What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an insulin related disease that can be chronic and is a direct result of how your body digests sugar or glucose which is the body’s main source of energy and fuel. Diabetes can be defined as having too much glucose in the blood and not enough in the cells of your body. Type I diabetes means the insulin producing cells are completely destroyed. Type 2 occurs when the body’s cells become resistant to the insulin that is being produced. Both diabetes types indicate that your cells are not getting the glucose needed. If you do not treat diabetes, you will have a reduced quality of life or even a life threatening situation. Diabetes has no cure, but there are management programs that can keep your diabetes in check.
Glucose or sugar is necessary for cells to make energy, and provide good liver functions. Your liver metabolizes glycogen into glucose to keep sugar levels in the proper range and diabetes causes this process to be stopped. The hormone insulin that comes from the pancreas allows sugar to enter cells and helps lower the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. When your blood sugar level drops, the secretion of insulin from your pancreas also drops. No direct cause of diabetes has been documented, but case studies point toward obesity or excess weight and inactivity.
Diabetes causes your heart, nerves, eyes, blood veins and kidneys to be adversely affected. You are at risk for blood vessel and heart disease including strokes, narrowing of the arteries and high blood pressure. Neuropathy or nerve damage can be caused by the walls of capillaries and blood vessels being damaged by too much glucose. Kidneys will also be damaged because of decreased blood flow and eyes are at risk for blindness, cataracts and glaucoma. Feet become problems and those with diabetes are at increased risks for Alzheimer’s.
Symptom of Diabetes
You can be diabetic for years before symptoms manifest in dangerous levels. Sugar builds up in up in the bloodstream and pulls fluids from tissues causing you to be thirsty and urinate frequently. You may have symptoms of increased hunger as your muscles and organs lose energy. Weight loss can be a symptom; you eat more, but you cannot seem to gain weight. Fatigue from cell sugar deprivation makes you irritable, and your vision may become blurred. Slow healing sores and chronic sicknesses are symptoms. There may be an added symptom of having areas of dark, velvety skin in the folds of your body. You may also experience neuropathy or tingling or numbness in your hand, legs or feet. This happens gradually as consistently high glucose in the blood damages the nervous system. Nerve damage can occur without your knowledge. Neuropathy can improve when tighter blood glucose control is activated. Watch for symptoms that include skin that is dry and itchy, infections or cuts and bruises that take a great deal of time to heal.
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