NOVEMBER HEALTH AWARENESS: DIABETES


Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also your brain's main source of fuel. The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems. Chronic diabetes conditions include type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Potentially reversible diabetes conditions include prediabetes — when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes — and gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy but may resolve after the baby is delivered.

Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how much your blood sugar is elevated. Some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially. In type 1 diabetes, symptoms tend to come on quickly and be more severe.

Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
  • Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age, though it often appears during childhood or adolescence. Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, can develop at any age, though it's more common in people older than 40.

    To understand diabetes, first you must understand how glucose is normally processed in the body.

    How Insulin Works

    Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas). The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. The insulin circulates, enabling sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

    The Role of Glucose

    Glucose — a sugar — is a source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: food and your liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. Your liver stores and makes glucose. When your glucose levels are low, such as when you haven't eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.

    Causes of type 1 diabetes

    The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown. What is known is that your immune system — which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses — attacks and destroys your insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves you with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream.

    Type 1 is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors, though exactly what those factors are is still unclear. Weight is not believed to be a factor in type 1 diabetes.

    Causes of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes

    In prediabetes — which can lead to type 2 diabetes — and in type 2 diabetes, your cells become resistant to the action of insulin, and your pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. Instead of moving into your cells where it's needed for energy, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. Exactly why this happens is uncertain, although it's believed that genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes too. Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes, but not everyone with type 2 is overweight.

    Causes of gestational diabetes

    During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones to sustain your pregnancy. These hormones make your cells more resistant to insulin. Normally, your pancreas responds by producing enough extra insulin to overcome this resistance. But sometimes your pancreas can't keep up. When this happens, too little glucose gets into your cells and too much stays in your blood, resulting in gestational diabetes.

    Additional References:

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444
  • https://www.diabetes.org/
  • The Christ Villa Health Unit is committed to a safe and healthy community for all our members.

    The Christ Villa Health unit is dedicated to promoting community health and wellness by keeping our members informed and protecting them through regular engagement and collaboration with community partners.

    image

    Copyright ©2020 Christ Villa Church. All Rights Reserved