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Diabetes Mellitus Diabetes mellitus is one of the most serious health problems facing the Native American Indians today The disease is very common in many tribes cross the United States Diabetes plagues our Navajo people and will continue to be an epidemic disease until each of us takes action Diabetes mellitus is a disease that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar The body needs sugar for growth and energy for daily activities It gets sugar when it changes food into glucose a form of sugar A hormone called insulin is needed for the glucose to be taken up and used by the body for energy In a non-diabetic person insulin is secreted in response to increases in blood glucose levels When the blood glucose increases insulin is producing lower blood glucose So the body keeps the blood glucose at normal levels Many people with diabetes do not produce enough insulin and must take it by injection Because insulin is a protein it would be digested if taken orally When a person is diagnosed with diabetes which means the body cannot make use of the glucose in the blood for energy because either the pancreas is not able to make enough insulin or the insulin that is available is not effective The beta cells in areas of the pancreas usually make insulin There are three main types of diabetes mellitus insulin-dependent Type 1 noninsulin-dependent Type 2 and gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy In insulin-dependent diabetes IDDM the pancreas makes little or no insulin because the insulin-producing beta cells have been destroyed This type appears most commonly in younger people under the age of 30 Treatment consists of daily insulin injections or use of an insulin pump a planned diet and regular exercise and daily self-monitoring of blood glucose Type1 diabetes is relatively rare in Native American Indians Many cases of Type1 diabetes are seen in people who have
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