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Deadly Disease - Is Diabetes Fatal

written by: weborglodge • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 8/17/2010

Diabetes affects 23 million people in the United States, according to American Diabetes Association. It is a chronic condition for which there is no cure. Is diabetes fatal? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 70,000 people die from diabetes each year.

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    What Is Diabetes

    Diabetes is a complex disease, illustrating the interconnectedness of body functions. It also shows the relationship between eating and good health. Simply, diabetes describes a condition in which blood sugar levels are abnormally high, explains Mayo Clinic.

    Sugar or glucose is essential for life. It provides the energy to fuel every process that the human body undergoes. The risks of abnormal levels show the importance of balance for proper body functioning. Insulin from the pancreas regulates blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs either when the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot use it properly.

    Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disease where insulin production is hampered by an inappropriate response from the immune system to attack insulin-producing cells. Type II diabetes is resistance to the effects of insulin. Either type impairs the body's ability to produce energy, setting up a scenario for potentially fatal health effects.

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    Complications of Diabetes

    Having diabetes increases your risk for several chronic health conditions including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and kidney malfunction. Blood flow may be affected due to circulation problems. Tissue damage may result, necessitating the amputation especially of toes, feet and legs.

    When questioning is diabetes fatal, one also has to look at the complications it may cause and what health effects they may have. The risks exist no matter what age. Several risk factors play a role in whether or not you develop diabetes. Some you can control, while others are hereditary.

    Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase your risk. These risk factors also fuel the threat for complications of the condition, in kind of a one-two punch. The American Diabetes Association reports that diabetes was a contributing influence in over 230,000 additional deaths in 2005.

    Because glucose levels are compromised, diabetes can cause several complications to normal body function. Hypoglycemia is a general term for low blood sugar, and hyperglycemia is high blood sugar. Improper dosing of medications can cause either of these conditions in an otherwise well-regulated diabetic.

    Low blood sugar levels can be deadly. Without enough energy, body functions are impaired. This can lead to headache, confusion, and even coma, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center.

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    Diabetes Control

    Treatment of diabetes is a lifelong path. Keeping your blood sugar levels under control is important to reduce your risk of complications. Treatment will include monitoring your blood sugar levels. This is important to make sure that your medication is dosed properly and to avoid dangerous drops or spikes in glucose levels.

    Work closely with your doctor to develop a plan that works best for you. In addition to medication, your doctor may advise exercise and diet changes. Continual monitoring is vital to compensate for changes in your physiology as you age.

    Is diabetes fatal? A great deal depends upon the approach you take to living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding the risks which can lead to complications. Your first step is a commitment to take charge of your lifestyle and follow your doctor's advice to manage your symptoms.

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    References

    American Diabetes Association: Diabetes Statistics – www.diabetes.org

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Leading Causes of Death – www.cdc.gov

    Mayo Clinic: Diabetes Risk Factors – www.mayoclinic.com

    University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypoglycemia – www.umm.edu