Understanding Diabetes  

Understanding Diabetes

What Is Diabetes? 

Diabetes causes a person to have an excessive level of blood sugar. This upsets the normal process of transferring sugar from the bloodstream into cells that is required for energy. When the body cannot metabolize glucose, a number of vital mechanisms can break down resulting in life-threatening consequences. Understanding Diabetes is important because people don’t die directly from diabetes but they die from the complications.

The complications include heart disease, stroke, poor kidney function, peripheral arterial disease, and nerve damage. Poor blood circulation to the feet will lead to ulcers, which in severe cases require amputation of the affected limb. Diabetes is also the cause of blindness among adults. A large proportion of diabetes patients die of heart attacks or stroke.  

Experts believe that fat accumulated in the belly and waist can indicate a higher risk for diabetes. Usually, fat in the pancreas and the liver appear to disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar. 

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There are two types of diabetes, they are Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes starts mainly in childhood, and currently doctors do not know how to prevent it. The major factor in Type 2 Diabetes is the excess body fat.

What are the definitions of Diabetes Terminology?  

Type 1 Diabetes  

The insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are attacked by the immune system. As a result, insulin is not produced and without the assistance of insulin, the glucose molecules cannot enter into the cells.  

Type 2 Diabetes  

In most cases, the pancreas produce a limited amount of insulin. In case the receptors are less responsive to insulin, portals that are needed to absorb glucose from the blood are not activated. Glucose builds up in the bloodstream, thwarting vital processes and damaging vessel walls.  

What is the Role of Glucose in a Human Body? 

Glucose provides energy to the body’s trillions of cells and to enter the cells, it needs insulin, a chemical released by the pancreas. In Type 1 Diabetes, insulin is simply not available. In Type 2 Diabetes, the body makes insulin but is usually not enough. Moreover, the cells are reluctant to allow insulin in a condition called insulin resistance and the result is the same for both forms of diabetes which is hungry cells and dangerous levels of sugar in the blood. 

In Type 1 Diabetes, a person’s immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. Therefore, Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease and is sometimes called immune mediated diabetes. There are certain factors that can trigger an immune reaction which include viruses, toxic chemicals, and certain drugs. Genetic makeup may also be the cause for Type 1 diabetes which often runs in families and with Type 2 diabetes, the genetic factor is even stronger. Diabetes usually occurs in those who are over 40 years of age. 

What is the Role of the Pancreas in a Human Body?  

The pancreas lies just behind the stomach and a healthy pancreas sustains smooth, stable blood-sugar levels by releasing just the right amount of insulin as glucose levels. After a meal, the pancreas increases the glucose content of the blood, releasing the proper amount of insulin. An insulin molecule becomes attached to receptors on muscle cells and other cells. This activates portals which allow glucose molecules to enter. Then glucose is absorbed and burned by muscle cells. In this way, the glucose levels in the bloodstream return to normal.  

Beta cells within the pancreas are the source of the hormone insulin. In case beta cells fail to produce enough insulin, glucose builds up in the blood, causing hyperglycemia. The low blood sugar is called hypoglycemia. Along with the pancreas, the liver helps to manage blood sugar levels by storing excess glucose in a form called glycogen. When commanded by the pancreas, the liver converts glycogen back into glucose for the body’s need.  

What can you do to Reduce the Risk of Diabetes? 

There are three Steps that may reduce the Risk of Diabetes.

1. You need to test your level of blood sugar, if you are in a high-risk group. A medical disorder known as pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is moderately higher than normal which often leads to type 2 diabetes. Although diabetes can be controlled, it cannot be cured. On the other hand, pre-diabetics may have no symptoms but they are able to bring their blood sugar to normal levels. 

Pre-diabetes is harmful but the symptoms are unnoticed. Type 2 diabetes has recently been linked to an increased risk of dementia. If you are overweight and not physically active or have a family history of diabetes, you might already have pre-diabetes. A blood test can make you aware of it.  

2. Choose healthful food – You might benefit from consuming smaller portions of meals than usual. Instead of sugary fruit juice and carbonated beverages, you can drink water, tea or coffee. You can eat whole-grain bread, rice in moderation rather than refined foods. You can eat leaner meats, fish, nuts, and beans.

3. Stay physically active – Exercise can lower your blood sugar levels. However, exercise by people with diabetes should be supervised because diabetes can damage the vascular system and nerves, thus affecting blood circulation. If a simple scratch on the foot goes unnoticed, it can turn into an ulcer which may lead to amputation if not treated immediately. Smokers put themselves at a greater risk, their habit can damage the heart and circulatory system and it also narrows the blood vessels. One reference state that 95 percent of diabetes which are related to amputations involve smokers.

You cannot change your genes, but you can change your lifestyle. It is worth the effort if we do what we can to improve our health. The number of changes in food habits and activity patterns you need to avoid is consumption of outside foods, regularly skipping breakfast, high consumption of soft drinks and fast foods, reduction of physical activity l. It will be advisable to stay away from junk food. 

“If you are over 45 and if you have any of these risk factors like family history of glaucoma, near sightedness, diabetes, a previous eye injury or regular use of cortisone/steroid products you need to get your eyes tested every year for glaucoma. 

What you need to know about Insulin Therapy?  

Many with diabetes should supplement their diet and exercise program with daily testing of glucose levels along with multiple insulin injections. As a result of improved health through diet and a good routine of exercise, some with Type 2 Diabetes have been able to discontinue insulin therapy, at least for a time. Some of these people were helped by oral medication but this is not usually prescribed for Type 1 Diabetes. At present, insulin cannot be taken orally, because digestion breaks this protein down before it reaches the bloodstream.   

Exercise and a good diet are necessary even if you are undergoing insulin therapy or oral medication. Exercise can increase the efficiency of insulin being injected. If you carefully control your blood sugar, then whatever form of diabetes you have, the health problems can be minimized later. Medical authorities recommend people with diabetes should always carry an identification card which can save a life during emergency.   

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