What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus comes in many flavors type 1, type 2, gestational, and variations such as maturity onset diabetes in the young (MOOY) and latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood (LADA). What all of these disorders have in common is an inherent inability to self regulate the levels of blood glucose or cellular fuel in the body
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has called diabetes "an emerging epidemic." The statistics say it all. In 2002, the National Institutes of Health and the CDC put the number of U.S. residents diagnosed with diabetes at a staggering 17 million. That's about 10 percent of the estimated 170 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide. Another 16 million people in the United States have prediabetes, or impaired glucose tolerance, a condition that is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Many remain dangerously unaware of the condition and the consequences.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the total diabetes population in the United States and is the sixth leading cause of death in America. But moderate levels of regular physical activity and a healthy diet can cut a person's chance of developing type 2 by up to 60 percent. In addition to the physical and emotional toll it exacts, diabetes also comes with an enormous price tag. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the disease costs Americans $132 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity. And it isn't just diabetes that's running up the tab. Over $24 billion of those annual costs are for expenses related to chronic diabetic complications.
The Endocrine System
Diabetes mellitus is classified as a disease of the endocrine system.The endocrine system is composed of glands that secrete the hormones that travel through the circulatory system to regulate metabolism, growth, sexual development, and reproduction. When one of these pivotal glands the adrenals, the thyroid and parathyroid, the thymus, the pituitary, testes, ovaries, and the pancreas secretes either too little or too much of a hormone, the entire body can be thrown off balance .