes"). Type 2 diabetes is associated with insulin resistant cells. It is much more common and usually develops in older adults. Type 2 diabetes is now being found at younger ages and is even being diagnosed among children and teens.

Gestational (pregnancy-related). Some women develop diabetes during pregnancy usually toward the end of pregnancy. It effects approximately 3 to 5 percent of all pregnant women. Although it goes away after pregnancy, these women have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

Complications Of Diabetes

The most important health impacts of diabetes are the long-term complications it can cause. Most of these long-term complications are related to the adverse effects diabetes has on arteries and nerves.

Complications related to artery damage

Diabetes causes damage to both large and small arteries. This artery damage results in medical problems that are both common and serious:

Cardiovascular disease. Diabetics have up to a 400% greater chance of heart attack or stroke. Heart disease and stroke cause about 65% of deaths among people with diabetes.These deaths could be reduced by 30% with improved care to control blood pressure and blood glucose and lipid levels.

Amputations. About 82,000 people have diabetes-related leg and foot amputations each year. Over 60% of non-traumatic lower limb amputations are diabetes related. Foot care programs that include regular examinations and patient education could prevent up to 85% of these amputations.

Kidney disease. About 38,000 people with diabetes develop kidney failure each year. Treatment to better control blood pressure and blood glucose levels could reduce diabetes-related kidney failure by about 50%.

Eye disease and blindness. Each year, 12,000-24,000 people become blind because of diabetic eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20-74 years old. Screening and care could prevent up to 90% of diabetes-related blindness.

Sexual Dysfunction. Approximately 70% of all adult males with diabetes currently suffer or will experience sexual dysfunction or impotence.

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