Physicians usually refer to diabetes by its full, medical name diabetes mellitus. According to the Merck Manual of Medical Information, 2nd Edition, diabetes mellitus is defined as "a disorder in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are abnormally high because the body does not produce enough insulin." Insulin is a hormone that's released from the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood.
If the body doesn't produce enough insulin to move sugar into receptive cells, the result is a very high levels of sugar in the blood, and not enough sugar in cells. This state is what produces the symptoms and complications of diabetes mellitus.
There are two types of diabetes:
Type One refers to the juvenile or early onset, insulin-dependent form of diabetes. This is not an obesity-related form of diabetes. People who develop this form do so before age 30; only 10% of all diabetics have type one.
Type Two usually develops between age 30 and age 70. Obesity is the chief risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and 80% - 90% of people who have this disease are obese. Obesity causes insulin resistance, so obese diabetics need very large amounts of daily insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Diabetes mellitus, type 2, causes serious, even fatal, conditions.
If you're obese and have any of these symptoms, see your health care provider as soon as possible:
- Excessive thirst, excessive urination, and excessive appetite.
- Blurred vision
- Excessive drowsiness and chronic fatigue
- Decreased endurance during exercise
- Rapid, unexplained weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Deep, rapid breathing
- Breath that smells like nail polish remover - This is a symptom of ketoacidosis, and can result in coma and death within hours if not immediately treated.
By now, it's obvious that diabetes is an extremely dangerous disease. It's also obvious that since obesity can be prevented by proper diet and exercise, diabetes can be prevented among people who have the early-onset type.
Obesity isn't about how you look in a bathing suit; it's about your life, and how you live it.
Remember to consult your health care provider about establishing a reasonable, healthy weight loss plan!
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Diabetes is a preventable disease!