Diabetes : An Autoimmune Disease Essay

1781 WordsDec 1, 20168 Pages
Type One Diabetes, Juvenile Diabetes, or Diabetes Mellitus; an autoimmune disease affecting millions (about 3 million in the United States) causes the body’s own immune system to target and attack beta islet cells in the pancreas which are responsible for the production of insulin, an enzyme that lowers the concentration of glucose in the blood. A century ago, diabetes was a quick death sentence; we only found how to produce artificial insulin in the 1920’s, so before that, if a patient got diabetes, they had maybe a week or two at best before the state of hyperglycemia would shut down bodily functions. When a person does not produce or receive insulin, blood glucose concentration rises, which results in a large number of inconvenient effects immediately, but it also gradually causes internal damage, typically heavily damaging extremities, nerve endings, eyes, and kidneys first, as well as producing an enzyme called ketones, which causes extreme unhealthy weight loss. On the opposite end of the spectrum, sometimes diabetics, who have to manually give themselves insulin, can accidentally give themselves too much, resulting in hypoglycemic episodes, where the body does not have enough glucose and energy to function; in some cases, this can cause the shutdown of body systems and even a quick death. Dying in one’s sleep is a constant threat to type one diabetics, as glucose levels naturally drop while fasting. Additionally, this disease is a life-sentence that typically strikes
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