occurs when the pancreas either cannot or has trouble making enough insulin to
control the sugar a person receives from their food. (Bete, Co. 1972) Diabetes
Mellitus is broken down into two groups: Juvenile (Type One), and Adult (Type
Two) (McHenry, 1993). Type One diabetics are insulin dependant. People under
forty years of age are more prone to this type.
They have low serum insulin
levels and it more often affects small blood vessels in eyes and kidneys. Type
Two diabetics are non-insulin dependant. This type is prone to people over forty
years of age. They have low, normal or high serum insulin levels. It most often
affects large blood vessels and nerves (Long, 1993). Type One diabetes was one
of the earliest diseases to be documented by historians.
Once called "honey
urine" and the "Persian fire". The name diabetes was conceived by
the Greek physician Arteus almost eighteen hundred years ago. The disease
remained a mystery until 1700 when an English doctor demonstrated that a
diabetics blood was abnormally high in sugar (Aaseng, 1995). Thus, bringing
to the conclusion that diabetics are unable to use blood sugar as other persons
bodies do (McHenry, 1993). With this fact, a young doctor named Fredrick Banting
and a biochemist, Charles Best, were lead to the discovery of manufacturing
insulin, the hormone for which is the key to blood sugar processing. Many
diabetics lives have been saved because of this discovery (Aaseng, 1995).
person is at risk of this disorder if they have diabetic relatives, are over the
age of forty years, are over-weight, and if they are of certain racial or ethnic
groups. Women with gestational diabetes who give birth to a baby that weighs
more than nine pounds are also at good risk of conducting this disease (Long,
1993). Higher numbers of diabetics occur more in Caucasian people than other
races, and the highest incidents of Type One diabetes in the world are found in
people residing in Scandinavian countries (Aaseng, 1995). Some signs and
symptoms of this disorder are: an increased thirst and appetite, frequent
urination, fatigue or anxiety, sickness of the stomach, loss of weight, skin
infections, blurred vision, or numbness to feet and hands. Blood, urine, or
supplementary tests can be done to determine whether a person is diabetic. Once
diagnosed, the patient can be treated by making changes in their diet,
exercising regularly, injecting themselves with insulin, or taking oral
medications (Diabetes, 1997).
Type Two may be treated by only maintaining a
healthy diet and exercising regularly (Long, 1993). There is no known cure for
type one diabetes, only treatments. Since Bantings and Bests discovery,
insulin injections have been the primary treatment. A decade long study
completed in 1993 by the National Institute of Health (NIH) found that more
frequent shots may help infected people live longer and stay healthier (Aaseng,
1955). Presently, curing and prevention measures are being studied to treat Type
One diabetes and hopefully science will produce better treatments and medicines
to combat the disease (Long, 1993). Diabetes, no matter what kind or form, is a
very serious disease.
If it is overlooked it could lead to complications such as
kidney disease, gangrene, blindness, and heart attacks. If a person suffers from
any of the symptoms they should consult a physician or a dietician. In the end,
life is not over after having been diagnosed with diabetes. Over the last
century, the treatments have gotten stronger and in the future they will grow
even better. Through simple measures one could live out their full life while
being a diabetic patient.
"Diabetes Mellitus Essay." Encyclopedia Brittannica.
1993 ed. Aaseng, Nathan. Autoimmune Diseases. New York, New York: Franklin Watt,
1995. Long, Barbera, Wilma Phipps, Virginia Cassmeyer. Medical Surgical
Nursing. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby, 1993. "Diabetes" 1997.
(16 December 1998) Diabetes, Channing L. Bete Co.
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