Answering The Question: What Is Diabetes?

Posted on August 3, 2015

More often than not, a healthy lifestyle isn’t triggered until one has a reason to take part. Eating healthy and exercising may be difficult for some, but avoiding these behaviors can create a new lifestyle that isn’t as exciting, diabetes.

DiabetesSpeaking of excitement, how would you feel if it was difficult for your body to produce energy? Commonly known as the “sugar” disease, diabetes can take over your life – and not in a positive way. The worst part? It can be avoided by simply taking care of yourself on a regular basis. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, and obesity is a common factor. Not only can this type of impairment end your life, but it can factor into the development of heart failure or disease, blindness, stroke, kidney failure, or nerve disease leading to  amputation.

So what is Diabetes, exactly? When we begin digesting our food, glucose (sugar) is turned into the energy that fuels our body. This energy is generated throughout our body by a hormone called insulin, which is created by our pancreas. Diabetes hinders the process of insulin generation and glucose begins building up in our blood instead of reaching the rest of our body. When those with Diabetes consume starchy vegetables, milk, yogurt, bread, cereals, fruit, legumes, and other sweets (foods with glucose), they’re unable to produce energy from it. In turn, the cells starve and the excessive amounts of sugar begin damaging internal organs and one’s normality of bodily function.

Although this doesn’t seem too complex, in order to ensure you’re not at risk, a diabetic is forced to monitor their blood sugar levels consistently – numerous times a day. Not only can this process wear on people over time, it can also lead to mental health concerns as depression or sadness settle in. Almost 1/3 of Diabetics experience anxiety, depression, or distress.

Diabetes Definition: The “official” definition of Diabetes is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism, usually occurring in genetically predisposed individuals, characterized by inadequate production or utilization of insulin and resulting the excessive amounts of sugar, or glucose, in the blood and urine. This is also known as Diabetes Mellitus.

Patients-talk-to-a-doctor-about-diabetes-TYPE-1-infographicsWhat Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is typically found in children and young adults and it isn’t very common among diabetic patients.  Although most research is unsure why, this form of the disease attacks one’s pancreas. Also known as autoimmune disease, this type views insulin-producing cells (islets) as a threat, or foreign, and begins to eliminate them. Environmental factors are said to play into the development of Type 1 Diabetes, but there is currently nothing you can do to prevent or rid yourself of this disease.

Type 1 Diabetes Definition

Type 1 Diabetes is defined as an autoimmune disease that occurs when T Cells attack and destroy most of the beta cells within the pancreas so the organ isn’t able to produce enough insulin – or no insulin at all. Without the capacity to make ample amounts of insulin, one’s body isn’t able to metabolize blood sugar (glucose), in order to use it as energy. When the glucose levels build up, toxic acids (keto acids) begin building up and damaging the body.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Patients-talk-to-a-doctor-about-diabetes-TYPE-2-infographicsThe most common form of the disease, Type 2 diabetes causes blood sugar levels to rise a lot higher than usual. Also known as hyperglycemia, this form causes your body to misuse or resist insulin. In the early stages of this disease, one’s pancreas begins generating additional amounts of insulin – but over time, it fails to reach normal blood glucose levels and simply cannot keep up with your body’s needs.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 2 Diabetes was once known as adult-onset or noninsulin dependent Diabetes. It’s considered a chronic condition that requires chronic care management by a professional or the individual themselves. As aforementioned, glucose is a fuel source for your body, and if you’re unable to maintain normal levels, one with this condition needs to take extra measures to obtain normal health standards.

Alike Type 1, Type 2 can also cause hopelessness and mental distress. As a cure is nonexistent, one must maintain their weight and exercise regularly while consuming healthy foods. At times, this isn’t enough and specific Diabetic medication and/or insulin therapy is suggested.

Type 2 Diabetes Definition

The dictionary defines Type 2 as a common form of Diabetes that develops especially in adults and most often in individuals categorized by hyperglycemia resulting from impaired insulin utilization alongside the body’s inability to compensate by producing more insulin.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

A0118_Gestational DiabetesIn almost 4% of all pregnancies, this form of diabetes is prevalent. It pertains to hormonal changes during pregnancy that impact insulin’s ability to function. In other words, your body doesn’t have the capability of producing enough insulin for you and the baby – to support the process of pregnancy. Gestational Diabetes is typically hormonal and more common in women over the age of 25.

A woman’s placenta supports their baby’s development by producing hormones during pregnancy. When insulin resistance occurs, these hormones block the use of insulin properly, therefore impacting the baby as well. Some women need up to three times the amount and this can impact the baby;s development tremendously.

This form of the disease is treatable – but if left untreated, it can increase the chance of future health risks in the mother or the child. Managing your blood glucose levels during pregnancy will aid in a successful delivery of a healthy and normal baby. Once the child is born, Gestational Diabetes may leave you, but your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes increases tremendously. Blood sugar levels typically return to normal 30-45 days after birth.

The Definition of Gestational Diabetes: 

Medicinenet.com has an interesting definition for Gestational Diabetes. They define this form as a condition that appears during pregnancy and usually disappears after birth. Best controlled by dietary adjustment, it can cause birth complications such as macrosomia. (large baby due to fat deposits) It increases the risk of low blood glucose levels, serum calcium, and serum magnesium in the child. Successful management of the mother’s blood sugar will determine whether or not the child develops any further abnormality.

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