What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, is an endocrine disorder where the pancreas does not respond appropriately to the sugar your body consumes during meals. In people with normal pancreatic function, the pancreas produces the proper amount of insulin to pair with the glucose in the bloodstream (blood sugar). The insulin then moves the glucose from the bloodstream to the cells to provide energy. However, in people with diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to move the glucose out of the bloodstream, or the body does not use the insulin appropriately. This causes the body to lose fuel and energy even though the person is eating regularly.

There are several types of diabetes; however most of the incidences of diabetes involve two main types:

Type 1 diabetes – Formerly known as “juvenile diabetes,” type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed during childhood, although some adults are diagnosed with the condition. This autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to attack and destroy the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This impairs the pancreas’s ability to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetics must take a daily insulin replacement.

Type 2 diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and is estimated to make up 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes diagnoses in the U.S. Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed in adults as well as children. Some risk factors for the disease are obesity, poor dietary habits, lack of exercise, and previous history of gestational diabetes. This type of diabetes is also more prevalent in certain ethnic groups such as African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Pacific Islanders. Approximately 80 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

In contrast to type 1 diabetes where the body does not produce enough insulin, people with type 2 diabetes usually produce enough insulin, but the body cannot use that insulin effectively. This is known as insulin resistance and over several years of living with the disease, it can cause insulin production to decrease. Glucose can build up in the bloodstream and the body struggles to use this energy source.

Common Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes has a wide range of disabling symptoms including the following:

  • Blurry or fuzzy vision that comes and goes
  • Constant hunger even though you are eating enough
  • Constant thirst even though you are drinking enough
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • More frequent infections
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Neuropathy, numbness, or tingling in the hands and feet 
  • Slow-healing wounds or sores
  • Unexplained weight loss

Long Term Complications Of Diabetes

Typically, it is long term complications from diabetes that cause disability.  Long term complications include:

  • heart disease
  • kidney failure
  • damage to blood vessel systems
  • blindness
  • loss of limb – amputation
  • stroke
  • permanent nerve damage
  • painful neuropathy 

Diabetes – Proving You Are Disabled to the Social Security Administration?

The Social Security Administration does not consider diabetes under the medical listings as a stand-alone diagnosis.  Instead, diabetes is evaluated based on its complications.  For example, kidney related problems like kidney failure are evaluated under the kidney disease listings.  However, diabetes often impacts multiple body systems and the symptoms it produces, such as fatigue and peripheral neuropathy, often preclude public employment.  If you suffer from diabetes and cannot work, call Chad Brown Law today at 336-962-5373 to see how we can help with a claim for Social Security disability benefits.