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Alternative Approaches to the Treatment of Diabetes Diabetes is a general term for a disease caused by defective carbohydrate metabolism and characterized by abnormally large amounts of sugar in the blood and urine Diabetes is usually classified into two types Type I or insulin-dependent diabetes formerly called juvenile-onset usually occurs in children and young adults and Type II or non-insulin dependent diabetes formerly called adult-onset diabetes is found in persons over 40 years old and progresses slowly Funk and Wagnalls 183 Diabetes is considered a group of disorders with multiple causes rather than a single disorder The human pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin that promotes the entry of sugar glucose into all tissues of the body providing energy for bodily activities In a person with diabetes however the entry of glucose is impaired either as a result of deficiency in the amount of insulin produced or of a blocking of the action of the insulin Consequently sugar builds up in the blood and is discharged in the urine In a Type I diabetic the problem is almost always a severe or total reduction in insulin production In Type II diabetes the pancreas often makes a considerable quantity of insulin but the hormone is unable to promote the entry of glucose into tissues Funk and Wagnalls 183 There are many short and long-term complications from diabetes If untreated Type 1 diabetes can be quickly fatal It is accompanied by nausea excessive thirst frequent urination extreme weakness abdominal pain and rapid deep breathing Failure to respond with injections of insulin can result in a diabetic coma or death Medical Advisor 319 Long-term complications of diabetes include damage to the eyes nervous system kidneys and cardiovascular and circulatory systems as well as weakening of the bodies overall resistance to infection Complications from diabetes are the primary cause of adult blindness in the United States Within 10 years of their diagnosis over 50 percent of all
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