What is Diabetes ?

Diabetes is a term used to refer to an assortment of diseases that have a negative effect on the way how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is essential for the overall well-being of the human body because it is the source of energy for the cells that constitute your tissues and muscles. In addition, it is the brain’s primary source of fuel.

 

1. Understanding Metabolism

 

In the quest help you get a better understanding of this chronic disease, it is imperative that you know how the body uses food for energy (metabolism). The body is made up of millions of cells and for these cells to provide your body with energy, they need food in the simplest of forms. When you eat or drink, the food is broken down into glucose, a simple sugar that is necessary for optimal functioning of body cells.

Blood vessels transport sugar throughout the body where it is absorbed in the stomach, or manufactured in the liver and later into the muscles where it is stored as fat. In order to facilitate the movement of sugar from the body into the cells, the pancreas releases insulin into the blood. The cells then take up the sugar and use it as energy.

When sugar moves from the bloodstream into the cells, the blood sugar level is lowered. In the absence of insulin, the sugar cannot be transferred from the blood to the body cells and this leads to an increase in the levels of sugar in the blood. Too much sugar in the blood is what is referred to as diabetes or hyperglycemia.

 

2. Types

 

There are two full-blown types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. No matter the type, both cases are chiefly caused by too much glucose in the blood, although there may a variant of other causes. The symptoms associated with these two types of chronic illness are numerous. They range from unexplained weight loss, frequent yeast infection, dry mouth, increased thirst, tingling in the hands and feet, dry skin and frequent urination just to name but a few.

 

3. Gestational Diabetes

 

Abbreviated as GD, this disease affects close to 4% of all expectant mothers. It appears during the second trimester and disappears soon after the woman delivers.

Just like the types mentioned earlier on, your body can’t use glucose effectively leading to an increase in the levels of blood sugar. Be sure to seek medical assistance at the earliest opportunity because if it is left untreated, GD may affect the unborn child.

 

4. Pre-Diabetes

 

This is a condition characterized by high levels of blood glucose, but not high enough to be termed as diabetes. Just like GD it is potentially reversible if early treatment is sought.

While there are the number of risk factors that can increase your chances of contracting diabetes, almost everyone is at the risk of getting the disease. However, adequate preventative measures can be taken to keep the disease at bay altogether. When diagnosed with the disease make sure you take the necessary measures to keep it under control.