Blood Sugar 101

Diabetes – What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious condition that affects millions of people every year. It occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it’s unable to utilize the insulin it does produce effectively.

Exercise, diet and medication can help prevent or delay the development of the disease. It is also important to understand the symptoms so you can determine if there is a problem and seek treatment.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health problem (long-lasting), which alters how your body converts food into energy. It occurs when your pancreas stops producing enough insulin or doesn’t utilize it as efficiently as it should.

Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb and utilize sugar, which is known as glucose. People suffering from type 2 diabetes don’t make enough insulin or their bodies aren’t able to make it in a proper way.

In both forms of diabetes, blood sugar levels become too high in time. This can lead to issues in the kidneys, eyes and feet. It could also cause damage to arteries in your heart and brain.

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. The destruction can happen over several months or even years before resulting in the absence of insulin completely.

Insulin is needed by people with type 1 diabetes every day. They also must monitor their blood sugar levels and adjust their the insulin, food and activity levels to keep their blood glucose within an acceptable range.

Type 2 diabetes

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body is not producing insulin as it should. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells take blood sugar (glucose) out of your blood and into your cells, where it can be used to create energy.

Type 2 diabetes sufferers need to treat their diabetes by eating a balanced diet and regular exercise. They may also have to take medication to regulate their blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of diabetes in women

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects people of all races, ethnicities, and genders. Women are more susceptible than men.

Women who suffer from diabetes are more likely to experience complications, like heart disease (the most common diabetes-related complication), and vision loss.

Polydipsia is a warning sign for diabetes in women. This is due to diabetes causing excessive sugar to accumulate in the bloodstream and your kidneys aren’t equipped to remove it correctly.

Men with symptoms of diabetes

In the case of diabetes the cells are unable to use blood sugar (glucose) to generate energy. This is usually due to the pancreas ceases to produce enough insulin.

This can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. The body then attempts to lower these levels by flushing out the excess glucose in your bloodstream via urine.

People with diabetes frequently are thirsty and have to drink large amounts of fluids, up to four liters daily.

Men also may shed weight as their bodies rely on muscles for energy instead of fat. This is due to the fact that their blood sugar levels stay high for extended periods of time.

Diabetes diet

A healthy diabetes diet can be a key part of managing the condition. It can help you control blood sugar levels, manage weight and decrease the risk factors for heart diseases.

Your diet should consist of plenty of whole food items, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains beans, low-fat dairy and legumes. It should be free of added sugars and saturated fats (unhealthy).

You may also need to limit the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks you consume. These drinks are typically packed with sugar which can cause blood sugar levels to rise.

Diabetes medication

Your doctor might prescribe diabetes medications to help keep your blood sugar (glucose) levels within an acceptable range. These medications are usually combined with lifestyle changes, like physical activity and diet, to manage diabetes.

If your blood sugar levels are not being managed well with one medication, you may need to take a different medication. Your doctor can help you choose the best medicine to meet your needs and preferences.

Newer medications such as glucagon-like receptor agonists for peptide-1 as well as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors reduce blood sugar levels, provide cardiovascular and kidney benefits, and lower the risk of complications. They also aid in weight loss, and come in both tablets and injections.