I woke up this morning, had a bath, made up a little, prepared myself breakfast- wait I meant a cup of tea, in there I added six teaspoons of sugar. Then I thought to myself, Francesca, too much sugar can cause Diabetes and seeing as my Dad is now a confirmed Diabetic, I stand a chance to suffer from the same disease in the near future.
Yes I have always heard about the disease and have a few ideas like patients injecting themselves insulin but I hadn’t taken the time to understand it. So I sat on my desktop and tried to enlighten myself on this disease.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that prevents the body from properly using energy from food. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin, or when the pancreas produces insulin, but it is resisted by the body.
Diabetes explained in simple words
Many people have heard of diabetes, but most people don’t know exactly what diabetes really is. When we eat food, it is broken down in glucose or sugar. Even though many health experts harp on not having too much sugar in the diet, you do need some glucose to help regulate your metabolism and give you energy.
During digestion, glucose moves through the body through the bloodstream to feed your cells. To be able to transfer the Blood sugar into the cells, your body needs insulin which is made by the Pancreas and released into the bloodstream.
The problem happens when you have too much blood sugar in your body compared to the amount of insulin your pancreas is providing.
If you’re body is not making enough insulin to keep up with the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, or if your body is having trouble making insulin, the glucose in the blood remains there and causes your blood sugar levels to elevate. If it continues, even after monitoring your diet, you will develop diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
Although there are three main types of diabetes, there is also a stage before diabetes called pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes, also known as Impaired glucose tolerance is a condition where your Blood sugar level elevates to a level higher than the normal range for most people, but is still low enough not to be considered diabetes.
People who have pre-diabetes are at a risk of developing Type 2 later in life if they do not monitor their condition carefully.
People who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes can help keep from progressing to a full blown diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes by watching their weight, exercising and eating the right foods.
The first main type of diabetes is Type 1 diabetes an autoimmune disease where the pancreas produces very little insulin or no insulin at all. People who get Type 1 diabetes are usually under the age of 20, usually presenting itself when the person is a child or young adult.
Some scientists believe that Type 1 diabetes is a genetic condition where the cells of the Pancreas are attacked and then stop functioning.
Because the pancreas cells that produce Insulin are destroyed, people who develop Type 1 diabetes will have the disease for life and will need treatment in the form of insulin shots or an insulin pump. In addition to insulin therapy, exercise and careful attention to diet is necessary to prevent fluctuations of blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes is normally found in people who are overweight as they get older. Although it is sometimes called adult onset diabetes, in some country, such as the United States, more children and young adults are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because they are not getting enough activity.
The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that with Type 2 diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body does not properly use it.
Type 2 diabetes is sometimes considered a lifestyle disease because it is normally triggered by living a fairly sedentary life, being overweight and not participating in exercise. However, age is a factor as well as heredity. If a parent or sibling develops Type 2 diabetes later in life, a person has greater chances to getting Type 2 diabetes as well.
The third main type of diabetes is Gestational diabetes, which is a condition that women can get when they are in the second trimester of pregnancy. About 4 percent of all pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes will disappear after the baby is born.
Symptoms of Diabetes of undiagnosed diabetes include:
- passing urine more often than usual, especially at night.
- increased thirst.
- extreme tiredness.
- unexplained weight loss.
- genital itching or regular episodes of thrush.
- slow healing of cuts and wounds.
- blurred vision.
If you experience any of the above, seek medical help.
I now believe that I have attained some knowledge on the disease and it’s up to you and I to decide which course of action to take. The decisions we make now will affect our healthy living in the future. I for one will start by reducing my sugar intake as I keep fit through having walks and strolls around.