Diabetes Essay Mellitus is a serious disease shared by 16 million Americans (PharmInfoNet1). It is a disease characterized by a failure of the pancreas to produce enough if any insulin. Insulin is the chemical in the body that turns sugar into usable energy. “While it is treatable, diabetes is still a killer. The fourth leading cause of death in America, diabetes claims an estimated 178,000 lives each year.
So the treatment is aimed at holding the disease in check, reversing it where possible, and preventing complications” (Hingley 33). Due to the life threatening nature of diabetes, the necessity of controlling it is absolutely imperative. Philip Cryer, M.D., president of the American Diabetes Association and a professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, believes that people don’t understand how much of a problem diabetes can be.Order now
He says, “Diabetes is an increasingly common, potentially devastating, treatable yet incurable, lifelong disease. It’s the leading cause of blindness in working aged adults, the most common cause of kidney failure leading to dialysis or transplants, and is the leading cause of amputations” (Hingley 33).
For decades since its discovery in 1920, injectable insulin has been the standard treatment for diabetes. In fact, it is the only treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes. And the standard method of administering it has remained injection with a syringe. But in recent years, there have been enormous advances made in the development of new and better ways to administer insulin.
By far the best, most effective way to administer insulin that exists today – the way that most closely mimics the way the human body releases insulin into the bloodstream – is no longer through injection with a syringe, but rather, through the insulin pump.
To understand diabetes, it is important to first understand how a non-diabetic body functions to process the normal presence of glucose in the bloodstream. Everything a person consumes is converted to glucose, at different rates depending on exactly what was consumed, and ultimately deposited into the bloodstream. There it circulates, waiting to be called to action. When the body perceives that energy is running low, glucose in the bloodstream is ushered into the various cells of the body where it is converted into energy as needed. The pancreas, a large gland found in the abdomen, contains Beta cells that create insulin.
The job of insulin is to regulate the amount of glucose in the blood at any given time. It does this by allowing glucose in the bloodstream to enter the cells of the body as needed for energy. Insulin holds the key that unlocks the cell door. Without it, the cell door stays closed and glucose cannot enter. At this point, the cells of the body cannot produce the energy required to function properly and they literally starve to death (American Diabetes Association). Glucose, having nowhere else to go, builds up in the bloodstream, increasing to dangerous levels.
There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is sometimes called juvenile diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes. With type I diabetes, the pancreas, for reasons unknown, ceases to produce insulin altogether. This usually occurs over the course of a week or two, leaving a person with no other choice but to inject insulin daily for the rest of their lives. Only ten percent of all diabetics have this type. Type II diabetes is far more prevalent.
Its onset is usually much more gradual, occurs later in life, and is most often the result of heredity. It is exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle and obesity. With type II diabetes, the pancreas does not stop producing insulin as it does in type I. Rather, insulin production might decrease or, more often, the body’s ability to utilize the insulin it does produce becomes severely diminished. In most cases, however, this situation can be improved and often controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication. Those with type II diabetes have considerably more opportunity to govern the course of treatment required to manage their condition than do those with type I.
Where insulin injections are a last resort for type II diabetics, they are a life sustaining necessity for those with type I diabetes right from the very day .