Monday, October 13, 2008

Diabetes is an increasingly common disease in the United States.  If not controlled, diabetes is associated with severe complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and amputation of the extremities.  Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this deadly disease in today’s 60 Second Housecall.

Diabetes occurs when blood sugar, or glucose, builds up in the blood stream.  The pancreas secretes insulin, which helps the sugar move out of the blood stream and into the cells of the body.

Early symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive urination, weight loss, fatigue and weakness.  Many people have no recognizable early symptoms.

There are two main types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.

• In type 1, or insulin dependent diabetes, the pancreas does not produce insulin.  This typically occurs in younger people and can start in childhood and requires insulin shots.

• In type 2 diabetes, also called non-insulin dependent diabetes, or adult onset diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin, but it is not effective. Patients with type 2 diabetes are typically older and may be more obese. They may be treated with pills or insulin or both.

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is steadily growing in children, likely secondary to obesity. The overall rate of new diabetes diagnoses is on the rise and reaching an epidemic level, but prevention and management of the disease is possible.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, I’m Dr. Edward Hill.