******REMINDER******The information contained in the Rare Disease Database is providedfor educational purposes only. It should not be used for diagnostic ortreatment purposes. If you wish to obtain more information about thisdisorder, please contact your personal physician and/or the agencieslisted in the “Resources” section of this report. Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Essay is a disorder in which the body does notproduce enough insulin and is, therefore, unable to convert nutrientsinto the energy necessary for daily activity. The disorder affectsfemales and males approximately equally. Although the causes ofinsulin-dependent diabetes are not known, genetic factors seem to play arole.
Symptomatology——————————– Normally, sugars and starches (carbohydrates) in the foods we eat areprocessed by digestive juices into glucose. Glucose circulates inthe blood as a major energy source for body functions. Its use isregulated primarily by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas gland(located behind the stomach). In the person with diabetes, there isa malfunction in the production of insulin. There are two main typesof diabetes: Type I or Insulin-Dependent and Type II orNoninsulin-Dependent. The insulin-dependent type of diabetes generally has onset duringchildhood or adolescence, though it can occur at any age.
Becausethe pancreas supplies little or no insulin in this disease, dailyinjections of the hormone and a controlled diet are necessary toregulate blood sugar levels. Insulin is generally effective inpreventing glucose buildup, but it is a treatment and not a cure fordiabetes. The onset of Insulin-Dependent Diabetes begins with frequenturination, extreme thirst, constant hunger, and unexplained weightloss. Because people with Type I Diabetes lack sufficientinsulin, glucose accumulates in the blood to levels too high for thekidneys to excrete. In an effort to remove the excess sugar, the kidneysexcrete large amounts of water as well as essential body elementsresulting in frequent urination, thirst, and weakness.
Hunger andfatigue are caused by the body’s inability to utilize foods properlyfor nourishment and energy. To find alternate sources of energy, thebody turns to its stores of fat and protein, causing weight loss andthe accumulation of fat breakdown products (acetone and relatedacids) in the blood. These metabolites of fat produce increased acidityof the blood, and a potentially fatal condition (ketoacidosis) canresult if treatment is not prompt. A child with Type I Diabetes may also fail to grow and developnormally. Diabetics of all ages may experience itching of the skin,changes in vision, and slow healing of cuts and bruises. Medicalattention should be sought if any of these symptoms occur.
The diabetic condition can result in certain long-termcomplications which may involve many organs of the body. The bloodvessels, nervous system, kidneys and eyes are particularly affected. While successful control of blood glucose levels may reduce the risk ofcomplications, the exact relationship between these factors is notfully understood. Studies are being conducted to determine whetherstrict blood glucose control plays a significant role in preventing ordelaying the onset of complications resulting from diabetes. 1.
Cardiovascular Complications. Heart and blood vessel diseases such as heart attack, hardening ofthe arteries (arteriosclerosis), and stroke are the leading causes ofillness, disability and death among diabetics. Persons withdiabetes are twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart diseaseand stroke and five times as likely to suffer from arterial disease ofthe limbs than the non-diabetic population. Exactly how diabetesdamages the cardiovascular system is not yet clear. 2.
Diabetic Nephropathy (Kidney Disease). Kidney (renal) disease, or diabetic nephropathy, can be a seriouscomplication of diabetes. Normally, the kidneys cleanseimpurities from the blood, but diabetes can cause damage to the bloodvessels in the kidney and interfere with this vital process. Aprocedure called hemodialysis is frequently used to remove wasteproducts from the blood when the kidneys can no longer perform thisfunction adequately.
Diabetics with serious renal disease may also becandidates for a kidney transplant if a suitable donor organ isavailable. 3. Diabetic Neuropathy (damage to the nerves). Diabetes can also cause a complication called Diabetic Neuropathy whichis damage to the peripheral nerves.
These nerves run throughout thebody, connecting the spinal cord to muscles, skin, blood vessels, and allother organs. Most importantly, they serve as the primary link betweenthe central nervous system and the entire body. Diabetes is a commoncause of peripheral neuropathy; however, this condition can also resultfrom injury, alcoholism, or other factors. Almost all people withdiabetes eventually develop some peripheral nerve involvement, but formany, it is slight and produces no symptoms. For the