This article is here to help stress the importance of getting control of your diabetes, if it's too long, to boring or to your dislike, skip it, but it's here to bring awareness, not hurt in any way.
Diabetes mellitus is a chronic medical condition, meaning it can last a life time. Over time, diabetes mellitus can lead to blindness, kidney failure, and nerve damage. Diabetes mellitus is also an important factor in accelerating the hardening and narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), leading to strokes, coronary heart diseases, and other blood vessel diseases in the body.
Diabetes mellitus affects 12 million people (6% of the population) in the United States. The direct and indirect cost of diabetes mellitus is $40 billion per year. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer.
In the United States, diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of new blindness in adults, kidney failure, and amputations (not caused by injury). The lack of insulin, insufficient production of insulin, production of defective insulin, or the inability of cells to use insulin leads to elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels, referred to as hyperglycemia, and diabetes mellitus.
In patients with diabetes mellitus, the insulin is either missing (as in type I diabetes mellitus), or insulin regulation is defective and insufficient (as in type II diabetes mellitus). Both cause elevated levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia).
The long-term complications of diabetes mellitus result from the effect of hyperglycemia on the blood vessels. Blood vessel damage eventually leads to disease of the eyes (retinopathy), nerves (neuropathy), and kidneys (nephropathy) For patients with type I diabetes mellitus, tight control of the blood sugar was ultimately proven in 1993 to decrease the frequency and intensity of the effects of diabetes on the eyes, nerves, and kidneys.
For patients with type II diabetes mellitus, proof of the benefit (in terms of reduction of long-term complications) of careful control of blood sugar has awaited further research studies. A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine (1997;127:788-795) documents substantial benefit from careful control of the blood sugar in patients with type II diabetes mellitus.
Sandeep Vijan, M.D. and colleagues at the University of Michigan found that patients with type II diabetes mellitus who diligently kept their blood sugar levels as close as possible to normal over time had far less kidney and eye disease than those who did not. This effect was especially significant for patients whose diabetes was detected at younger ages (less than 50 years of age).
This important study suggests that good control of the blood sugar over time is extremely important for patients with type II diabetes mellitus as well as type I. Therefore, while meticulous sugar control in patients with diabetes mellitus can take substantial effort from both patient and doctor, in the long run it pays off.
For more information visit the MedicineNet.com Diabetes Mellitus Center.
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