Finding out you have diabetes can be scary. People with diabetes can live long healthy lives. Let’s go over some basics. This is diabetes made simple. When we eat, food travels to the stomach. Food is made up of three basic components. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, otherwise known as glucose. Here’s a quick fact, carbohydrates include foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, milk and yogurt. In a normal digestive process sugar travels from the stomach, through the blood stream, to your body’s muscle and fat cells. However, sugar can’t enter these cells without the help of a special hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas.
Insulin acts like a key, unlocking the door. First the muscle and fat cells and allowing the sugar to enter. The cells then use the sugar as fuel to provide energy for the body. When this process is functioning properly, sugar entering the blood stream from the stomach is able to exit the blood stream at the muscle and fat cells. In this manner the body is able to regulate the concentration of sugar in the blood stream.
Now let’s see what happens in a person with diabetes. Sugar enters the blood stream but one of two things happens. Either the pancreas does not produce sufficient quantity of insulin to match the sugar entering the blood stream or the body cells do not respond to the insulin the body is producing. In both cases the result is the same. Cell doors remain closed causing sugar to get back into the blood stream. As a result, blood sugar levels rise.
This creates several problems because sugars are not able to enter your body cells, your body is not getting the fuel it needs. The result, you may feel tired or fatigued. Your body may try to dilute the excess sugar in the blood stream by pulling fluid out of your cells this can leave you feeling dehydrated and thirsty. Most importantly, over-time, exposure to high blood sugar levels can cause damage to vital organs connected to the bloodstream such as your eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. If not controlled properly, diabetes can lead to serious complications such as – blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
In order to avoid these complications, people with diabetes must take steps to keep their blood sugar levels within the normal range. One way to do this is through diet. By reducing the amount of carbohydrates in a single meal or snack, you can regulate the amount of sugar in the bloodstream to prevent your body’s insulin supply from becoming overwhelmed. This may mean limiting high sugar foods, such as cake, pie, candy and soda. You know the ones!
Another way to regulate blood sugar is through exercise. Physical activity makes your body’s muscle and fat cells more receptive to insulin. In other words, those muscle and fat cells which wouldn’t open before, now they will.
Finally, your doctor may prescribe oral medications to increase your supply of insulin, regulate the amount of sugar in your blood stream or make your body cells more receptive to the insulin your body is producing. In some cases, insulin shots may also be necessary.
In review, we’ve talked about what diabetes is. A condition where the body does not produce enough insulin. Where the body cells are not receptive to the insulin being produced. We’ve seen what complications can arise from it. Such as fatigue, dehydration and damage to vital organs and finally we’ve discussed ways to manage it through diet, exercise and medication.
E245 – Diabetes made Simple! – www.diabetic.today