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Obesity and Diabetes There are two types of diabetes, diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is a rare metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the pituitary hormone, which is usually the result of damage to the pituitary gland. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by large volumes of urine that are produced by the body regardless of how much liquid is consumed.

Diabetes inspidius results from the production of insufficient amounts of insulin by the pancreas. Without insulin the body cannot utilize glucose, thus creating a high level of glucose in the blood and a low level of glucose absorption by the tissues. Diabetes is generally divided into two categories: type I called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes and type II in which the onset of the diabetes occurs during adulthood.

The symptoms of the type I diabetic include irritability, frequent urination, abnormal thirst, nausea or vomiting, weakness, fatigue, and unusual hunger. This type of diabetes occurs mostly in children or young adults. The type I diabetic may have an insulin reaction in an instant, seeming perfectly normal one second and becoming unconscious the next. The early warning signs of this type of reaction are hunger, dizziness, sweating, confusion, palpitation, and numbness or tingling of the lips. If left untreated, the insulin-dependent diabetic may also experience double vision, trembling, and disorientation, may perform strange actions, and may eventually lose consciousness. While experiencing any one of these symptoms, quickly eating a piece of candy, some soda or anything else that has sugar in it will bring blood sugar levels back to normal.

Recovery is more difficult for the diabetic whose insulin reaction is left untreated for a long time. An insulin reaction producing low blood sugar can be life threatening. Therefore, it is safer to "spill" small amounts of urine sugar when taking insulin.

The second type of diabetes, often called maturity-onset diabetes, is likely to occur in a person with a family history of diabetes and is characterized by blurred vision, itching, unusual thirst, drowsiness, obesity, fatigue, skin infections, slow healing, and tingling or numbness in the feet. Diet often controls this type and insulin is not usually required.

Obesity is a major factor in type II diabetes. An estimated 5.5 million Americans are being treated for diabetes. Studies indicate that there are 5 million adults with type II diabetes who don't even know it, and another 20 million have impaired glucose tolerance that may lead to full diabetes. Undiagnosed diabetes is the reason behind millions losing their vision.

Those who are overweight have a higher risk of developing diabetes. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Other signs of diabetes include flu-like symptoms that seem like they don't go away, loss of hair on legs, increased facial hair, and small yellow bumps anywhere on the body. Diabetes is associated with arteriosclerosis.

What’s Ahead? Because our population is getting older and is also showing effects from being sedentary and overweight, we anticipate the incidence of diabetes will increase. There will be a growing need to prevent and treat this condition. We will be attempting to provide a useful source of information for staying updated on current prevention and treatment approaches.

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The information about senior health presented here is not meant to be medical advice nor to act as a substitute for medical advice. Serious side-effects, including death, could result if one were to take any prescription medicine without the supervision of a physician.

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