Many people wonder: Is diabetes a disease?
Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot properly use the glucose (the sugar) that we get from foods. Due to this inability to use it, sugar accumulates in the blood and its concentration increases significantly. So, when we measure it in the blood, we find it higher than normal.
Is diabetes a disease and how does it occur?
In order to understand what diabetes looks like, let’s look at what happens to our body every time we eat:
- Much of the food we eat breaks down in the stomach and the intestine into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.
- When blood sugar rises, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin.
- Sugar is the main fuel of our cells. But it must first pass into our cells through the blood in order to be used.
- Insulin is essential for the passage of cells so that sugar can enter it.
- If your body cannot release the right amount of insulin or if the insulin produced by our body cannot properly open all the cells’ passages, then sugar cannot pass through our cells and accumulate in the blood. This is what we call diabetes.
What are the main types of diabetes?
The main types of diabetes are:
- Type 1 diabetes: Formerly called juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes. It is due to the complete inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, so the patient must inject insulin to regulate his blood sugar.
- Type 2 diabetes: This is due to the relative inability of the pancreas to produce the required amount of insulin, while there is a difficulty in producing the insulin of function properly in regulating sugar. This type usually occurs in obese adults. Early treatment requires proper nutrition and medication in the form of pills. However, some years after the initial diagnosis of the disease (5-10 years), insulin production decreases more and more, so the patient has to start insulin injections.
- Pregnancy diabetes: This occurs in some women during pregnancy.
Is diabetes a disease and what are the key measures to treat it?
The most important step in regulating your diabetes is to adopt a healthy lifestyle and nutrition:
- Healthy eating: balanced intake of all food categories, especially vegetables, careful intake of carbohydrates and moderate consumption of meat and fat-freezing foods.
- Physical exercise: on addition to the beneficial properties of physical activity for the heart and the vessels, regular exercise also helps to make better use of cells’ sugar.
- Maintain normal weight: obesity makes it difficult for cells to use sugar, blocking the action of insulin. So in many cases, weight control can have spectacular effects on sugar regulation.
What medications are there to control it?
- Pills: some groups of medicines help your body release more insulin into the pancreas, while others help your cells make better use of sugar.
- Insulin: if your body cannot produce the necessary amounts of insulin, then you should take extra insulin in an injectable form following your doctor’s recommended dose.
Taking medicines for diabetes supplements your healthy lifestyle and diet, it doesn’t replace it!