Diabetes – What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a terribly debilitating disease that is affecting millions of people each year. It occurs when your body isn’t producing enough insulin, or it’s not able to use the insulin it does have effectively.
The good news is that it can be treated and can be avoided or delayed with diet, exercise and medications. It is also important to know the symptoms, so you can tell whether you have a problem and seek treatment.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is an ongoing (long-lasting) health issue that affects the way your body transforms food into energy. It occurs when your pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or fails to properly use it.
Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells absorb and use sugar, which is called glucose. People with type 2 diabetes aren’t able to make enough insulin or their bodies aren’t able to make it in a proper way.
In both forms of diabetes, the blood sugar levels are too high over time. This can lead to problems with the eyes, feet and kidneys. It could also harm your heart arteries and brain.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that your body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells inside the pancreas. This process can take months or years and eventually lead to the complete absence of insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin each day. They also need to monitor their blood glucose levels and adjust their food, insulin and activity levels to keep their blood sugar within a healthy range.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2, your body is not producing insulin as it should. Insulin is a hormone that helps your cells remove blood sugar (glucose) out of your blood and into your cells, where it can be used as energy.
People with type 2 diabetes need to treat their diabetes through a healthy diet and regular exercise. They may also have to take medication to manage their blood glucose levels.
The signs of diabetes in women
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects people from all races, ethnicities and genders. However, women are at a higher risk than males.
Women who suffer from diabetes have a higher chance of developing complications than men, including heart disease (the most commonly reported diabetes complication) and loss of vision.
One early warning sign of women with diabetes is a higher thirst and increased urinary frequency, also known as polydipsia. This is because diabetes causes excessive sugar to accumulate in your blood and your kidneys aren’t able to eliminate it properly.
Men with diabetes: Symptoms
In the case of diabetes, cells are unable to use blood sugar (glucose) to produce energy. This is typically because the pancreas ceases to produce enough insulin.
This results in high blood sugar levels. Your body will then attempt to lower these levels by flushing the excess glucose in your bloodstream through urine.
People with diabetes are typically thirsty, and they have to drink a lot of fluids.
Men also may lose weight since their bodies use muscle for energy rather than fat. This is due to the fact that their blood sugar levels stay high for prolonged periods of time.
Developing a healthy diabetes diet is a key element in managing your diabetes. It can help regulate blood sugar levels, manage weight and reduce the risk factors that can lead to heart disease.
You should include whole foods in your diet, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, dairy products that are low in fat products, beans, and legumes are great choices. It should be low in added sugars and saturated fats (unhealthy).
You may want to limit your intake of sweetened drinks with sugar. These drinks usually contain a lot of sugar in them that can cause elevated blood sugar levels.
Your doctor may prescribe diabetic medications to help keep your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels within the normal range. These medications are usually combined with lifestyle changes, like physical activity and diet, to manage the condition.
If your blood sugar levels aren’t controlled on one medicine it is possible that a different medicine will be added. Your doctor will guide you to determine the most appropriate medicine for your personal preferences and needs.
The latest medications, including sodium-glucose-cotransporter-2 inhibitors and glucagon like antagonists of the peptide-1 receptors, lower blood sugar levels and are beneficial for the kidneys and cardiovascular system, while decreasing the chance of developing complications. They’re also helpful for weight loss and are available in tablet and injectable forms.