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Diabetes Management

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Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin

is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed

for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics and

environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles.

There are multiple types of diabetes conditions. Type 1 diabetes results from the

pancreas' failure to produce insulin, the hormone that "unlocks" the cells of the body,

allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are

diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1diabetes. This figure is similar to incidences in

other developing and developed countries. Multiple daily injections of insulin are

typically required for Type 1 patients. In contrast, Type 2 diabetes results from insulin

resistance (a condition in which the pancreas is overworked and the body struggles to

properly use its available insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most

patients who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 patients are

treatable in some cases with just oral medications, and in others, with oral agents as well

as injectables. Another form of the disease is gestational diabetes, which can present

itself in women during pregnancy. Immediately after pregnancy, 5% to 10% of women

with gestational diabetes are found to actually have diabetes, usually, type 2. Another

form, pre-diabetes, is a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are

higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Many factors affect a patient's ability to manage their diabetes and regulate both the

"average" and "excursions" of blood glucose levels in the body. These include, but are

not limited to, the following:

* Amount, timing and frequency of food intake, with particular attention to

carbohydrates and fats

* Amount, timing and frequency of medication consumption against physicianrecommended




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