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Diabetes is a medical disorder characterized by persistent hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels), resulting from the defective secretion or action of the hormone insulin.

The insulin is the principal hormone that regulates the uptake of glucose into most cells from the blood, primarily muscle and fat cells, but not central nervous system cells. This means that if there is enough insulin the sugar will enter the cells and be utilized as a fuel. When the level of insulin is too low, even if there is a lot of glucose in the circulation it will not enter cells and can’t be used as a fuel. Weight gain is common after starting insulin therapy, especially in men diabetics. Statistics show that nearly 9 out of 10 people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes are overweight.

Diabetes basics

There are several kinds of diabetes, and the most common are:

Diabetes mellitus type 1

It is also called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and is characterized by decreased or absent production of insulin. Type 1 diabetes almost always requires insulin injections, and is fatal without the proper treatment. It is considered to be an autoimmune disorder. The theory is that during the disease, body makes antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. No one really knows exactly what could be the cause because it is very complex and unclear, and may involve genetics, viruses, diet and environmental factors such as chemicals. It is important to know that people with type 1 diabetes must supply insulin by injection, pump or other methods.

Diabetes mellitus type 2

It is also called adult onset diabetes, obesity related diabetes, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus and it is characterized by body tissue resistance to insulin action, although in most cases-secretion of insulin is normal. It is important to know that type 2 is by far the most common form, especially in developed countries, and is caused by a decrease in the ability to signal via the insulin receptor. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed by dietary adjustments and monitoring, weight reduction, exercise, and oral medication.
 
There are several rare causes of diabetes mellitus that can't be classified as type 1, type 2:

  • Genetic defects in beta cells
  • Genetically-related insulin resistance
  • Diseases of the pancreas
  • Hormonal defects
  • Chemicals or drugs
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