WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problem Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIABETES?
The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
WHAT IS TYPE 1 DIABETES
The more severe form of diabetes is TYPE 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. It’s sometimes called “juvenile” diabetes, because type 1 diabetes usually develops in children and teenagers, though it can develop at any age.
YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM ATTACKS
With TYPE 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks part of its own pancreas. Scientists are not sure why. But the immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them. This attack is known as “autoimmune” disease.
These cells – called “islets” (pronounced EYE-lets) – are the ones that sense glucose in the blood and, in response, produce the necessary amount of insulin to normalize blood sugars.
Insulin serves as a “key” to open your cells, to allow the glucose to enter — and allow you to use the glucose for energy. Without insulin, there is no “key.” So, the sugar stays — and builds up– in the blood. The result: the body’s cells starve from the lack of glucose. And, if left untreated, the high level of “blood sugar” can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can also lead to coma and death.
So, a person with TYPE 1 treats the disease by taking insulin injections. This outside source of insulin now serves as the “key” — bringing glucose to the body’s cells.
The challenge with this treatment is that it’s often not possible to know precisely how much insulin to take. The amount is based on many factors, including:
– EMOTION AND GENERAL HEALTH
These factors fluctuate greatly throughout every day. So, deciding on what dose of insulin to take is a complicated balancing act.
If you take too much, then your body burns too much glucose — and your blood sugar can drop to a dangerously low level. This is a condition called HYPOGLYCEMIA, which, if untreated, can be potentially life-threatening.
If you take too little insulin, your body can again be starved of the energy it needs, and your blood sugar can rise to a dangerously high level — a condition called hyperglycemia. This also increases the chance of long-term complications.
WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
The most common form of diabetes is called type 2, or non-insulin dependent diabetes.
This is also called “adult onset” diabetes, since it typically develops after age 35. However, a growing number of younger people are now developing type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 are able to produce some of their own insulin. Often, it’s not enough. And sometimes, the insulin will try to serve as the “key” to open the body’s cells, to allow the glucose to enter. But the key won’t work. The cells won’t open. This is called insulin resistance.
Often, type 2 is tied to people who are overweight, with a sedentary lifestyle.
Treatment focuses on diet and exercise. If blood sugar levels are still high, oral medications are used to help the body use its own insulin more efficiently. In some cases, insulin injections are necessary.
HOW COMMON IS DIABETES?
As of 2015, 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 90-95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.
The risk of developing TYPE 2 diabetes increases with age. The number of children diagnosed with TYPE 2 diabetes is growing due to more overweight youth. Still, it is much less common in children and young adults than it is in older people. … And 25.9 percent adults 65 years or older have diabetes.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS CAN PEOPLE WITH DIABETES DEVELOP?
Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as
– HEART DISEASE
– KIDNEY DISEASE
– EYE PROBLEMS
– DENTAL DISEASE
– NERVE DAMAGE
– FOOT PROBLEMS
MONITOR YOUR EATING HABIT
As with any healthy eating program, a diabetic diet is more about your overall dietary pattern rather than obsessing over specific foods. Aim to eat more natural, unprocessed food and less packaged and convenience foods.
– Healthy fats from nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flax seeds, or avocados
– Fruits and vegetables—ideally fresh, the more colorful the better; whole fruit rather than juices.
– High-fiber cereals and breads made from whole grains
– Fish and shellfish, organic chicken or turkey
– High-quality protein such as eggs, beans, low-fat dairy, and unsweetened yogurt
– Trans fats from partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods
– Packaged and fast foods, especially those high in sugar, baked goods, sweets, chips, desserts
– White bread, sugary cereals, refined pastas or rice
– Processed meat and red meat
– Low-fat products that have replaced fat with added sugar, such as fat-free yogurt
GET MORE ACTIVE
EXERCISE can help you manage your weight and may improve your insulin sensitivity. An easy way to start exercising is to walk for 30 minutes a day (or for three 10-minute sessions if that’s easier). You can also try swimming, biking, or any other moderate-intensity activity that has you working up a light sweat and breathing harder.