Diabetes – What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious disease that affects millions of people every year. It is caused when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or when it can’t use the insulin it does have effectively.
Diet, exercise and medication can help prevent or delay the onset of the disease. It’s also important to be aware of symptoms to be able to tell if something is wrong and seek treatment.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health issue (long-lasting) that affects the way your body converts food into energy. It occurs when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin or isn’t able to use it as effectively as it should.
Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb and utilize sugar, also known as glucose. Type 2 diabetics aren’t producing enough insulin, or their bodies are unable to use it effectively.
In both forms of diabetes, the blood sugar levels are too high over time. This can cause problems with your eyes, feet and kidneys. It may also damage your heart arteries and brain.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a disease caused by an autoimmune reaction which means that your immune system attacks insulin-producing pancreatic cells and destroys them. The process of destruction can last for months or years, eventually leading to a total lack of insulin.
People suffering from type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. They also must monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust their food, insulin and activity levels to keep their blood glucose within an acceptable range.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes your body may not use insulin the way it should. Insulin is a hormone that assists your cells in moving glucose (blood sugar) from your blood into your cells, where it can be used as energy.
People suffering from type 2 diabetes have to manage their condition through a healthy diet and regular exercise. They may also need to take medication to regulate their blood sugar levels.
Signs of diabetes in women
Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects all races, ethnic groups, ages, and genders. However, women are at a greater risk than men.
Women with diabetes have a higher chance of developing complications than men, such as heart disease (the most frequent diabetes complication) and loss of vision.
One of the early signs of women suffering from diabetes is a higher thirst and increased urination, called polydipsia. This is due to diabetes causing excess sugar to build up in the blood, and the kidneys aren’t able get rid of it properly.
The signs of diabetes in men
In the case of diabetes the cells are unable to use blood sugar (glucose) for energy. This is usually because the pancreas produces insufficient insulin.
This can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. The body tries to reduce these levels by flushing the excess glucose from your bloodstream via urine.
People who have diabetes often experience thirst and require to drink large amounts of fluids, as much as four liters per day.
Men may also experience weight loss as their bodies break down muscle for energy, instead of fat. This is because their blood sugar levels are high for extended periods.
Developing a healthy diabetes diet is an important part of managing your condition. It can help you manage your blood sugar levels, manage your weight and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Include whole foods in your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, low-fat dairy products, beans, and legumes are good choices. It should be free of saturated (unhealthy) fat and added sugars.
You may consider limiting your consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar. These drinks usually contain lots of sugar which can result in elevated blood sugar levels.
Your doctor may recommend diabetes medications to help keep your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels in the normal range. These medicines are usually combined with lifestyle changes like eating habits and exercise to help manage your diabetes.
If your blood sugar is not being adequately controlled with one medication, you may need to add a second medication. Your doctor will guide you to pick the best medication for your preferences and needs.
Newer medications such as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and sodium-glucose inhibitors that lower blood sugar, have kidney and cardiovascular benefits, and reduce the risk of complications. They are also beneficial for weight loss and are available in tablet and injectable forms.