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Diabetes is a serious condition that affects the way the body uses sugar. Someone with diabetes has too much sugar in their blood. If left untreated or not carefully control at all times, diabetes can lead to damages to several parts of the body such as the heart, kidneys, eyes and feet.

Our bodies use sugar in our blood as a fuel. A person with diabetes, known as a diabetic, is unable to use sugar because they are missing an important substance called insulin. The food that we eat is broken down in to different forms. One group known as carbohydrates, are turn into a sugar called glucose which enters our bloodstream. When this happens a gland called the pancreas begins to make insulin. Insulin helps the sugar enter our blood cells, which is then used as fuel. As we burn this fuel either by working or simply staying alive, the sugar level downs. When this happens, the pancreas stops producing insulin, until blood sugar level rise again.

For a diabetic, the glucose cannot get into the cells – due to the lack of insulin - and stays in the bloodstream causing the level of sugar to rise. This is very dangerous if uncontrolled.

There are a few types of diabetes. Children and young people using have one type called Type One diabetes while older people (usually over 40) have another type called Type Two diabetes. Diabetes can also develop during pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant her body’s insulin needs increases. If she cannot respond to the additional insulin demand she can develop a temporary form of diabetes called gestational diabetes.

Diabetes can easily be diagnosed by testing the sugar levels in blood and urine samples. Typical symptoms of type 1 diabetes include a strong thirst, endless trips to the toilet, tiredness, blurred vision and weight loss. Type 2 diabetes on the other hand may have none of the classic symptoms described above.

Diabetes can affect anyone from newborn babies to the very old. There are many causes of diabetes. It could be due to an injury of the immune system. In some cases it runs in the family. In others it is caused by damages to the pancreas after an infection or illness. Finally diet and stress may also play a part.

People with diabetes may experience swings in blood sugar levels. When too high a blood sugar level is called hyperglycemia while too low is called hypoglycemia. Both can lead to serious consequences if left uncontrolled.

For diabetics, a healthy diet is especially important to control their condition. They need to eat the right kind of food and never miss a meal. They should also exercise regularly, as exercise burns energy which depletes the glucose in the blood.

Diabetes is not limited to human. Even you cats and dogs can develop diabetes called feline diabetes and canine diabetes.

Diabetes isn’t all bad. It may seem hard to believe, but there can be some positive aspects to a diagnosis of diabetes. Unlike many other chronic illnesses, you can be in charge and you can control it. And you (and your doctor) are likely to pay more attention to your health – such as diet and exercises - and you may in fact live longer and healthier!

Famous people like Thomas Edison, Ernext Hemingway, Jackie Gleeson, Elvis Presley, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Tyler Moore, Mario Puzo and Fred Silvermanhave or had diabetes. Yet they are the among some of the highest achievers in their field. Diabetes did not prevent them from having very successful lives. If you have diabetes, you should not despair. You too can life you live to the fullest.

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