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Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by a personís blood sugar level increasing to above normal levels. It occurs because the sugar builds up in the blood instead of being transported to the bodyís cells. The build up of sugar is caused either because the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or because the body cannot use the insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches, and other foods into energy that is necessary for daily life. This disease can trigger numerous other diseases including blindness, heart disease and kidney failure.

Researchers and endocrinologists have not been able to determine what the exact cause of diabetes is, but they believe that the causes of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different. While the exact cause of diabetes is unknown, they believe genetics as well as environmental factors like obesity, poor diet, and lack of exercise are involved in the onset of the disease. Nearly 8% of the entire U.S. population suffers from diabetes. This does not include the nearly 6 million people that are unaware that they have the disease. There are two major types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. It is believed that Type 1 diabetes is caused by environmental factors, for example, a viral attack on the pancreas, which may cause a malfunction in the organ's insulin production. This accounts for 5 - 10% of those with diabetes. Type 2 is the more common form of diabetes and results from insulin resistance combined with insulin deficiency. It may develop as a result of over-eating, or eating a diet high in fats and sugars and low in proteins, and not getting enough exercise.

Some of diabetes' most common symptoms include excessively dry skin, extreme hunger and thirst, frequent urination, slow healing sores, sudden blurry vision, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet and unexplained weight loss. If the type of diabetes is dependent upon insulin, then the sufferer may also feel nauseas, have stomach pains or experience vomiting.

In the same way as the cause of diabetes itself varies depending upon whether a person has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the treatment for these types of diabetes also varies. For Type 1 diabetes it is important to use a glucose monitor to closely monitor glucose level. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and insulin injections are also a part of avoiding complications such as hyperglycemia. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, oral medication is prescribed and dietary changes are recommended to keep blood sugar at a safe level.

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