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Diabetes: Causes and Effects of Disease

Diabetes is a common disease that is found in all parts of the world. Its defining feature is the accumulation of excessive sugar {glucose} in the bloodstream. There are 2 kinds of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. At present, approximately 23 million people suffer from diabetes in the United States (The Hormone Foundation). More than one cause can be attributed to diabetes which affects the young and old differently, causing adverse effects to the body that can spiral into serious complications if neglected.

Estimated to be present in 5 to 10% of diabetics (The Hormone Foundation), Type 1 diabetes, which is also called juvenile-onset diabetes, victimizes children and teenagers (Kitabchi & Umpierrez). It is an autoimmune disease (WebMD. Inc) with a single cause, namely, the reaction of an antibody to substances that occur naturally in the body, making its victims genetically susceptible to it – a condition that can be exacerbated if the person suffers from viral infections or other hormonal defects like Addison’s disease or hypothyroidism (Kitabchi et al.). Estimated to be present in 90 to 95% of diabetics (The Hormone Foundation), Type 2 diabetes, which is also called adult-onset diabetes, victimizes older people. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 occurs due to multiple genetic and environmental causes. The former includes inheriting the disease from family members who either have Type 2 diabetes or have conditions {such as high blood pressure and obesity} that make them susceptible to it. The latter includes insufficient exercise and a diet rich in fat (Kitabchi et al.).

When a person gets diabetes, the pancreas is not able to generate sufficient insulin, or the body develops resistance to the function of insulin. The lack of sufficient insulin to transfer sugar from the bloodstream into the cells causes the blood sugar {glucose} content in the bloodstream to increase too much. As the level of blood glucose increases, extra glucose is transferred to urine which is excreted from the body before the body obtains the energy it requires daily (The Hormone Foundation).

Over time the capability of the pancreas to prepare insulin continues to erode. If this condition is neglected the disease becomes more malevolent, making the body react to the persistent sugar imbalance by incurring serious health complications (The Hormone Foundation). One such complication is retinopathy which makes the blood vessels in the eye initially swell and later leak blood, seriously damaging the retina and causing vision loss. The second complication occurs when the blood vessels in the kidney turn leaky thereby permitting blood protein to be passed out of the body, eventually causing the kidney to fail. The third complication is neuropathy wherein nerves in the feet are damaged resulting in numbness with lets foot injuries go unobserved and untreated. The last complication is blood vessel disease wherein the excessive blood glucose progressively harms blood vessels until blockages are taken place. Blocked blood vessels in the heart lead to heart attacks. In the legs, the blockage can lead to severe pain and irregular circulation, culminating in limb amputation (Adams).

Unlike most other diseases, diabetes tends to lull its victims into a false sense of complacency {causing them to neglect the initial adverse effects to the body} before suddenly attacking with serious complications. Ample testimony of this lies in the fact that nearly 20% {5 million} of the total diabetics in the United States have yet to be diagnosed with the disease. The only way to avoid serious complications is for diabetics to carefully manage their condition and monitor their treatment regularly while following the instructions of internal medicine physicians who specialize in diabetes treatment. If needed, diabetics can also seek medical help and advice from endocrinologists, eye specialists, dieticians, and foot specialists. At the end of it all, individuals suffering from diabetes must mandatorily realize that proper attention to their condition is the only way that will enable them to stay healthy (The Hormone Foundation).


Adams, Amy. “How Does Diabetes Affect My Body?” Genetic Health. 2001. Web.

“Diabetes Causes.” WebMD Inc. 2009. Web.

“Diabetes Overview.” The Hormone Foundation. 2009. Web.

Kitabchi, Abbas & Umpierrez, Guillermo. “Diabetes Symptoms.” The Hormone Foundation. 2009. Web.


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