Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

Type 1 and 2 Diabetes




Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is the name given to a group of metabolic complications that is characterized by high sugar levels. The disease is caused by insufficient insulin production in the pancreas as well as an inability by the body to process the produced insulin. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin. However, type 2 diabetes starts with a body resistance to insulin that eventually affects its secretion. The following sections address diabetes in detail. The initial chapters cover the description of the disease including both type 1 and 2 diabetes. The following section covers the effect that diabetes has on the body followed by a section discussing the treatment alternatives. The last sections cover the future of diabetes treatment and the effect of the Affordable Care Act in the United States.

Description of the Disease

Type 1diabetes is signified by a reduction in the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas. This drop in secretion contributes to insulin deficiency. Type 1 can be further categorized as immune-mediated (Donnelly, & Horton, 2007). The large part of type 1 diabetes is of the immune-mediated category, where T-cells responsible for immunity contribute to the disintegration of beta cells and therefore, insulin (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009). It is responsible for roughly 10% of diabetes mellitus patients in the Western regions (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009). Most affected patients are physically healthy and appear of normal weight before the type-1 diabetes sets in. Sensitivity and level of reaction to insulin are usually negligible, particularly in the initial stages. Type 1 diabetes is very common in both children and adults. However, it was conventionally called “juvenile diabetes” since it mostly affected children.

Conversely, type 2 diabetes is far more common since it affects people across all ages. Nevertheless, this type of diabetes occurs most frequently in middle-aged and elderly people. Obese and physically inactive people are also prone to developing type 2 diabetes. Most commonly, diabetes normally starts with insulin resistance—a state where liver cells, muscle, and body fat fail to consume insulin and transport glucose into the cells for energy purposes. Consequently, the body demands more insulin to assist glucose absorption into the cells. Initially, the pancreas tries to maintain functioning with the increased workload by secreting more insulin. Gradually, the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin that can match the rising blood sugar levels, for instance, after an individual has had a meal. Failure of the pancreas to produce enough insulin marks the beginning of type 2 diabetes (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009).

Effect on the Body

The most critical complications caused by diabetes are coronary diseases. Patients with diabetes have more than double the likelihood of experiencing heart diseases when compared to normal people. With diabetes, the conventional symptoms of a heart failure may not be evident. The pancreas is responsible for secreting and releasing insulin. In the event that the pancreas is unable to produce insulin or produce it in insufficient quantities, the body resorts to using different hormones to transform fat into energy (Donnelly, & Horton, 2007). This consequently creates high amounts of toxins, for example, ketones and acids that may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Other critical body symptoms include excessive thirst, constant urination, and exhaustion. A surprising symptom is sweet breath that is caused by the heightened volumes of ketone bodies in the bloodstream. If left untreated, the condition will eventually result in unconsciousness and death. Diabetes has a damaging effect on the kidneys particularly by lowering their capability to sort out waste products from the blood system. High levels of protein in the urinary system may be an indication that the kidneys have started malfunctioning.

Insufficient insulin production leads to high blood glucose levels can make it difficult for digestive processes to occur. Consequently, the delay in digestion causes gastroparesis. With the slow blood flow caused by constricted veins and arteries, there is little coordination in the hands and feet. Poor blood circulation can cause pain in the feet while walking mainly because of the constricted blood vessels. Consequently, people with diabetes may not realize they have an injury or infection. Therefore, diabetes increases the risk of contracting ulcers of the foot.

Diabetes has various effects on the epidermal system. Low levels of moisture can result in drying and cracking skin (Donnelly & Horton, 2007). The high-pressure spots on the hands and feet later transform into calluses. If not attended to, these calluses can become infected or have ulcers. At the advanced levels, the foot may have to be amputated. People with diabetes exhibit significantly higher occurrences of bacterial infections when compared to normal people. Diabetes has a significant effect on the nervous system and this will have a negative effect on the sensitivity of external stimuli such as touch, sound and sigh (Fox & MacKinnon, 2009). This makes the patient more vulnerable to physical injuries. Diabetes patients also end up more injured since they ignore an injury, particularly if they are located in hidden places such as between the toes, or the hands. Other effects of diabetes included reduced eyesight and glaucoma.

Treatment Options

Treating diabetes is largely dependent on the extent of advancement of the disease. Therefore, while a certain diabetes stage can be treated using insulin injections, other stages have to have more glucose in the regiment. One of the most important treatment methods is through dieting and exercise. The treatment for both type 1 and 2 diabetes normally stats with a change in diet and an increase in exercise. The important aspect is not what should be eaten. Rather, it involves consuming a balanced diet that will ensure that the body can benefit from all nutrients. Therefore, diabetes patients are normally recommended to consume foods from all the three major food groups (Weinger, & Carver, 2010). Changes in the diet can assist in taking the load off the pancreas and allow it to restore normal activity. Consequently, when it comes to exercise, it is not having access to the gym and engaging in strenuous activities. Exercise prescriptions for diabetes patients imply that they are expected to get into good shape physically (Donnelly, & Horton, 2007). They can also increase the amount of physical activity at home or at work. They are normally encouraged to set weight loss targets to ensure that any obese diabetics can monitor their weight.

Cost and other impacts of the disease on the culture

Based on the statistics of the American Diabetes Association, approximately 23 million individuals have diabetes. At an individual level, diabetes has devastating effects directly while on the society, the impact is slightly indirect. It is uncommon to find an individual who is not aware of someone who suffers from diabetes while a greater number do not know they have diabetes. Diabetes has a high rate of mortality and morbidity particularly for overweight people, rarely engage in physical activity, and have poor diets (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009). Diabetes changes the quality of life considerably. It involves a radical change in the diet, lifestyle, and working schedules. Diabetic patients also have to attend clinic sessions on a regular basis. At home or in school, patients also have to inject themselves with insulin constantly. Diabetes also affects the amount of funding allocated to healthcare within a particular district since it involves massive costs (Leonard, 2014).



Future Treatment and Cure

The future of diabetes treatment and cure involves the inclusion of science, technology and handheld devices to monitor and address and symptoms. The idea of inventing an artificial pancreas will ideally be used to come up with a solution to diabetes. The artificial pancreas works by monitoring glucose constantly and balancing off any deficits using and insulin pump. The continuous glucose monitoring system send signals using wireless monitors to the insulin pumps that consequently dispense insulin and ensure that no critical symptoms affect the patient. Another growing area of investigation is in islet cell transplants (Donnelly, & Horton, 2007). This entails taking the islet cells that are located within the pancreas and responsible for secreting insulin preferably from dead individuals and inserting type 1 diabetes patients having malfunctioning islet cells. This procedure has already worked on approximately 15 diabetes patients (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009). While the treatment is effective, there are several issues still pending. Transplanted cells only exist in the body for several years before they die, there is a chance that the body might reject the cells and the availability of such cells is limited.

In about two decades, pharmacological research will emerge as a dominant approach that will lower the physical burden of diabetes significantly. In the previous years, studies have focused on lowering blood glucose, and the mounting pace of research has been indicated in an increasing number of anti-diabetic agents. In the recent years, research on the harmonizing methods of securing cells from the destructive effects of high blood glucose has been realized. Other studies have focused on energy intake and consumption. Substantiation from studies of dietary limits and kidney surgery propose it may be likely that metabolism can be reset and in the process, reduce diabetes.


Effect of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The ObamaCare Act is responsible for improving accessibility to healthcare service for the people of the United States (Donnelly, & Horton, 2007). However, concerning diabetes, several benefits are evident. One, the ObamaCare Act allows access to healthcare services without the conventional expensive insurance. The free preventive care will ensure that diabetics access nutrition and exercise support that will greatly lower the symptoms of diabetes. Free diabetes screenings ensure that every individual can discover the disease at an early stage and take the necessary measure to cure it. The ACA also benefits diabetes patient by increasing the number of health complications that can be treated for an affordable fee. These health complications include endocrine infections, eye exams, diabetes self-management, and dental services. From a diabetic point of view, the Affordable Care Act could also translate into increased expenses (Fox, & MacKinnon, 2009). This is because the ACA demands that every citizen should take up an insurance cover. Therefore, all patients are expected to service their accounts on a regular basis even though they may not afford the costs.


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Donnelly, R., & Horton, E. (2007). Vascular Complications of Diabetes: Current Issues in Pathogenesis and Treatment. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Fox, C., & MacKinnon, M. (2009). Vital diabetes: Your essential reference for the management of diabetes in primary care. London: Class Health.

Leonard, P. C. (2014). Quick & Easy Medical Terminology. St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier.

Weinger, K., & Carver, C. A. (2010). Educating your patient with diabetes. New York: Humana Press.

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