If you want to understand the disease diabetes, then you will first have to understand how your body works. So, let’s take a look at the working of nature’s most wonderful creation.
- What You Should Know About Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Your Diet and Diabetes
How does Your Body Work?
Your body breaks down the food that you eat during the process of digestion. Food gets broken down into three groups – fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Where does this come from?
Protein comes from fish, meat, eggs, and other dairy products. Fats come from vegetable oils, cheese, certain dairy products, and meat. Carbohydrates come from sugars and starches found in fruits, vegetables, bread, and pasta that you eat.
The carbohydrates break down into glucose, which gives you the energy needed for carrying out the body functions as well as the daily activities. So, the energy that you require for walking, taking an aerobics class, working at your office, or doing the household chores, comes from carbohydrates.
However, in order to break down glucose to release energy, your body needs the hormone insulin that assimilates the glucose. This insulin is secreted by your pancreas, along with other enzymes needed for digestion. Pancreas is located near your stomach and may get damaged due to consumption of excessive alcohol, or disease, or if removed through surgery.
What Happens In A Diabetic’s Body?
A diabetic’s body produces little or no insulin at all. In some cases, it happens that the cells produce insulin but they become resistant to it. Hence, glucose cannot be absorbed.
This unabsorbed glucose starts accumulating in your bloodstream. Your body then tries to get rid of this excess glucose through frequent urination, which is one of the first signs of diabetes.
If you do not treat diabetes on time, it may cause serious complications, and even death. Those who have Type 2 diabetes already suffer from one or more of the complications.
The Scenario Of Diabetes
About 10 percent of diabetics in America have Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes. This diabetes usually occurs during childhood or in teenage. It can also occur in adults in case the pancreas is damaged or removed through surgery. You need to take insulin shots daily in order to remain alive in this type of diabetes.
The most common type of diabetes, however, is Type 2 diabetes, inflicting about 90 percent of diabetics in America. The body develops a resistance to insulin secreted by the pancreas.
This diabetes is generally diagnosed in adults over the age of 45. Younger people may also get this diabetes. Weight loss, regular exercise, modification in eating habits, and oral medications are the treatments used to control this condition.
The unfortunate thing is that around one third of the people are not aware of their condition. Much of the damage is already done to the body before diabetes is diagnosed. So, the key to control diabetes at an earlier stage is to be alert regarding the first signs of the disease. Do not be lax; it may cost you your life!
What You Should Know About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, has a heavy impact on the life of the patient. And this disease attacks without any warning, especially children and teenagers.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the beta cells present in your pancreas stop producing sufficient amount of insulin, which is a hormone that transports sugar to the cells where it is broken down to be converted into fuel for the body.
Due to the low levels of insulin, the sugar cannot be broken down and remains in the bloodstream. This shoots up the blood sugar levels in your body. This triggers an increased hunger, as your body longs for energy. The high sugar levels in your blood makes you urinate frequently, which, in turn, makes you feel thirsty every now and then.
Five To Ten Years Down The Line…
After living with diabetes for about 5-10 years, the beta cells responsible for producing insulin are completely damaged and cannot be repaired. The body completely stops the production of insulin, and the patient has no choice but to depend entirely on insulin administered from outside.
Although medical experts are familiar with the way diabetes proceeds, they are still unaware of the root causes of the disease. Type 1 diabetes is not so common and only about 3 percent of people suffer from it. In other words, 1 in every 7,000 children develops this type of diabetes every year.
What To Do When You Have Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetics have to consider a host of things to control their disease. You have to check your blood sugar levels almost six times a day. For doing this, you have to prick your finger to take the blood for test.
If your sugar levels are too high, you may encounter a hyperglycemic reaction. If your blood sugar levels fall too low, you may encounter a hypoglycemic reaction. Therefore, besides checking your blood sugar levels, you have to maintain your sugar level through insulin shots, a healthy diet, and regular exercise.
If you have extremely low blood glucose levels, you can raise it by taking something sugary such as soda or fruit juice.
If you have extremely high blood glucose levels, you have to visit your doctor and take more detailed actions. High glucose levels may cause poisoning of your blood, which can prove to be fatal, if not treated immediately.
In short, type 1 diabetics have to take a lot of care to control their condition. If you are careful, then diabetes is treatable. But if not, then it can be fatal.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus or non insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic disease that develops when the glucose levels in your blood reaches a high. This happens when your body is not able to utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas.
Importance Of Insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced in the beta cells present in the pancreas. This hormone transports glucose, which is a simple sugar, to the cells of your body wherein it is broke down to convert into fuel that is used to carry out the normal functions of your body.
When the glucose cannot be transported to the cells, they remain as it is in your bloodstream, thus, rising the blood glucose levels. Most of the people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. About 97 per cent of the new cases of diabetes are of type 2 condition.
Who Is At Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes?
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which attacks all of a sudden, Type 2 diabetes creeps slowly. It often occurs in obese people. When the glucose levels in your bloodstream reach a peak, it results in hyperglycemia. And it happens mostly in Type 2 diabetics, as they are resistant to insulin and have a high level of sugar in their blood.
Obese people are more prone to develop insulin resistance. This is because the excess fats interfere with the utilization of insulin by the body.
However, do not think that Type 2 diabetes spares the thin people. The skinny ones are at risk too. Besides this, elderly people can also develop this type of diabetes.
Other Factors That Pose A Risk For Type 2 Diabetes
- Unhealthy diet
- Low levels of physical activity
- An HDL cholesterol level more than 250mg/dL or less than 35mg/dL
- A history of gestational diabetes
- More than 45 years of age
- Overweight, especially when the extra flab hangs around the waist
- Being Native American, African-American, or Hispanic
When To Call Your Doctor?
The following are the signs that may indicate that you have Type 2 diabetes. Do not ignore. As soon as you feel such signs, call your doctor for a check up of your blood sugar levels.
- A constant thirst for water
- Frequent urge to urinate
- An increase in appetite
There are three techniques used to diagnose Type 2 diabetes:
- Oral glucose tolerance test
- Random blood glucose level test
- Fasting blood glucose level test.
These tests determine whether your glucose levels are high enough to conclude an insulin resistance condition, which signifies Type 2 diabetes. If you are diagnosed with this type of diabetes, you will have to follow the treatment, which includes medications as well as change in your lifestyle in order to control the disease.
Treatment is the key to fight diabetes. The more you ignore the symptoms, the worse your condition will become. So, do not let diabetes control you. If you are doubtful, call your doctor now!
Your Diet and Diabetes
When your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes, you have to revamp your lifestyle, especially your eating habits.
However, there is no exclusive set of recipes for the diabetics; you only have to keep in mind certain techniques while cooking, so that you maintain the nutrition level of your meal without excess fat.
The best way is to use the food pyramid. It will guide you regarding your body’s needs. Remember, you have to be concerned about the amount of carbohydrates in your diet. It should not be in an excess.
A GREAT WAY TO KEEP YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS STEADY IS TO CONSUME THE SAME KIND OF FOOD AT THE SAME TIME EVERYDAY FOR A WHOLE WEEK.
The Importance of Soluble Fibers
Soluble fibers are quite beneficial during diabetes. They are present in most of the fruits and vegetables. They slow down the assimilation of glucose in your intestine. This prevents the blood sugar levels from increasing too much and leading to hyperglycemia.
Kidney bean is a rich source of soluble fibers. And when cooked, they contain the highest level of soluble fiber.
The Importance of Insoluble Fibers
Insoluble fibers are equally helpful for diabetics. They are present in whole grains and bran. Insoluble fibers help in keeping your intestinal tract clean, which in turn, assures that glucose is not absorbed quickly.
Tips To Maintain A Stable Blood Sugar Level
The American Dietetic Association has recommended certain tips to keep your blood sugar level steady through a healthy diet.
- Increase the amount of starch in your diet. Have at least six servings of starch everyday.
- Starch is present in bread, cereal, and certain vegetables.
- Corn, black beans, and garbanzo beans are also good sources of starch that can make your meal nutritious.
- Stick to a five-a-day plan, in which you eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits everyday.
- Cut down drastically on your intake of sugars.
Visit To A dietician is A Must
When you are diagnosed with diabetes, your first step should be to visit a good dietician who can sit with you and chalk out a diet plan according to your body’s requirements. Remember; do not try to create a diabetic diet plan on your own. Let you dietician do this for you.
They will consider factors such as your body weight, your activity level, type of medications you are taking, and so on to determine your exact body needs. And once your diabetic diet has been planned, please stick to it. Your carelessness can lead you to a matter of life and death.
If you are not familiar with any dietitian in your area, contact the American Association of Diabetes Educators. They will assist you in finding yourself a competent dietician.
So, bid adieu to an erratic lifestyle and embrace health!