With growing numbers of people impacted by diabetes, it’s important to understand as much as possible about this chronic disease.
When you eat, your body turns food into sugars or what is called glucose. When this happens, your pancreas is supposed to release insulin. Think of insulin as a “key” that allows glucose to enter the body’s system and normalize blood sugars so they can be used for energy.
With diabetes this system doesn’t work.
Type 1 Diabetes
The body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. The immune system sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign and destroys them.
This means the sugar can’t be turned into energy and builds up in the blood. The body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose.
If left untreated, the high level of blood sugar can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves and the heart.
A person with type 1 diabetes treats the disease by increasing insulin, typically through injections. This outside source of insulin now serves as the “key,” bringing glucose to the body’s cells.
Daily finger pricks determine your current blood sugar levels, so you know if you need insulin (with a high blood sugar level reading) or if you need to consume/drink something high in sugar (with a low blood sugar level reading). You’re continually monitoring and striving to normalize your blood sugar readings.
There is a hereditary factor linked to type 1 diabetes, as well as poor health and overweight status as being complicating factors. The amount of insulin needed by a person with diabetes is impacted by:
• Emotions & general health
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes; it is non-insulin dependent and typically develops after age 35. However, a growing number of younger people are now developing type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes are able to produce some of their own insulin. Often, however, it’s not enough. And sometimes, the insulin will try to serve as the “key” to open the body’s cells, to allow the glucose to enter. But the key may not work.
Type 2 diabetes is often tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle.
Treatment focuses on diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels are still high, oral medications are used to help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
• Frequent urination
• Unusual thirst
• Extreme hunger
• Unusual weight loss
• Extreme fatigue
• Blurred vision
• Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal
• Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
• Recurring skin, gum or bladder infections
Type 2 diabetes may not have any symptoms.
• Fasting plasma glucose test A physician and these blood tests are used to definitively diagnose diabetes.
• A1C test
• Oral glucose tolerance test
My25 & Diabetes
For years, we’ve been helping people reduce their diabetes medications or eliminate them all together as a result of overall health improvement, including weight loss and a diet focused on more nutritious food and improved eating habits.