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Be aware of diabetes, possible complications
Health advice
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What do all these people have in common: Actress Halle Berry, country singer/songwriter Adele Morgan, singer Johnny Cash, actress Carol Channing, American Bandstand host Dick Clark, singer David Crosby, actress and former Miss USA Delta Burke, singer and guitarist Elvis Presley,  actress Elizabeth Taylor, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, actress Sharon Stone, boxer Sugar Ray Robinson and jazz singer Peggy Lee?
If you answered that they are all very talented, you would be correct. They are/were all attractive Americans known throughout the United States as energetic celebrities. And they all had or have diabetes. Some, like Berry, have type 1 diabetes, which requires insulin injections, while others have type 2 diabetes, which requires oral medication. Both types necessitate monitoring and special attention to diet and exercise.
Diabetes is a disease caused by a metabolic disorder that affects the way our bodies use digested food for energy. During the digestion process, most of the food we eat is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar in the blood). Glucose is the body's main source of fuel. After digestion, glucose enters the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and small intestines and travels throughout the body to cells where it is used for energy.
A message is then sent to the pancreas that insulin is needed. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, must be present to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.  In people with diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin or enough insulin to "unlock" cells so they can use the glucose. So without insulin, the glucose channels to the cells remain closed and the glucose cannot enter the cells to make energy.
Without glucose, the cells of the body have no energy and the person becomes tired very quickly.  Since glucose can't enter the cells, it remains unused and stays in the bloodstream, causing high blood glucose levels. The body will attempt to get rid of the extra glucose building up in the bloodstream by sending it out in the urine.
Over time, high blood glucose levels damage nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease and stroke, the leading causes of death among people with diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to other health problems, such as vision loss, kidney failure and amputations.
Diabetes is a huge problem in the United States. There are currently 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8 percent of the population, who have diabetes. While an estimated 17.9 million have been diagnosed with diabetes, unfortunately, 5.7 million people are unaware they have the disease.  
The cause of diabetes is a mystery, but genetics and environmental factors (such as obesity and lack of exercise) seem to play roles. The major types of diabetes are:
• Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease. An auto-immune disease results when the body's system for fighting infection turns against a part of the body. In diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. A person who has type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to live.
• Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has a stronger genetic basis than type 1, and it depends on environmental factors. A family history of type 2 diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for getting the disease but it only seems to matter in people living a Western lifestyle.
If you have diabetes, you can lower your risk of complications by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol under control. This means choosing foods wisely, being active, losing weight, quitting smoking and taking medications.
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