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Diabetes Mellitus: An Overview

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that prevents your body from properly using the energy from the food you eat. Diabetes occurs in one of the following situations: The pancreas (an organ behind your stomach) produces little insulin or no insulin at all. (Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone, produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, which helps the body use sugar for energy.) -Or- The pancreas makes insulin, but the insulin made does not work as it should. This condition is called insulin resistance. To better understand diabetes, it helps to know more about how the body uses food for energy (a process called metabolism). Your body is made up of millions of cells. To make energy, the cells need food in a very simple form. When you eat or drink, much of your food is broken down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose provides the energy your body needs for daily activities. The blood vessels and blood are the highways that transport sugar from where it is either taken in (the stomach) or manufactured (in the liver) to the cells where it is used (muscles) or where it is stored (fat). Sugar cannot go into the cells by itself. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood, which Continue reading >>

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Popular Questions

  1. Rafique

    There are two types of diabetes mellitus.
    a. Type 1 diabetes mellitus b. Type 2 diabetes melliuts
    Is either of them a sex linked disease? Can either one be inherited? My book says, "this disease is transmitted as a recessive genetic characteristic." What does this mean?

  2. MCM

    Is either of them a sex linked disease? Can either one be inherited? My book says, "this disease is transmitted as a recessive genetic characteristic." What does this mean?
    Neither are sex-linked. Type 1 can be directly inherited (in a non-Mendelian fashion), but Type 2 genetic factors mostly increase risks. "Recessive genetic traits" are traits that only express themselves when ONLY the recessive alleles are present in the organism (a dominant allele, if present, will 'overpower' recessive one).
    Longer info:
    Diabetes mellitus Type 1 (Juvenile Diabetes) is inherited, but it is autosomal with complex dominant/recessive rules:
    Type 1 diabetes is a polygenic disease, meaning many different genes contribute to its onset. Depending on locus or combination of loci, it can be dominant, recessive, or somewhere in between.
    That results in some interesting, albeit complex, expressions:
    The risk of a child developing type 1 diabetes is about 10% if the father has it, about 10% if a sibling has it, about 4% if the mother has type 1 diabetes and was aged 25 or younger when the child was born, and about 1% if the mother was over 25 years old when the child was born.
    Diabetes mellitus Type 2 does have genetic components, but the vast majority merely increase the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Environmental factors play a large role in Type 2.
    Excess body fat is associated with 30% of cases in those of Chinese and Japanese descent, 60-80% of cases in those of European and African descent, and 100% of Pima Indians and Pacific Islanders.

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