Diabetes (officially diabetes mellitus) is a medical condition that causes a person’s blood sugar concentration to rise above normal levels. People who suffer from this disease are unable to process glucose, the sugar in our bloodstream, because their bodies either do not produce or do not properly respond to insulin.
Diabetes cases are classified as either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Both types are lifelong diseases, but they are both treatable.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas and is vital to the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the body’s cells. The pancreas lies behind the stomach.
People who suffer from type 1 diabetes are either born with the condition or develop it during childhood. Their bodies destroy the cells that are responsible for producing insulin until their bodies aren’t able to produce insulin at all.
Type 2 diabetes can set in at any time during a person’s life but usually does so in adulthood. People who have type 2 diabetes are able to produce insulin, but their bodies do not properly respond to it. Because the insulin isn’t doing what it is supposed to do, the body produces excess amounts of the hormone to compensate for its diminished activity, and this may eventually result in the exhaustion and failure of the cells that produce insulin.
Weight gain is often associated with and may trigger and worsen diabetes. Diabetes can cause many symptoms, such as:
In men, diabetes can even cause erectile dysfunction.
When looking for a doctor to treat diabetes, patients should seek care from an endocrinologist or from an internist or family physician who is experienced with the condition. Patients who are overweight may also want to see a healthcare provider who specializes in weight loss treatments, as managing weight is one of the keys to successfully treating diabetes and the other health conditions it can cause.
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