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Diabetes ethnicity.JPG

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder wherein the pancreas either produces little or no insulin, or the cells do not respond appropriately to the insulin that is produced. Insulin is a hormone that instructs cells to uptake glucose from the bloodstream and store it as glycogen. There are four types of diabetes that one can get diagnosed with: pre-diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 and 2 are the most popular, but have different effects. Diabetes is a very common disease and many people struggle with controlling this sickness. Over 23.6 people live in the U.S. and out of those people 7.8 percent are diabetic. Every year around 1.6 million people that are 20 years and older get diagnosed with diabetes.[1]

Symptoms & Types

People rarely realize they have diabetes because the symptoms are so harmless. Some of the symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability, and blurry vision.[2] It is important that you contact your doctor if you notice several of these symptoms occurring. Some of these symptoms are warning signs for either type 1 or 2 diabetes. If you feel weak, are irritated, have abdominal pain, and excessively thirsty- you may have type 1 diabetes. If one is feeling continually weak, fainting often, a rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, and drowsy- one may be developing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This is an effect of having type 2 diabetes.[3]


Pre-diabetes generates when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed. Over 57 million people in the U.S. have pre-diabetes. There are two different types of test one can take to determine whether you have it or not: the fasting plasma glucose test (FPG) or the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).[4] One is at higher risk if there is family history of diabetes or if one suffers from insulin resistance and obesity. The cause of pre-diabetes is when insulin resistance creates an imbalance in glucose and insulin levels in the blood stream, which can lead to excessive weight gain through an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. Insulin resistance and obesity can be reversed by controlling weight loss through a balanced, nutritious diet, regular exercise,and an ongoing support.[5]

Type 1

In response to high levels of glucose in the blood, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas secrete the hormone insulin. Type I diabetes occurs when these cells are destroyed by the body’s own immune system.

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Sugar isn't moved into the cells because insulin is not available. When sugar builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, the body's cells starve for nutrients and other systems in the body must provide energy for many important bodily functions. High blood sugar occurs because of this.[6] Approximately 5-10% of diabetics have Type 1 diabetes. It is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers, and sometimes in young adults. This disorder increases the risk of Cardiovascular Disease, blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy) and kidney damage (nephropathy). To survive, patients must inject insulin medication regularly.[1]

Type 2

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes.[2] Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. In order for the body to be able to use glucose for energy, insulin is needed. As you eat your body breaks down the food into glucose as the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause health problems. Low levels of glucose (sugar) may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves, or heart. Overweight and obesity are leading factors in type 2 diabetes. This disease may take years or decades to develop. It is usually preceded by pre-diabetes.[7]

Type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem. Globally, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing at a rapid pace - estimated to be 2.8% in 2000 and 4.4% in 2030.[8]

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that can affect any woman during pregnancy. Pregnant women who have high blood sugar (glucose) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational diabetes. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women - about 135,000 cases of gestational diabetes in the United States each year. Poorly controlled gestational diabetes can end up hurting your baby. Your pancreas works overtime to produce insulin, but the insulin does not lower your blood glucose levels. Although insulin does not cross the placenta, glucose and other nutrients do. Extra blood glucose goes through the placenta to give the baby high blood glucose levels. This causes the baby's pancreas to make extra insulin to get rid of the blood glucose. Because the baby is getting more energy than it needs to grow and develop, the extra energy is stored as fat. This leads to giving birth to "fat" or macrosomia babies. Children that are born like this are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes.[9]

Risk factors and causes

The cause of diabetes is quite complex and still somewhat of a mystery. In many cases genetics, habits, and environment may all contribute to a person who is diagnosed with diabetes. Autoimmune diabetes (type 1 and latent autoimmune diabetes of adulthood, LADA) is more common in white people, but metabolic diabetes (type 2 and gestational diabetes) is more common in people of other races and ethnicities. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children, but aging is a risk factor for type 2 and gestational diabetes. Diabetes is one of the major risk factors for having a heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular-related diseases. The majority of diabetic patients have high blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease and other diabetic complications. People with diabetes can reduce their chances of cardiovascular disorders by exercising, eating right, and not smoking. [3]Other diabetic risk factors and causes include: Genetics and family history, weight and body type, lack of regular exercise, ones diet, other diseases, hormones, medical treatments, and smoking. People cannot alter their uncontrollable risk factors, but they can lower their risk of developing diabetes by improving health habits.[10]


Several types of insulin injections including: Novorapid and Lantus.

People diagnosed with diabetes are required regular monitoring by various healthcare providers to manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications. Patients also need to see an ophthalmologist and a dentist regularly. They may be referred as needed to other specialists such as a podiatrist, athletic trainer, cardiologist, nephrologist (kidney specialist) or neurologist. Diet and exercise are crucial in managing diabetes. You must maintain a healthy diet to properly treat diabetes.[11]


Beta cells make the hormone insulin from inside the pancreas. After you eat a meal, the beta cells release insulin to help the body store blood glucose its gets from food.[4] There are four main types of insulin: Rapid-acting, Regular or Short-acting, Intermediate-acting, and long-acting. Out of these four types there are three characteristics to insulin: onset, peaktime, and duration. Onset is the period of time before insulin reaches the bloodstream and begins to lower the blood glucose. Peaktime is the period which insulin is at its maximum strength to lower the blood glucose. Finally, the period duration is how insulin continues to lower the blood glucose. Rapid-acting insulin begins to work about 5 hours after injection, peak in one hour, and continue to work from two-four hours. Regular or Short-acting insulin often reaches the bloodstream within thirty minutes of injection. It peaks around two hours after injection and is effective for three- six hours. Intermediate-acting insulin generally reaches the bloodstream after injection from two-four hours. It peaks four- twelve hours later and is effective for twelve-eighteen hours. Long-acting insulin reaches the bloodstream after injection for six-ten hours and is effective from twenty- twenty four hours.[12] There are several ways to inject insulin into your body. Forms of insulin include syringe injections, insulin pumps, insulin pens, jet injectors and inhaled insulin.[11]


This diagram is an example of a nutritious diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There is currently no way to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes; however it is possible to control type 2 and life a healthy life. The main focus is on managing weight through regular exercise and a sensible diet. Such practices also help those people with other forms of diabetes avoid insulin resistance and double diabetes.[11] Thirty minutes a day of moderate physical activity, coupled with a 5-10% loss in body weight, has been found to produce a 58% reduction in diabetes.[13]

Those who already have diabetes can help prevent complications such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic neuropathy by maintaining control over their glucose levels. The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, a study that took place from 1983 to 1993, has found that keeping blood glucose close to its normal level can prevent damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.[14] Overall, God is ultimately in control of our lives and he will allow certain situations come into our lives so that we will draw closer to him. God's intention is not to watch us suffer, but to break through the struggles and help others through our life experiences.


  1. Diabetes Overview by WebMD.
  2. All About Diabetes Unknown Author, American Diabetes Association.
  3. Early Symptoms of Diabetes by WebMD.
  4. Pre Diabetes Unknown Author, American Diabetes Assosiation.
  5. SYMPTOMS OF PRE-DIABETES Unknown Author, Insulite Laboratories.
  6. Type 1 diabetes by WebMd.
  7. Type 2 Diabetes by American Diabetes Association.
  8. Wild, S., Roglic, G., Green, A., and King, H. (2004). Global Prevalence of Diabetes: Estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030. Diabetes Care 27, 1047-1053.
  9. Gestational Diabetes Unknown Author, American Diabetes Association.
  10. Risk factors and causes of diabetes Unknown Author, YourTotalHealth.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Treatment options for diabetes Unknown Author, YourTotalHealth.
  12. The Basics of Insulin Unknown author, American Diabetes Association.
  13. How to Prevent or Delay Diabetes Unknown Author, American Diabetes Association.
  14. DCCT and EDIC: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial and Follow-up Study Unknown Author, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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