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Diabetes Mellitus.

Ruba Shawwa Diabetes is a chronic disease that had been known for so many years. Literally, the word "diabetes" means "flowing through", while "mellitus" means "sweet", and this actually describes briefly the main characteristics of the disease. In this disease, there is an abnormal rise in the level of glucose in the bloodstream, which causes glucose to spill out in the urine, causing the typical symptoms of diabetes, including increased passage of urine in an attempt of your body to get rid of the extra glucose accumulating in the blood, which, on its role, leads to an increased feeling of thirst, and since glucose is being--involuntarily--kept in the bloodstream, and not entering the cells as it should normally be, then, the person with diabetes will always suffer from fatigue and lack of energy as well as a craving for sweet foods. This could result from different problems that affect insulin--a hormone secreted from specific cells in the pancreas that has a vital role in controlling blood glucose level. Usually, insulin along with glucagone--another hormone involved in controlling blood glucose level--play opposite roles in order to keep blood glucose level at a normal range, where insulin plays an important role helping glucose pass from the bloodstream into cells (especially the nervous system that uses glucose as its only source of energy), where it binds it to phosphorous forming a complex that can't spill out of the cells. As for glucagone, it plays an opposite role freeing glucose from cells if blood glucose levels were low. In people with diabetes, there is a problem either in the secretion or function of insulin. Some people are not able to secrete insulin at all mainly due to genetic factors. Those need to be injected with insulin continuously. This type of diabetes is called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). Another type of diabetes is the Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). In this type, patients either secrete insufficient amounts of insulin, or they secrete sufficient amounts but the tissues of the body are relatively insensitive to it. This type is usually treated with special drugs along with a suitable, well-studied diet. Studies are proving day after day, that a good diet plays a major role in diabetes enabling patients to live a normal life and to avoid unwanted complications that are usually associated with the disease. An important diet advice is to eat an appropriate amount of calories that are needed to keep an ideal weight, especially taking into consideration that obesity is a major factor in diabetes. It is also advised that the calories consumed daily be distributed on small frequent meals all through the day. You should also keep away from foods that cause a rapid rise in blood glucose level such as sugar, candies or cakes, for example. Alternatively, you should include foods that are digested slowly and therefore cause a small rise in the blood sugar including legumes (beans, peas and lentils), pasta, whole-wheat cereals and some fruits like apples, pears and oranges. Talking about fruits, it is advised that you eat them whole in order to benefit from their high content of fibers, that are extremely helpful in the case of diabetes. You should also avoid high fat products, especially saturated fat and use polyunsaturated oils for cooking such as sunflower, safflower, corn and soy oils. An important point I would also like to mention here is eating a balanced diet that includes important vitamins and minerals especially B-vitamins, zinc, magnesium and chromium, or--if necessary--taking supplements under doctor supervision. Patients are also advised to increase their physical activity, which helps them keep an ideal weight and improves their blood glucose control.Diabetes Mellitus

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Apr 9, 2006
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