Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a condition in which a person’s sugar (glucose) level is abnormally high due to the inadequate production of insulin, a hormone which is produced by the pancreas and which regulates the metabolization of glucose. Diabetes may present itself in one of two forms:

Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes
A condition in which there is a total absence of insulin production. This type of diabetes, which usually arises during childhood, is also referred to as “juvenile diabetes”, and is managed by administering regular insulin injections to the patient throughout his life.
Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes
A condition in which the body still produces insulin, but in insufficient amounts). The patient is usually treated with oral medications, either with or without insulin injections as an adjunct.
Diabetes escalates one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease, resulting in approximately two-thirds of diabetics worldwide dying of some form of heart disease or stroke.
According to the American Heart Association:
  • At least 68% of people aged 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease; and 16% die of stroke.
  • Adults with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to die from heart disease than adults without diabetes.
There are several reasons for this. First, diabetes tends to cause irritation of the blood vessel walls. Second, it appears to increase the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol and decrease the level of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood. Third, it raises the sufferer’s blood pressure.
Together, these factors result in diabetics having more extensive atherosclerosis and a higher fatality rate from heart attacks than their non-diabetic counterparts of the same age. Measures which can help to bring diabetes under control include weight reduction, following a strict diet, and regular exercise.