Diabetes is a group of disorders that can lead to...

  • Blindness
  • Nerve damage
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced blood circulation
  • Kidney Failure
  • Skin ulcers
  • Muscle damage
  • Brain Damage

It is also by far the most common reason for non traumatic AMPUTATION.

According to the World Health Organisation "At least 171 million people suffer from it in the year 2000 and this will double by 2030."

Last year (2008) There were 24 million diabetics in the USA alone.

What causes Diabetes?
For various reasons the body doesn't produce enough, or react properly to, a hormone called Insulin.
Insulin is produced in your Pancreas, it enables cells to absorb glucose, and turn it into fuel. See Mechanics of Metabolism.

If for some reason your body can't use insulin to turn the glucose in your blood into glycogen for storage your in trouble.

There are two main kinds of diabetes which are of concern to us as middle aged men, and they are known as;

  • Type 1
  • (Aka Insulin Dependant)
  • Type 2
  • (AKA Mature Onset)

    Type 1
    Is caused by the body being unable to make Insulin in the Pancreas.
    Any disease therefore, that causes damage to the Pancreas, can cause Diabetes.
    Its called Insulin Dependant because people with Type 1 must inject Insulin regularly.
    About 5-10% of Diabetics are Type 1.
    It also used to be known as Juvenile Diabetes Because it made up the majority of cases in young people.

    There is no Known cure save a Pancreas Transplant.

    But the one we're more interested in, as middle aged men, is...

    Type 2
    Type 2's do produce Insulin, but for some reason have a resistance to absorbing it.
    Exactly why, has so far remained unknown, but was thought to be something to do with cellular membranes.
    ( I dont understand either.)

    One of the causes of Diabetes was thought to be Visceral Fat. This is the fat in the abdominal cavity, as opposed to Subcutaneous Fat, which is found under the skin.

    Visceral Fat is also a factor in obesity.

    It has now been proved that Type 2 is caused by fat!

    A research team at Monash University led by Professor Matthew Watt, has discovered...

    Fat cells release a protein called PEDF, which cause muscle and the liver to become less sensitive to insulin.
    The Pancreas then works harder to produce more Insulin to counteract this effect.
    Eventually the Pancreas becomes overworked and begins to slow down, causing Type 2 Diabetes.

    Professor Watt said...
    "It appears that the more fat tissue a person has, the less sensitive they become to Insulin.
    Therefore a greater amount of insulin is required to maintain the body's regulation of blood glucose."

    Recent research has identified another 'Type'

    Pre Diabetes, or Pre-D.
    This is when there is an elevated level of blood glucose, but not high enough to be classed as Diabetic.
    Pre-D is closely tied to levels of obesity,which, as we know is one of the main causes of Type 2, and is a growing problem in the western world.
    In the US alone there are said to be more than 40 million people with Pre-D.

    Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

    Frequent urination and constant thirst
    Glucose is a trigger for the kidneys to take fluid from your blood, and send it to your bladder for disposal. If your blood glucose is constantly high, you will become dehydrated, so need to keep drinking, leading to more urination.
    Vicious Circle.

    Mood swings
    One of the big things that contribute to this is; due to increased thirst, some people will drink sugar-laced drinks (sodas,pepsi,coke,etc.)
    These stoke the cycle by adding MORE sugar to the blood, worsening the dehydration, which affects the brains function. This causes them to get depressed, short tempered, etc

    Excessive fatigue
    Because of the inhibited glucose take up, you just aint getting enough fuel.

    This due to vascular and nerve damage. It's most common in the feet the circulation is damaged which can cause Gangrene leading to amputation, usually starting with the toes and working its way up.
    Its also the most common reason for non-injury amputation.

    Itching, Slow healing Infections, and Sores
    Again due to vascular and nerve damage. Caused by elevated levels of glucose

    Blurred Vision
    There are several eye problems caused by Prolonged high levels of glucose, the shape of the lens in the eye can change, causing visual problems.
    More seriously it also causes damage to the small blood vessels in the eye called Diabetic Retinopathy.
    Almost half of diabetics develop Retinopathy, and over 25000 go blind every year.
    It is THE most common cause of blindness amonst the non-elderly
    There is also thought to be a connection with Glaucoma.
    Diabetics are almost twice as likely to develop Cataracts, and do so earlier.

    Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes

    Diagnosis is usually by evaluating any symptoms, then by...
    Urine test
    A 'test strip' is dipped into a sample of urine, this will tell if there is excess glucose present. Normal urine doesn't have any.
    If Glucose is found then you will have a...

    Blood Test
    A sample of blood is taken first thing in the morning before you eat anything, this is then tested for glucose levels.
    This is usually enough to diagnose, but sometimes the blood test is inconclusive so you may be given a GTT:

    Glucose Tolerance Test
    In this test, you are given a glucose drink, then your blood is monitored evry half hour to see how you are dealing with it.

    The good news is...

    Although Incurable, Type 1 and 2, are Relatively easy to treat, and, Pre-D can be prevented from developing into Type 2.

    Treatment for Diabetes


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