Do you have this life-altering condition?
Discover a safe and healthy way to get you off medication.
Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, is a serious condition. It describes a group of metabolic diseases in which the person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not properly respond to insulin, or both. There are three types of diabetes, type 1 – which is likely genetic, type 2 – which is lifestyle driven, and gestational – which only occurs during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, some women have high levels of blood sugar that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This can be controlled with diet and exercise. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes can lead to complications during childbirth. Women whose diets before becoming pregnant were high in animal fat and cholesterol have a higher risk of gestational diabetes.
It is important that you understand how the disease starts so you can avoid developing it. Some people have higher blood sugar above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. If you already have diabetes, find out how to control it without medication, and live a healthy life.
How does diabetes develop?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder. Metabolism refers to the way the body uses digested food for energy and growth. Digested food is broken down into 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.
When food is digested, the glucose makes its way into the bloodstream. After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate quantity of insulin to move the glucose present in our blood into the cells. As soon as glucose enters the cells, blood-glucose levels drop. However, glucose cannot enter our cells without insulin being present – insulin makes it possible for our cells to take in the glucose.
This results in too much glucose building up in the blood. This excess blood glucose eventually passes out of the body in urine. So, even though the blood has plenty of glucose, the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements.
Blood sugar levels above the normal range is known as pre-diabetes.
People with the pre-diabetes condition are at higher risk to develop the full-blown disease. The cells in the body are becoming resistant to insulin. Studies have indicated that even at the pre-diabetes stage, some damage to the circulatory system and the heart may already have occurred.
Type 1 Diabetes:
- Is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells, meaning no insulin is produced. This causes glucose to quickly rise in the blood.
- Nobody knows exactly why this happens, but science tells us it’s got nothing to do with diet or lifestyle, but likely genetic
- About 10% of people with the disease have this type.
Type 2 Diabetes:
- The body doesn’t make enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin, meaning glucose builds up in the blood.
- Is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin or insulin is not functioning properly, excess fat in the body, or unhealthy lifestyle: eating the wrong food and drinking too much alcohol and sodas.
- About 95% of people with diabetes have this type.
- The good news is, since it’s lifestyle driven, you can control it with changes to your lifestyle including healthy eating and exercise.
Type 1 usually affects people under 40s and is the most common type of diabetes found in childhood.
Type 2 is more complex because there are more processes involved. Since the body’s cells cannot absorb glucose, the level of glucose in the blood continues to rise. In response to this, the pancreas produces, even more, insulin. As a result, the blood glucose continues to rise, and insulin in the body continues to rise as well. Furthermore, the energy-thirsty cells of the body send signals to the liver to release stored glucose. As blood glucose and insulin continue to rise, the insulin wears out and suddenly drops.
How do you know if you have diabetes?
When the level of blood glucose continues to increase, the body tries to lower it by getting rid of the glucose through the kidneys. That’s why people with diabetes tend to urinate more frequently than normal.
As the kidneys filter the glucose out of the blood stream, it also takes a lot of water with it. So the person with diabetes will get very thirsty.
The urine, containing a lot of glucose, creates an environment susceptible for bacteria to thrive. Thus, genital itching is also common.
Likewise, there is a high level of glucose in the bloodstream, which means more bacteria will thrive in flesh wounds. This is the reason why healing of wounds is slow and prone to further infection.
Glucose might also build up in the lens at the front of the eyes causing the liquid of the lens to be cloudy. People with diabetes can have blurry visions.
Since glucose cannot be absorbed by the cells for energy, a diabetic person tends to feel tired and sleepy most of the time.
The body still needs an energy source to work properly. So what it does is it starts to break down some fat stores, which leads to weight loss.
The symptoms of diabetes can vary from one patient to another.
All of the above-mentioned signs and symptoms can be easily detected in a person with Type 1 diabetes, but not in a person with Type 2 diabetes. The symptoms of Type 2 come along very slowly, and some people do not have symptoms at all. For that reason, people can live with the disease for up to 10 years before they know they have it.
Why should you seek medical help?
There are a lot of possible complications caused by undiagnosed, or uncontrolled, or poorly treated diabetes. These include the following:
- Eye complications – glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and some others.
- Foot complications – neuropathy, ulcers, and sometimes gangrene which may require that the foot be amputated
- Skin complications – people with the disease are more susceptible to skin infections and skin disorders
- Heart problems – such as ischemic heart disease, when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished
- Hypertension – common in people with the disease, which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke
- Mental health – uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, and some other mental disorders
- Hearing loss – diabetes patients have a higher risk of developing hearing problems
- Gum disease – there is a much higher prevalence of gum disease among diabetes patients
- Gastro-paresis – the muscles of the stomach stop working properly
- Ketoacidosis – a combination of ketosis and acidosis; accumulation of ketone bodies and acidity in the blood.
- Neuropathy – diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which can lead to several different problems.
- HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome) – blood glucose levels shoot up too high, and there are no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.
- Nephropathy – uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney disease
- PAD (peripheral arterial disease) – symptoms may include pain in the leg, tingling and sometimes problems walking properly
- Stroke – if blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels are not controlled, the risk of stroke increases significantly
- Erectile dysfunction – male impotence.
- Infections – people with badly controlled diabetes are much more susceptible to infections
- Healing of wounds – cuts and lesions take much longer to heal
Do not wait for the signs and symptoms to show up. Have your blood sugar tested and monitored regularly. Do not wait for further complications. Many healthcare providers use medication that can be harmful to the patient long-term.
Seek proper and safe treatment for your diabetes.
At Advanced Health and Wellness Center of Akron, OH, we will treat your diabetes with lifestyle changes and get you off medication!
Why live in agony?
Get treated and enjoy life as you were meant to!