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Aspects and Types of Diabetes

Diabetes has been estimated to effect approximately 12 million Americans. Due to the prevalence and costs of this disease, care and maintenance are important considerations. The American Diabetic Association offers official statements for the understanding of disease aspects such as definition, etiology, prevalence, costs, care, and federal legislation.

Definition, Etiology, Prevalence, Costs & Care

Diabetes mellitus is refereed to as a heterogeneous syndrome. It is characterized by a lack of insulin secretion and/or an increased cellular resistance to insulin which results in hyperglycemia and metabolic disturbances. Diabetes symptoms include excessive thirst and hunger, frequent urination, blurred vision, weight loss, and recurrent infections; diabetes is often asymptomatic during early stages. Conditions associated with the disease include severe neurological, cardiovascular, ocular, and renal complications (American Diabetes Association, ADA, 1996).

There are different types of diabetes. Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) usually presents before 30 years of age with an abrupt onset of symptoms requiring immediate medical treatment (10 percent). Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is found in adults 45 years or older; this type of diabetes is usually symptom free for years followed by a slow onset and progression of symptoms (90 percent). Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) occurs during pregnancy (three percent of all pregnancies); hyperglycemia ia associated with fetal morbidity. Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) has hyperglycemia at a lower level than for those with diabetes (ADA, 1996).

It is estimated that in the general population 45 years of age and older, more than 6 percent are diagnosed diabetes with an equal prevalence of undiagnosed cases. Risk factors for NIDDM include the following: diabetic family history; obesity; race, American Indian, Hispanic, or black; age 45 years plu...

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