Diabetes 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). A 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. Works Cited McHenry, Robert. Diabetes Mellitus.
Encyclopedia Brittannica. 1993 ed. Aaseng, Nathan. Autoimmune Diseases. New York, New York: Franklin Watt, Co. 1995.
Long, Barbera, Wilma Phipps, Virginia Cassmeyer. Medical Surgical Nursing. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby, 1993. Diabetes 1997.
http:/www.diabetes.org/ada/c20b.csp. (16 December 1998) Diabetes, Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. 1972.