I never really thought of diabetes as being a health risk in my life until my grandmother died of diabetes. It was then that I realized that diabetes runs in my family. Diabetes is when the body fails to produce adequate insulin amounts that the body needs to regulate the glucose in the blood. There are two types of diabetes; type 1, which are those who need insulin injections to regulate blood-glucose levels and type 2 which are those who are non insulin dependent. .
Diabetes is most common in adults over 45 years of age; in people who are overweight or physically inactive; in individuals who have an immediate family member with diabetes; and in people of African, Hispanic, and Native American descent. The highest rate of diabetes in the world occurs in Native Americans. More women than men have been diagnosed with the disease.
I talked with my grandfather about my grandmother's diabetes and how it affected her life and eventually her death. My grandmother had Type 1 diabetes, which meant she needed insulin injections. My grandfather said she needed anywhere from four to six injections a day. When I was a little kid I could remember seeing my grandfather giving my grandmother her insulin injections. .
As my grandmothers got older her diabetes progressed. My grandfather told me that she slowly started to lose her eyesight, until eventually not being able to see at all. When I looked into diabetes more I found out that diabetes can cause tiny blood vessels to become blocked. When this occurs in blood vessels of the eye, it can result in retinopathy (the breakdown of the lining at the back of the eye), causing blindness.
My grandmother's diabetes also affected her kidneys, which eventually lead to kidney failure. This is called nephropathy (the inability of the kidney to properly filter body toxins). She also suffered from high blood pressure, which is common in people with type1 diabetes.