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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes can strike anyone, from any walk of life.

And it does – in numbers that are dramatically increasing. In the last decade, the cases of people living with diabetes jumped almost 50 percent – to more than 29 million Americans.  

Worldwide, it afflicts more than 380 million people.  And the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030, that number of people living with diabetes will more than double.  

Today, diabetes takes more lives than AIDS and breast cancer combined -- claiming the life of 1 American every 3 minutesIt is a leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart failure and stroke. 

Living with diabetes places an enormous emotional, physical and financial burden on the entire family. Annually, diabetes costs the American public more than $245 billion. 

Just what is diabetes?  

To answer that, you first need to understand the role of insulin in your body.  

When you eat, your body turns food into sugars, or glucose. At that point, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin.  

Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter -- and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  

But with diabetes, this system does not work.  

Several major things can go wrong – causing the onset of diabetes.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the most common forms of the disease, but there are also other kinds, such as gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy, as well as other forms.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

The more severe form of diabetes is type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It’s sometimes called “juvenile” diabetes, because type 1 diabetes usually develops in children and teenagers, though it can develop at any age.  

Immune System Attacks

With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as "autoimmune" disease.

These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.

Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter -- and allow you to use the glucose for energy.  

Without insulin, there is no “key.”   So, the sugar stays -- and builds up-- in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.  

And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death. 

Insulin Therapy

So, a person with type 1 treats the disease by taking insulin injections.

This outside source of insulin now serves as the “key” -- bringing glucose to the body’s cells. 

The challenge with this treatment is that it’s often not possible to know precisely how much insulin to take. The amount is based on many factors, including:

FoodExerciseStressEmotions and general health Balancing Act 

These factors fluctuate greatly throughout every day. So, deciding on what dose of insulin to take is a complicated balancing act.  

If you take too much, then your body burns too much glucose -- and your blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is a condition called hypoglycemia, which, if untreated, can be potentially life-threatening.  

If you take too little insulin, your body can again be starved of the energy it needs, and your blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level -- a condition called hyperglycemia. This also increases the chance of long-term complications.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

The most common form of diabetes is called type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes.

This is also called “adult onset” diabetes, since it typically develops after age 35. However, a growing number of younger people are now developing type 2 diabetes.  

People with type 2 are able to produce some of their own insulin. Often, it’s not enough. And sometimes, the insulin will try to serve as the “key” to open the body’s cells, to allow the glucose to enter. But the key won’t work. The cells won’t open. This is called insulin resistance.  

Often, type 2 is tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle.  

Treatment focuses on diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels are still high, oral medications are used to help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary.

 

Effect of Nigella sativa seeds on the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ABSTRACT

Diabetes mellitus is a common chronic disease affecting millions of people world wide. Standard treatment is failing to achieve required correction of blood glucose in many patients. Therefore, there is a need for investigating potential hypoglycemic drugs or herbs to improve glycemic control in diabetic patients. Nigella sativa seeds were used as an adjuvant therapy in patients with diabetes mellitus type 2 added to their anti-diabetic medications. A total of 94 patient were recruited and divided randomly into three dose groups. Capsules containing Nigella sativa were administered orally in a dose of 1, 2 and 3 gm/day for three months. The effect of Nigella sativa on the glycemic control was assessed through measurement of fasting blood glucose (FBG), blood glucose level 2 hours postprandially (2 hPG), and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c). Serum C-peptide and changes in body weight were also measured. Insulin resistance and beta-cell function were calculated usin the homeostatic model assessment (HOMA2). Nigella sativa at a dose of 2 gm/day caused significant reductions in FBG, 2hPG, and HbA1 without significant change in body weight. Fasting blood glucose was reduced by an average of 45, 62 and 56 mg/dl at 4, 8 and 12 weeks respectively. HbAlC was reduced by 1.52% at the end of the 12 weeks of treatment (P<0.0001). Insulin resistance calculated by HOMA2 was reduced significantly (P<0.01), while B-cell function was increased (P<0.02) at 12 weeks of treatment. The use of Nigella sativa in a dose of 1 gm/day also showed trends in improvement in all the measured parameters but it was not statistically significant from the baseline. However, no further increment in the beneficial response was observed with the 3 gm/day dose. The three doses of Nigella sativa used in the study did not adversely affect either renal functions or hepatic functions of the diabetic patients throughout the study period.

IN CONCLUSION:

The results of this study indicate that a dose of 2 gm/ day of Nigella sativa might be a beneficial adjuvant to oral hypoglycemic agents in type 2 diabetic patients.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675032

Diabetes Fact Sheet

Video Source Credit: Diabetes UK - diabetes.org.uk

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet

(released Jan. 26, 2011)

Total prevalence of diabetes

Total: 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.

Diagnosed: 18.8 million people

Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people

Prediabetes: 79 million people*

New Cases: 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.

* In contrast to the 2007 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, which used fasting glucose data to estimate undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes, the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet uses both fasting glucose and A1C levels to derive estimates for undiagnosed diabetes and prediabetes. These tests were chosen because they are most frequently used in clinical practice.

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