Diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disease affecting approximately 7% of the US population.  Diabetes is categorized into two classes: Type 1, or insulin dependent diabetes, and Type 2, or adult onset diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone necessary for the metabolism of glucose.  Type 1 Diabetes is generally diagnosed in childhood or early adolescence and is considered to be primarily genetic in origin.  Symptoms include extreme hunger, fatigue, rapid weight loss and blurry vision.  There is no cure for Diabetes, but successful treatment includes insulin injections, blood sugar monitoring, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.

Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all Diabetes cases in the United States.  In Type 2 Diabetes, the body is either insulin resistant or the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.  This type is often preventable and is strongly linked to obesity.  Symptoms are similar to Type 1 Diabetes but, depending on the severity, treatment may only include blood sugar monitoring, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.  Severe or advanced cases may require medication and/or insulin injections.

Resources at Northwestern for Diabetes:

The Division of Endocrinology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for a variety of endocrine related disorders.  Physicians in the department specialize in endocrine tumors, endocrine disease genetics, gestational diabetes, and offer specialized services in diagnosis and treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.  The department participates in a variety of NIH-sponsored research trials.  Results from NMH’s participation in the National Institute’s of Health 10-year study on prevention of type 2 diabetes can be found at http://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/news/2009C-October/Diabetes.html.

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Northwestern Physicians/ Researchers specializing in Diabetes treatment:

The Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine at Northwestern University features a diverse faculty, many of whom are leaders in their field.  The department, headed by Dr. Andrea Dunaif, is committed to clinical and basic science research development and training.  The research interests of the department are diverse and extend to multiple subfields of endocrinology.  Researchers studying diabetes include Dr. Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, who studies the role of estrogen receptors in pancreatic cells, Dr. M. Geoffrey Hayes, PhD, who studies the genetic components of diabetes, and Dr. Boyd E. Metzger, MD, whose research on gestational diabetes has been widely published.

IWHR Highlighted Researcher

Dr. Robert F Kushner, MD, MS is the Clinical Director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity and a Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine.  Dr. Kushner has published various books, book chapters, and articles and serves on the editorial board of various prestigious journals including Obesity, Obesity Management, and the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.  Popular publications include Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet, Treatment of the Obese Patient and Fitness Unleashed: A Dog and Owner’s Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together.  Although Dr. Kushner’s research interests are in obesity and nutrition, his research and publications have implications for a diabetic population.  Recently he published a study in Obesity examining various lifestyle interventions for prevention of weight gain in type II diabetic patients taking the common diabetes medication pioglitazone (Actos®).  The study showed that the weight gain side effects commonly associated with this medication can be diminished or alleviated by lifestyle interventions such as medical nutrition therapy (MNT).  The greatest success was seen in patients who received intensive follow up MNT, which included lessons in meal planning, food preparation, goal-setting and exercise recommendations.

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Other Useful Links and Resources:




Diabetes is a horrible disease that affects so many people, including members of my own family. The best we can do is live an active like, with a healthy diet, and try to prevent the onset.

Diabetes is a serious ailment. My grandmother suffered from diabetes. My understanding, for most people, is that if this disease runs in your family, then the smartest thing that you can do is to watch your weight and exercise. I have friends with stage 2 diabetes, and once they were diagnosed, they went on a diet and started walking daily. It was amazing how much better that they started feeling and the injections of insulin were greatly reduced. One friend was able to get completely off of insulin. So I guess my point is, if it is possible for you to manage yourself, then you must do so. I know how difficult it is to loose weight as you age. But you have to make the tuff choice. It is either that or to live a life that may be very restrictive. The good thing is, if you are able to change your diet and exercise, the quality of your life will greatly be enhanced. These measures have been tested to help prevent dementia, cancer, and many other illnesses. Ask yourself, is it worth it. I think that we all know the answer.

"Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all Diabetes cases in the United States." Good Lord! Do you have documentation for that? Also, what are some good books to read on it? I don't know if I'm a candidate or not. <a href="http://www.personalizedpokerchipsguide.com" rel="nofollow">Chris</a>

Hi Chris! I agree 90-95% sounds pretty unbelievable, but alas it is true. There is a good article on New York Times health that talks about this http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/type-2-diabetes/background.html. I am not sure of any books that would be good for you to read, but there is also a lot of great information in the NY Times article and in the links at the bottom of our blog post. Thanks for reading!

Type 2 diabetes is mostly preventable with lifestyle modification. Making healthy changes in 4 main areas: nutrition, exercise, stress management and sleep can usually prevent or significantly delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

I'm always a little conflicted about the idea of spending tons of money on curing a health problem like diabetes, when it should be more "on the radar" to eliminate it by adopting a more healthy perspective in America. It's preventable, so why not spend that money motivating people to live healthy instead. I know my position isn't very popular, but it's possible. Come on America! Let's get back in shape!

Good exercising daily is the best way to fight any kind of diseases and also keep you fit. Great article! I think prevention is always better than cure, diabetes is a horrible disease that affects so many people, keep exercising.

Diabetes is terrible and seems to be growing at an alarming rate. The resources you have in your article are very good. November being American Diabetes month will only help with awareness of this terrible condition. linhuck

I had no idea that November was American Diabetes month. Diabetes runs in my family and this post was very informative and the statistics are overwhelming. I believe that staying active and eating a clean diet is the best way to treat diabetes.

90-95 % is an extremely high number. But then again, the US has the largest number of obese people in the world, due mostly to the bad eating habits of the majority of the population.

The symptoms of this disease in the advanced stages are horrifying. I have several people in my family who deal with this and it is much better to be proactive in the treatment, because once the body starts to deteriorate its too late.

Diabetes is a degenerative condition associated with the pancreas, for which common medicine offers treatments, and natural medicine offers a cure. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. The cells of the body are starved of energy due to a lack of the glucose-carrying insulin hormone. Type 2 Diabetes Also called adult-onset diabetes, insulin-resistant or non-insulin dependent diabetes, this type of diabetes is characterized by the body's rejection of insulin, despite whether it has been accurately produced by the pancreas or not. For type 2 diabetics, a build-up of glucose in the blood stream is common, whereby an insulin injection would serve little or no purpose.

I have to say that this is a well written piece. I agree with many of the comments here regarding the need for education.I have found that getting people to do Yoga, even just once a week, not only helps them but it puts them in a "right mind" so that it is easier to then make other healthier changes to their lives.

While diabetes is at epidemic proportions here in the US, I think its safe to say that education starting with our children in order to prevent it is crucial. If we as a society continue to "eat" as we do and teach our children by example to follow in our footsteps, then diabetes will continue to grow by each year. We can do so much good by proper nutrition...but it nutrition is usually not the focus.

Great overview and stats of the 2 types of Diabetes. Alarming indeed. I wonder why they weren't called different names, as the 2 can be quite confusing? Type 2 is definitely curable as there are too many examples where people have cured themselves through diet and exercise. Type 1 seems to be curable too though, but using far stricter diet and exercise regimes. An example I read was an exercise where they took 8 people with Type 1 on a raw food diet for a month and slowly reduced their insulin until they were off it completely. After just one month! Remarkable.

As a personal trainer I work with many clients who are diabetic. It is amazing the massive changes that can come about when a Type2 diabetic really gets going with a good Weight Training, Cardio, and Meal Plan program. I have even seen Type1 diabetics cut their insulin usage in half. David Johnston

I have a type 2 diabetes, and I know for a fact that in order to improve your condition one needs to realize that diabetes and exercise are going hand in hand. Whether you're taking long walks around your neighborhood, working out with a trainer at the gym, or scaling mountains, making physical activity a part of your daily routine can improve blood sugar control, help manage weight, maintain heart health, and convey myriad other benefits.