Diabetes Report

My report on Type 2 Diabetes for the Health & Disease module of the Foundation year of my degree

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The common form of diabetes which most people are aware of is Diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is a condition
where the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the cells of the body cannot take up glucose as
they should. As the blood glucose level rises, glucose, along with water and salts, is excreted in urine (Mader
2007). Urination is frequent and losing water in this way causes the diabetic to become extremely thirsty.
Glucose comes from the digestion of food and drinks that contain carbohydrates and is also produced by the
liver (Jones & Gregory 2007). Many different sources contain carbohydrates and these include starchy
foods such as bread and potatoes, as well as fruit, dairy products, sugar and other sweet foods (Hillson
2002). When the blood glucose level is high the pancreas, which is an organ of the endocrine system,
secretes a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps the glucose to enter the cells within the body where it is used
as fuel for energy so we can carry out normal everyday activities (Crowley 1992).
There are two main types of diabetes Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is the least common and
develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. This type of diabetes usually appears before the age of
40 and cannot be prevented. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body cannot make sufficient amounts of
insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work effectively, known as insulin resistance (Williams
& Pickup 2004). Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two main types, accounting for 8595% of all
diabetics. It is associated with being overweight and usually appears in people over the age of 40. However,
in South Asian and AfricanCaribbean people, it can appear at a younger age and an increased number of
children, some as young as seven, are also being diagnosed with the condition of late this is likely to be due
to an increase in childhood obesity (Helman 2007).
I intend to focus on Type 2 diabetes for the purpose of this report and will be considering the physical,
psychological and social realms of the disease. The causes and symptoms will be looked at and prevention
and treatment will be discussed. Whilst I will be looking at the disease from a mainstream biomedical
viewpoint, I will also be exploring alternative or complementary ways of understanding and dealing with the

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Causes & Risk Factors
There are numerous risk factors that will increase a person's chances of developing type 2 diabetes the
more risk factors that apply, the greater their risk of developing the condition (Fosbery 1997).
There is an increased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes if a close member of the family, such as
a parent or sibling, has the disease the closer the relative, the greater the risk.…read more

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societies (Helman 2007).
If someone is aware they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes based on any of the aforementioned
criteria, they can take preventative measures. The advice is to follow a healthy diet, lose weight if necessary
and keep active in order to prevent the onset of diabetes (Fosbery 1997).…read more

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fluctuating glucose levels increase the chance of fatty material building up on the arterial walls, narrowing
them or even blocking them completely (Davey, Rose et al 1991). Reduced circulation can lead to gangrene
in the arms and legs which may necessitate amputation of the affected limb (Williams & Pickup 2004).
Hypoglycaemia (or a `hypo') is uncommon in type 2 diabetics, but occurs when the blood glucose
levels fall too low.…read more

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The aim of treatment is to achieve blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near to
normal as possible. This, together with a healthy lifestyle, will help to improve wellbeing and protect
against longterm damage to the eyes, kidneys, heart and major arteries (Fosbery 1997).
Psychological & Social Factors
There are currently over 2.5 million people with diabetes in the UK and there are more than half a
million people with diabetes who are unaware they have the condition.…read more

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Fox & Kilvert 2007). A report published by Diabetes UK (2005) however,
highlighted the lack of recognition and psychological support for people with diabetes.
More than half of men with diabetes over the age of 60 experience erectile problems. Although this is
perfectly normal, ED can trigger anxiety which, in turn, makes matters worse. As a result many couples
are reluctant to discuss the problem due to embarrassment or frustration, especially if the cause is not
understood.…read more

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It is evident that type 2 diabetes is primarily a disease of the Western world (Helman 2007). Although
genetics play a small part in increasing an individual's susceptibility to diabetes, it appears the indulgent diets
and sedentary lifestyles of those living in Western society, make a significant contribution to the development
of the disease.…read more

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Becker, G. (2004) Type 2 Diabetes: The First Year An Essential Guide for the Newly
Diagnosed. London: Robinson Publishing
Crowley, L. V. (1992) Introduction to Human Diseases. London: Jones & Bartlett
Davey, B. Rose, S. et al. (1991) The Biology of Health and Disease. Milton Keynes: The Open
University Press
Davey, B. Halliday, T. (1994) Human Biology and Health: An Evolutionary Approach. Milton
Keynes: The Open University Press
Diabetes UK (2005) Diabetes: State of the Nations. London: Diabetes UK
Fosbery, R.…read more

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Williams, G. Pickup, J. C. (2004) The Handbook of Diabetes.…read more


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