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Diabetes mellitus is a metabolism disorder affecting the way our bodies use digested food for growth and energy. It is a serious, lifelong condition. Each year, about 800,000 people are diagnosed with it. An estimated 16 million people in the United States have diabetes, and about one-third of those people have not yet been diagnosed.
For the body to use food normally, it is broken down primarily into glucose, the form of sugar in the blood. Glucose is the main source of fuel for the body. After digestion, glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For glucose to get into cells, insulin must be present. When we eat, the pancreas will normally produce the right amount of the hormone insulin to automatically move glucose from blood into our cells. With diabetes, however, the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Glucose builds up in the blood, overflows into the urine, and passes out of the body. Thus, the body loses its main source of fuel even though the blood contains large amounts of glucose.
In this pamphlet, Dr. Roach discusses types of diabetes, symptoms, testing, and approaches to managing diabetes.
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