Biomics Centre

What is diabetes?

Diabetes can affect any individual from any walk of life, doing so in numbers that are increasing at an alarming rate. On a global level diabetes affects approximately 380 million individuals, with international healthcare organizations warning that by 2030 the number of diabetics will more than double in size.
Currently diabetes ends more lives than AIDS and breast cancer together and represents the leading cause of strokes, kidney failure and blindness. Likewise, diabetes affects not only sufferers but places additional emotional, physical and financial stress on their care givers and families.
In the search for effective solutions to treat such debilitating disease first one must understand the nature of diabetes, and in order to do so it is essential to understand the role that insulin plays.
When we eat our bodies break down the food into sugar or glucose which in turn determines the pancreas to release insulin, a hormone that allows our cells to receive and metabolize the glucose for energy. Diabetes does not allow this natural process to occur.
While there are many forms of diabetes the most common and threatening forms of the disease are type 1 and type 2.

What is Type 1 Diabetes?

Also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes this form of the disease is by far the most severe, generally developing in children and teenagers although it can develop at any stage of an individual’s life.
Type 1 diabetes causes our body’s immune system to attack insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, regarding them as foreign and systematically destroying them. Scientists currently have no explanation of what is the cause of this autoimmune reaction.
The cells known as islets are responsible for sensing the presence of glucose in the bloodstream and producing the appropriate amount of insulin to regulate sugar levels. Insulin is the hormone that allows our cells to open, receive and metabolize glucose into energy; without insulin sugars accumulate in the bloodstream which results in the starvation of cells due to lack of glucose and can further lead to damage to several organs and nerves and even death.
diabetes 2
In order to prevent such occurrences individuals affected by type 1 diabetes take regular insulin injections, however the issue with this sort of treatment is that many variables can influence the necessary amount of insulin that an individual actually needs, such as general health, diet, stress and physical exercise.
Due to the fluctuating nature of these variables deciding upon the appropriate dose of insulin is a difficult balancing task; taking too much causes the body to use up too much glucose which can lead to a severe drop in blood sugar levels known as hypoglycemia. On the other hand not taking enough insulin can also starve the body of precious energy and cause blood sugar levels to increase dramatically in a condition known as hyperglycemia, which is equally dangerous as hypoglycemia.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Known also as non-insulin dependent diabetes, type 2 is the most common form of the disease usually developing in adults over the age of 35, although cases of younger individuals developing this type of diabetes are also being recorded.

Individuals affected by type 2 diabetes have the capacity to produce a part of their own insulin, however in many cases it simply isn’t enough. In other instances the insulin will attempt to perform its cellular function and allow glucose to enter the cell but the cells will not respond; this is known as insulin resistance.

Most of the time type 2 diabetes is associated with overweight individuals that have a sedentary lifestyle, with the treatment consisting mainly of a proper diet and physical exercises, however if blood sugar levels remain high oral medications can be administered in order for the body to utilize the insulin it produces on its own in a much more efficient manner, although there are cases when insulin injections are required.