How Do You Get Diabetes?

Diabetes is a huge concern, with obesity as the leading cause. What's the difference between Type I and Type II, and is there a cure?

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On this episode of DNews, Trace is joined by special guest Kaylee Yuhas from Explorium to discuss diabetes, which affects more than 380 million people worldwide, a number that's set to double according to the World Health Organization. Diabetes is one of the biggest killers in the U.S.: it takes more lives annually than AIDS and breast cancer, combined. It's the leading cause of heart and kidney failure, amputations, stroke, and blindness. Diabetes is a failure of your body to properly process the food you're ingesting. When a healthy person eats, their body breaks down their food into component parts, one of which is the simple sugar glucose. When glucose enters the blood, your glucose levels increase, which in turn causes the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts as a messenger to your cells, telling them to absorb glucose, which they use for energy. When you have diabetes, their body either doesn't produce enough insulin, or the cells become resistant to insulin. This causes glucose to remain in the bloodstream until it's passed through urine, and all this sugar can lead to a number of health problems in the body.

Diabetes is classified as Type I or Type II. For people with Type I, their immune system attacks pancreatic cells called islets which test the blood glucose levels in the body so the pancreas doesn't send out sufficient levels of insulin. Type I sufferers usually have to give themselves insulin injections, and monitor their blood glucose levels throughout the day. Type II is caused by habits and is far more common than Type I -- comprising 90 to 95 percent of all cases. Type II develops due to a high calorie diet paired with sedentary lifestyle. Over time, the pancreas gets used to high levels of glucose and either stops making enough insulin, or doesn't make any at all. Type II sufferers also have to monitor their glucose levels, but only have to take insulin in 40 percent of cases. The main treatment of Type II diabetes is adjusting diet and increasing exercise. A study in the Journal Nutrition found diets with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy and low sugar were associated with lower risk of Type II diabetes. So eating healthy and exercising and help people avoid Type II.

Learn More:

Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments (Medical News Today)
"Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both."

A toddler with type 2 diabetes (Science Daily)
"New research details the case of a 3-year old girl with type 2 diabetes -- thought to be one of the youngest ever people to present with the condition."