Introduction: Diabetes


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Diabetes: Diabetes is a failure or reduction in the body's ability to handle sugar. It is a common disease with around 4% (or 8 million) Americans having diabetes. The single greatest problem with diabetes diagnosis is the failure to diagnose it, and the estimates of those who have the disease but are currently undiagnosed add another 4% or 8 million Americans. So only about half the people who currently have diabetes are diagnosed. Most people have Type 2 diabetes or "adult diabetes" rather than the insulin-requiring Type 1 diabetes which afflicts the young. This number does not even include those who currently have impaired glucose tolerance which is a milder precursor to Type 2 diabetes.

There are also various rare secondary types of diabetes caused by an underlying condition such as hemochromatosis, PCOS, or other conditions or medications.

Diabetes: Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism--the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. Most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body.

After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach.

When we eat, the pancreas is supposed to automatically produce the right amount of insulin to move glucose from blood into our cells. In people with diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose. 1

Researching symptoms of Diabetes: Further information about the symptoms of Diabetes is available including a list of symptoms of Diabetes, other diseases that might have similar symptoms in differential diagnosis of Diabetes, or alternatively return to research other symptoms in the symptom center.

Misdiagnosis and Diabetes: Research more detailed information about misdiagnosis of Diabetes, failure to diagnose Diabetes, underlying causes of Diabetes (possibly misdiagnosed), or research misdiagnosis of other diseases

Treatments for Diabetes: Various information is available about treatments available for Diabetes, prevention of Diabetes, current research about Diabetes treatments, or research treatments for other diseases.

Causes of Diabetes: Research more detailed information about the causes of Diabetes, other possibly hidden causes of Diabetes, or other general information about Diabetes.

Statistics and Diabetes: Various sources and calculations are available in statistics about Diabetes, prevalence and incidence statistics for Diabetes, and you can also research other medical statistics in our statistics center.

         Contents for Diabetes:

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Diabetes Overview: NIDDK

Last revision: April 10, 2003

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