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Diabetes is a disease caused by problems in the way your body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is a hormone that affects how the body uses glucose, the main type of sugar in the blood. Glucose comes from the foods we eat and is the main source of energy used by our bodies.
During digestion, your body breaks down the foods you eat into sugar and other nutrients, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Your blood sugar level rises after a meal and then triggers your pancreas to make insulin. Once in the blood, insulin works to allow sugar into your body’s cells. Without enough insulin, sugar can’t enter the cells effectively causing your blood sugar levels to be higher than normal. High blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, can be a sign of diabetes.
There are two major types of diabetes that people suffer from: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes. Both kinds of diabetes cause blood glucose levels to be higher than normal. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to help keep their blood sugar levels within a specified range.
People who suffer from Type 2 diabetes still produce insulin, but their body does not use insulin properly. Sugar is not able to enter the body’s cells effectively. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, the pancreas works harder to produce more insulin, and can eventually wear out. If this happens, the pancreas will no longer be able to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels within a normal range. Type 2 diabetes usually occurs gradually, and it often runs in families. If you are overweight, have a low activity level, and a poor diet, you have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because body fat (especially around the waist) interferes with your body’s ability to use insulin. However, people who are of normal weight can also develop type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that can lead to severe complications if it is not controlled. Some of the most serious long-term complications can include increased risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney failure, retinal disease leading to blindness, nerve damage, vascular disease, as well as other serious problems. However, with adequate treatment diabetes can be properly controlled so patients can lead normal lives.
The primary treatment for type 2 diabetes is proper exercise and diet. Regular exercise is important for everyone, but especially if you have diabetes. Exercising regularly helps control the amount of glucose in the blood. It also helps burn excess calories and fat so you can better manage your weight. Eating properly every day helps manage your weight and controls the amount of glucose in your blood. If diet and exercise are not bringing your glucose levels into desired range, medication may also be needed. Keeping diabetes under control is important to preventing long term complications.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent diabetes. Those who eat right, get regular exercise, don’t smoke, and keep their blood pressure under control are much less likely to develop diabetes. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor to learn more about your risk of getting diabetes. The more you know about diabetes, the easier it is to prevent it.
Note: Sometimes people with type 2 diabetes show no symptoms.