What Is Diabetes?

World Diabetes Day is November 14 the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, the Canadian that made such an impact on diabetics around the world by uncovering the link between the disease and insulin.

Regular visitors to the blog will see many posts about diabetes within this site’s pages. I dont have diabetes. Before joining Team Diabetes, I never really knew anything about the disease or the people who live with it. That has changed. As I commit myself to living healthy and training for the marathons, I’ve committed myself to learning more about diabetes, the people living with it, and how we can stop it.

Here’s an explanation of diabetes with some help from wikipedia.

Blood glucose levels are controlled by a complex interaction of multiple chemicals and hormones in the body, including the hormone insulin made in the pancreas. Diabetes refers to the group of diseases that lead to high blood glucose levels due to defects in either insulin secretion or insulin action.
Diabetes develops due to a diminished production of insulin (in type 1) or resistance to its effects (in type 2 and gestational). Both lead to hyperglycaemia, which largely causes the acute signs of diabetes: excessive urine production, resulting compensatory thirst and increased fluid intake, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss, lethargy, and changes in energy metabolism.

All forms of diabetes have been treatable since insulin became medically available in 1921, but there is no cure. The injections by a syringe, insulin pump, or insulin pen deliver insulin, which is a basic treatment of type 1 diabetes. Type 2 is managed with a combination of dietary treatment, medications and insulin supplementation.

It’s the discovering of insulin in 1921 that’s so important. Sir Frederick Banting, and his assistant, Dr Charles Best (both Canadians) are reponsible for the discovery of insulin. Today, November 14 (World Diabetes Day) is also Banting’s birthday.

This was hailed as one of the most significant advances in medicine at the time. Insulin was not only discovered, but put into mass production in a matter of months. Hence, almost immediately it began to extend the lives of millions of people worldwide who suffered from the endocrine disease diabetes mellitus that could not be treated and had a very poor prognosis. People who suffered from problems with fat and protein metabolism, leading to blindness and then death only had a short time after the onset of the illness.

In 1923 Banting received the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Banting shared the award money with Best. The Canadian government gave him a lifetime to work on his research. In 1934 King George V bestowed a knighthood on him, making him Sir Frederick Banting.

How can you help celebrate World Diabetes Day?

You can make a donation to Team Diabetes.

You can read all the posts about diabetes and World Diabetes Day and spread awareness about this disease that affects 250M people around the world.

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