If you have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, or gestational diabetes you are still trying to make sense of what you have been learning. To really understand the diabetes facts and how to manage diabetes, you must first understand how your body‘s digestive system works.
For a person diagnosed with diabetes, blood glucose levels are above normal (fasting glucose is greater than 126 mg/dL). Most of the food you eat is turned into sugar (glucose). The pancreas is an organ that lies just behind and under the stomach.
The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that help glucose enter the cells of your body. Your cells change the glucose to energy and cell building material. This is why people with untreated diabetes feel tired and suffer rapid weight loss. Their cells are starving for glucose.
Insulin regulates the various chemical processes that control how your body handles carbohydrates and other nutrients. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin (insufficiency) and/or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should (Insulin Resistance).
This causes sugar (glucose) to build to high levels in your blood stream. This glucose stays in your blood stream and blood vessels, organs like your kidneys, and eyes. Diabetes is sometimes called the “silent killer” for this reason; early on you do not see or feel the damage that is being done.
The digestion process is very complex involving chemistry, physics, biology. Click here to view the digestion process using a Type Free Interactive Learning Module.
To understand diabetes mellitus as high glucose levels in the bloodstream; think of your bloodstream as a race track. Cars (glucose) race around in circles. There is a big entrance for new cars. After a meal many new cars enter the race track. But there is only a small exit (because of resistance)for the vehicles to leave. Normally, the exit gates are unlocked and opened by insulin guards.
With diabetes there are fewer guards to unlock the exit gates. The cars will continue to circle the causing congestion, road wear and tear, and collisions – damaging the walls of the track. As you can see, the role of the track guard is crucial to smooth traffic flow. Without the track guard, the system faces serious effects of Diabetes.
The action of insulin lets glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids into the cells to be broken down into usable units of energy that can power your body throughout the day. And, cell building material to replace old or damaged cells. Remember: your body needs energy to carry out life functions like the pumping of blood by the heart.
In order to ensure that sugar molecules are removed from the bloodstream and turned into energy, individuals with Type 2 Diabetes must increase their physical activity and take Diabetes medication, and decreasing the amount of carbohydrate rich foods that they eat. Take a moment and click here to better understand the role of high glycemic index carbohydrates on diabetes.
Diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Catching Diabetes early will help to prevent serious complications that can occur if the diseases goes untreated.
Please check with your doctor if you have some of the following symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Unexplained weight loss
- Extreme hunger
- Sudden vision changes
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Feeling very tired much of the time
- Very dry skin
- Sores that are slow to heal
- More infections than usual.
Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of these symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes.
What are the primary types of diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes may account for 5% to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Eating nutritious food for diabetes, increasing physical activity, blood glucose testing and insulin injections are the basic therapies for type 1 diabetes. The amount of insulin taken must be balanced with food intake and daily activities. Blood glucose levels must be closely monitored through frequent blood glucose testing.
Type 2 diabetes account for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Eating Nutritious foods for diabetics, increasing physical activity, and testing blood glucose levels are the basic therapies for type 2 diabetes. In addition, many people with type 2 diabetes require oral medication, insulin, or both to control their blood glucose levels.
If you have diabetes you will need to build a health team. This team will include general practitioner who will monitor your long term blood sugar control and help you learn to manage your diabetes.
In addition, you should see:
- an endocrinologist a specialist who treats hormone disorders such as diabetes.
- an ophthalmologist for eye examinations;
- a podiatrist for routine foot care.
- Dietitians and Certified Diabetes Educators teach the skills needed for daily diabetes management.
- Your primary care physician can recommend a specialist in any one of these fields to you, should you need it.
Diabetes is a very complex disease, with many complications if it is not aggressively managed. This is the simplified version of the basics. It provides a good foundation for many follow-up questions with your health care providers. Make a choiceto be aggressive about your care if you have been recently diagnosed or are at risk.
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