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It is a condition in which the body cannot regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. It affects approximately 26 million people and the 7th leading cause of death in the United States with total healthcare cost of $174 billion ( Symptoms include excessive drinking of water, eating and urinating. Others are unexplained weight loss, vomiting, dehydration, fatigue, poor wound healing and blurry vision.

Physical examination will reveal retinopathy showing retinal capillary aneurysms, increased vascular permeability, vascular occlusion and retinal ischemia. Management includes regular glucose monitoring, exercise, dieting, weight loss, lifestyle modification and medications. Complications that can arise are diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, diabetic coma, hypoglycemia, respiratory infections, nephropathy, neuropathy, retinopathy and amputations.

           There are two major types of diabetes. The causes and risk factors are different for each type:

  • Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, but it is most often diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown.

  • Type 2 diabetes makes up most diabetes cases. It most often occurs in adulthood. However, because of high obesity rates, teens and young adults are now being diagnosed with it. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it.


Causes, Incidence and Risk factors

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control blood sugar. Diabetes can be caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.

To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand the normal process by which food is broken down and used by the body for energy. Several things happen when food is digested:

  • A sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a source of fuel for the body
  • An organ called the pancreas makes insulin.  The role of insulin is to move glucose from the bloodstream into the muscle, fat and liver cells, where it can be used as fuel.



People with diabetes have high blood sugar because their body cannot move sugar into fat, liver, and muscle cells to be stored for energy. This is because either:
  • Their pancreas does not make enough insulin
  • Their cells do not respond to insulin normally
  • Both of the above




Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes.

Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Over 40 million Americans have pre-diabetes (which often comes before type 2 diabetes).


For more informationa and to view the Center for Disease Control's Report Card on Diabetes

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