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Illnesses
Diabetes



Diabetes
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.69

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    amputations, blood-glucose, coma, comas, consciousness, detection, diabetic, diabetics, insulin-producing, noninsulin-dependent, pregnancy, slow-healing, bloodstream, glucose, genetic, medication
     content words:    United States


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Diabetes
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Do you know anyone with diabetes? Have you ever seen someone checking his blood sugar or giving himself an insulin shot? Have you ever wondered why?
 
2     What exactly is diabetes? Diabetes is a disease in which the cells in a person's body can't get glucose from the bloodstream thereby causing high blood-glucose levels. Now that sounds mighty complicated, doesn't it? Well, it really isn't. However, it is a really serious condition. In the United States about 16 million people suffer from diabetes. About 5 million don't even know they have it.
 
3     Think back to what you know about your digestive and circulatory systems. When you eat, your body breaks down the nutrients in food in order for your cells to have energy. With carbohydrates, the food is specifically broken down to glucose to be used by the cells for energy.
 
4     There are special cells in the pancreas that produce a hormone called insulin. Its job is to remove glucose from the bloodstream. When things are working properly, insulin is released when the blood glucose is high. It is not released when the glucose level is low.
 
5     When things are not working, though, the body urinates more. Thirst increases. Toxic substances build up in the bloodstream. Left untreated, a person can lose consciousness because of too much blood sugar and the buildup of toxic substances (often called a diabetic coma). Diabetic comas must be treated or death can result.

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Illnesses
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