Since diabetes can be life-threatening if not properly managed, patients should not attempt to treat this condition without medicial supervision. A variety of alternative therapies can be helpful in managing the symptoms of diabetes and supporting patients with the disease. Acupuncture can help relieve the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy by stimulation of cetain points. A qualified practitioner should be consulted. Herbal remedies also may be helpful in managing diabetes. Although there is no herbal substitute for insulin, some herbs may help adjust blood sugar levels or manage other diabetic symptoms. Some options include:
Central diabetes insipidus. A synthetic, or man-made, hormone called desmopressin treats central diabetes insipidus. The medication comes as an injection, a nasal spray, or a pill. The medication works by replacing the vasopressin that a patient’s body normally produces. This treatment helps a patient manage symptoms of central diabetes insipidus; however, it does not cure the disease.
In the exchange system, foods are divided into six food groups (starch, meat, vegetable, fruit, milk, and fat) and the patient is taught to select items from each food group as ordered. Items in each group may be exchanged for each other in specified portions. The patient should avoid concentrated sweets and should increase fiber in the diet. Special dietetic foods are not necessary. Patient teaching should emphasize that a diabetic diet is a healthy diet that all members of the family can follow.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. This means it begins when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks other cells in the body. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells (called beta cells) in the pancreas. This leaves the person with little or no insulin in his or her body. Without insulin, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream rather than entering the cells. As a result, the body cannot use this glucose for energy. In addition, the high levels of blood glucose cause excessive urination and dehydration, and damage the body's tissues.
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Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, and a significant proportion is diagnosed during adulthood. Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA) is the diagnostic term applied when type 1 diabetes develops in adults; it has a slower onset than the same condition in children. Given this difference, some use the unofficial term "type 1.5 diabetes" for this condition. Adults with LADA are frequently initially misdiagnosed as having type 2 diabetes, based on age rather than cause
Nephrogenic DI results from lack of aquaporin channels in the distal collecting duct (decreased surface expression and transcription). It is seen in lithium toxicity, hypercalcemia, hypokalemia, or release of ureteral obstruction. Therefore, a lack of ADH prevents water reabsorption and the osmolarity of the blood increases. With increased osmolarity, the osmoreceptors in the hypothalamus detect this change and stimulate thirst. With increased thirst, the person now experiences a polydipsia and polyuria cycle.
A defect in the thirst mechanism, located in a person's hypothalamus, causes dipsogenic diabetes insipidus. This defect results in an abnormal increase in thirst and liquid intake that suppresses vasopressin secretion and increases urine output. The same events and conditions that damage the hypothalamus or pituitary—surgery, infection, inflammation, a tumor, head injury—can also damage the thirst mechanism. Certain medications or mental health problems may predispose a person to dipsogenic diabetes insipidus.
Keeping track of the number of calories provided by different foods can become complicated, so patients usually are advised to consult a nutritionist or dietitian. An individualized, easy to manage diet plan can be set up for each patient. Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association recommend diets based on the use of food exchange lists. Each food exchange contains a known amount of calories in the form of protein, fat, or carbohydrate. A patient's diet plan will consist of a certain number of exchanges from each food category (meat or protein, fruits, breads and starches, vegetables, and fats) to be eaten at meal times and as snacks. Patients have flexibility in choosing which foods they eat as long as they stick with the number of exchanges prescribed.
Diabetes insipidus is also associated with some serious diseases of pregnancy, including pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy. These cause DI by impairing hepatic clearance of circulating vasopressinase. It is important to consider these diseases if a woman presents with diabetes insipidus in pregnancy, because their treatments require delivery of the baby before the disease will improve. Failure to treat these diseases promptly can lead to maternal or perinatal mortality.
Diabetes occurs throughout the world but is more common (especially type 2) in more developed countries. The greatest increase in rates has however been seen in low- and middle-income countries, where more than 80% of diabetic deaths occur. The fastest prevalence increase is expected to occur in Asia and Africa, where most people with diabetes will probably live in 2030. The increase in rates in developing countries follows the trend of urbanization and lifestyle changes, including increasingly sedentary lifestyles, less physically demanding work and the global nutrition transition, marked by increased intake of foods that are high energy-dense but nutrient-poor (often high in sugar and saturated fats, sometimes referred to as the "Western-style" diet). The global number of diabetes cases might increase by 48% between 2017 and 2045.
As of 2017, an estimated 425 million people had diabetes worldwide, with type 2 diabetes making up about 90% of the cases. This represents 8.8% of the adult population, with equal rates in both women and men. Trend suggests that rates will continue to rise. Diabetes at least doubles a person's risk of early death. In 2017, diabetes resulted in approximately 3.2 to 5.0 million deaths. The global economic cost of diabetes related health expenditure in 2017 was estimated at US$727 billion. In the United States, diabetes cost nearly US$245 billion in 2012. Average medical expenditures among people with diabetes are about 2.3 times higher.
Type 1 diabetes is characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreatic islets, leading to insulin deficiency. This type can be further classified as immune-mediated or idiopathic. The majority of type 1 diabetes is of the immune-mediated nature, in which a T cell-mediated autoimmune attack leads to the loss of beta cells and thus insulin. It causes approximately 10% of diabetes mellitus cases in North America and Europe. Most affected people are otherwise healthy and of a healthy weight when onset occurs. Sensitivity and responsiveness to insulin are usually normal, especially in the early stages. Although it has been called "juvenile diabetes" due to the frequent onset in children, the majority of individuals living with type 1 diabetes are now adults.
Another kind of diabetes, called gestational diabetes, happens in women who have higher-than-expected blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Once it occurs, it lasts throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Like the other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes happens when the hormone insulin can't efficiently move sugar (glucose) into the body's cells so it can be used as fuel. In gestational diabetes, the body does not respond well to insulin, unless insulin can be produced or provided in larger amounts.
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Retinopathy — Tiny blood vessels in the retina (the part of the eye that sees light) can become damaged by high blood sugar. The damage can block blood flow to the retina, or can lead to bleeding into the retina. Both reduce the retina's ability to see light. Caught early, retinopathy damage can be minimized by tightly controlling blood sugar and using laser therapy. Untreated retinopathy can lead to blindness.
Two types of diabetes were identified as separate conditions for the first time by the Indian physicians Sushruta and Charaka in 400–500 CE with one type being associated with youth and another type with being overweight. The term "mellitus" or "from honey" was added by the Briton John Rolle in the late 1700s to separate the condition from diabetes insipidus, which is also associated with frequent urination. Effective treatment was not developed until the early part of the 20th century, when Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best isolated and purified insulin in 1921 and 1922. This was followed by the development of the long-acting insulin NPH in the 1940s.
This test measures the changes in body weight, urine output, and urine composition when fluids are withheld to induce dehydration. The body's normal response to dehydration is to conserve water by concentrating the urine. Those with DI continue to urinate large amounts of dilute urine in spite of water deprivation. In primary polydipsia, the urine osmolality should increase and stabilize at above 280 mOsm/kg with fluid restriction, while a stabilization at a lower level indicates diabetes insipidus. Stabilization in this test means, more specifically, when the increase in urine osmolality is less than 30 Osm/kg per hour for at least three hours. Sometimes measuring blood levels of ADH toward the end of this test is also necessary, but is more time consuming to perform.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type. Although it primarily develops in adults, it’s beginning to be seen more frequently in younger people. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being overweight, being sedentary, and having a family history of type 2 diabetes. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t experience any symptoms. Sometimes, these symptoms are slow to develop.
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