The Diabetes Bonanza – Part I
Like all the other devastating diseases, diabetes is also all about the money – Big Money. The Diabetes Epidemic has been a bonanza for the Healthcare Industry.
Diabetes contributes billions of dollars to the coffers of Healthcare Industry. The worldwide sales of diabetes drugs was 27.3 billion in 2008, in 2013 it totaled $41 billion, and is expected to cross the $55 billion mark in 2016. Diabetes is one of the major components in the “revenue generating diseases” that are supporting the growth of the global Healthcare industry.
The US has the dominant share in the global diabetes market, with $21 billion in drug sales and a total cost of $198 billion to the people in 2013 – That means $198 billion in revenue for the Healthcare Industry. And, the diabetes segment of the industry is expected to maintain its double-digit growth rate.
More than 347 million people worldwide are estimated to have diabetes – nearly an eight fold jump since 1985. According to the World Diabetes Foundation, nearly 4 million people die every year due to blood sugar disorder. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the US (based on number of death certificates, NIDDK) – A justifiable little price for the Big Prize to Big Pharma!
But, more than the hundreds of billions of dollars in contribution to the Big Pharma, diabetes is also the door opener for other major revenue generating diseases. Diabetes leads to High Blood Pressure, Heart Diseases, Cancer, Renal Diseases, and a plethora of other complications – all instrumental in siphoning out billions of dollars from the public into the deep pockets of the Healthcare Industry’s.
Do you really expect the Healthcare Industry to wash its hand of hundreds of billion of dollar and let the diabetes disappear?
Understanding The Diabetes
Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a condition in which the body becomes unable to properly convert the food, especially glucose, into the energy needed for the daily activities. It happens because of disruption in the glucose metabolism process in the body. The substance responsible for the glucose metabolism in the body is Insulin. At the onset of diabetes, the body is either not able to produce the insulin (type-1), or is not able to utilize the generated insulin (type-2). The resulting elevated sugar level in the blood leads to a variety of serious complications and diseases.
Diabetes affects all age groups, but it is more common among the middle age and older age group people. Among all the age group people, the obese group is at a greater risk of developing diabetes.
The Role of Insulin:
Insulin is a peptide hormone composed of 51 amino acids. It is produced by the Beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans in Pancreas. Insulin causes the cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue to take up glucose from the blood, storing it as glycogen in the liver and muscle, and stopping the use of fat as an energy source – Cells cannot utilize glucose without insulin.
Every cell in the human body needs energy in order to function. The body’s primary energy source is glucose, a simple sugar resulting from the digestion of foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Glucose from the digested food circulates in the blood as a ready source source of energy for any cells that need it.
Insulin bonds to a receptor site on the outside of the cell, and acts like a key to open a doorway into the cell through which glucose can enter. Some of the glucose can be converted into a concentrated energy sources like glycogen or fatty acids and saved for the later use. When there is not enough insulin produced, or when the doorway no longer recognizes the insulin key, glucose stays in the blood rather that entering into the cells – while the cells starve. The level of glucose in the blood then gets too high, causing the condition known as diabetes.
High Blood Sugar Level – Hyperglycemia:
A normal fasting blood sugar level is less than 110 mg/dl. A blood sugar level of 126 mg/dl or higher is considered to be a danger sign and a precursor of diabetes mellitus.
When the blood glucose level goes high, the body attempts to dilute the high level of glucose in the blood – a condition called hyperglycemia, by drawing the water out of the cells and into the bloodstream in an effort to dilute the sugar and excrete it via urine. It is not unusual for the people with diabetes to be constantly thirsty, drink large quantities of water, and urinate frequently as their bodies try to get rid of the extra glucose – Resulting in high levels of glucose in the urine.
At the same time that the body is trying to get rid of glucose from the blood, the cells are starving for glucose and sending signals to the body to eat more food, thus making patients extremely hungry. To provide energy for the starving cells, the body also tries to convert fats and proteins to glucose. The breakdown of fats and proteins for the energy need causes acid compounds called ketones to form in the blood stream. Ketones is also excreted in the urine.
As ketones build up in the blood, a condition called ketoacidosis can occur. This condition can be life threatening if left untreated, leading to coma and death.
Over the years, high levels of glucose in the blood damage the nerves and blood vessels. This can lead to complications such as heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and chronic gum infections. Nerve and blood vessel damage may lead to serious lower limb infections, requiring amputation of the infected limb.
Types of Diabetes
There are two main Types of diabetes:
- Type I diabetes (IDDM)
- Type II diabetes (NIDDM)
Type I diabetes is the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM). It is an autoimmune disease – An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s own immune system turns against a part of its own. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the islets of langerhans in the pancreas, and destroys them. The pancreas then becomes unable to produce enough insulin needed by the body.
Though, it is not well understood exactly what causes the body’s immune system to attack these cells, but it is suspected that both the genetic factors and environmental factors, such as viruses, exposure to chemicals, wrong diet, and wrong life-style are the culprit.
Type 2 diabetes – the Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) is the most common form of diabetes. In this case, the pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown (!) reasons, the body cannot use the insulin effectively – a condition called insulin resistance. After several years, responding to the lack of usage by the body, the production of insulin decreases significantly. The result is the same as for the type 1 diabetes.
When there isn’t enough insulin, or the insulin is not used as it should be, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells – the cells no longer recognizes the insulin key and ignore it. When glucose builds up in the blood, instead of going into the cells, the body’s cells cannot function properly. This, in turn, leads to abnormally high level of glucose the blood – a condition known as hyperglycemia.
There is also a third type of diabetes, Gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes develops only during the pregnancy. About 3 to 8 percent of pregnant women in the United States develop gestational diabetes. Although this form of diabetes usually disappears after the birth of the baby, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 40 to 60 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years.
An Epidemic – and Its Damaging Effects
Millions of people enter the gates of diabetes through a condition called Pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. This condition raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Pre-diabetes is becoming more common in the United States. The U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services estimates that at least 61 million adults, age 20 or older, had pre-diabetes in 2012. Those with the pre-diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
High Blood Pressure is one of the most serious problem caused by the high levels of insulin in blood. Insulin plays a role in storing the magnesium. When the cells become resistant to insulin, they can’t store magnesium, and it is lost through urination. Intra-cellular magnesium relaxes the muscles and blood vessels – loss of magnesium makes the blood vessels constrict and become stiff. This causes an increase in blood pressure. Further, insulin also causes an abnormal retention of sodium, which leads to fluid retention, resulting in high blood pressure. The combination of these two factors, blood vessel constriction and high blood pressure, are the common causes of congestive heart failure.
Osteoporosis is another potential problem resulting from the insulin resistance. Insulin is a master hormone which controls many anabolic hormones such as growth hormone, testosterone, and progesterone. In insulin resistance, the anabolic process is reduced. Bone matter is built upon the command of these hormones. When these hormones are in short supply, the process of bone building is also curtailed. Left over calcium is excreted in urine – putting extra pressure on kidneys.
Cancer is also related to diabetes. High blood levels of Insulin increase cellular proliferation. This is the process of cancer to formation – uncontrolled growth. There have been quite a few studies conducted which show that one of the strongest correlations to breast and colon cancers are the high levels of insulin.
Diabetes is a silent killer. It is essential to recognize the signs of diabetes at an early stages. If left untreated, diabetes can cause more devastating diseases like the Kidney damage, Neuropathy – damage to the nerve fibers, Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular diseases and Cancer.
It is Your Health – Understand It
The main signs of the onset of diabetes are constant thirst, extreme hunger, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, frequent need to urinate, blurred vision, and frequent infections and wounds that are slow to heal.
To guard yourself against the onslaught of diabetes, you need to understand the real causes that may make you a victim of this disease – and a profit center of the Healthcare Industry. Understanding the factors that are responsible for causing the diabetes will help you protect yourself, as well as maintain a healthy insulin metabolic system.
Diabetes brings big money to the Big Pharma – To you it only brings pain and sufferings. You need to understand this disease, recognize its symptoms, and seek out the natural remedies – for zero side effects and better health.
Knowledge is the power – you need to differentiate between the disinformation promoted by a greedy Healthcare Industry and the hard facts. It is your health and, as such, it is your responsibility.