Diabetes, or as it is scientifically known, diabetes mellitus, is a name for a group of metabolic diseases. Generally, diabetes means that you have high blood sugar. Depending on which type of the disease is present, this high blood sugar can be caused either by the body not producing enough insulin (a hormone produced by the pancreas) or because your cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.
There are two main types of diabetes.
Type I diabetes is the less common variety, occurring in only about 15% of the people who have diabetes. This normally presents itself before the age of 40—often in childhood. It is not preventable, and right now, there are no known risk factors for the disease besides family history. Type I diabetes patients are normally on some type of insulin regimen for their entire lives.
Type II diabetes is the more common type of the disease. It often occurs later in life, though it may occur in children, too. It normally begins as a form of insulin resistance that may be controlled by medication or alternative treatments. Later, some patients may require insulin. One of the main risk factors for type II diabetes is being overweight as a large majority of patients with type II diabetes are overweight or obese.
While the symptoms of diabetes vary a bit from case to case, some of the more common issues to look for include:
With type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells where insulin is made. There is no clear cause, but theories say that this type of diabetes occurs because of genetic or environmental factors. Hopefully, future testing will show the cause of this form of diabetes and lead to ways to prevent this disease.
In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t use insulin like it should. There are a number of risk factors for developing this disease; however, the two most common are age and weight. People of a healthy weight become more likely to develop the disease as they get older while obese people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes at any age. Some races are more prone to the disease as well, including American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanics.
Another possible cause of both Type 1 and 2 diabetes is pressure on the brainstem due to spinal bone misalignment, which then causes pressure on the tenth cranial nerve, called the vagus nerve. This nerve innervates the pancreas, providing all its information for it to function.