Diabetes: Know your disease

Diabetes is a condition associated with high blood sugar levels. By sugar, we refer here to glucose. Glucose undergoes various reactions in your organs resulting in energy production. This energy is required for the functioning of organs and hence is important in general to sustain life.

Your organs get access to glucose mainly by uptake from blood. However the glucose levels in your blood need to be present in moderation. When there is an excess of glucose in your blood, various alterations take place in your organs. The damage caused by these alterations might not have any symptoms in the initial stages. By the time you become symptomatic, chances are that the organs damage is significant and probably irreversible. Hence it is of utmost importance that your blood glucose levels should be maintained within a target range at all times.

What takes care of the glucose level in your blood?  This is where the hormone Insulin comes in. Hormones are substances that are released into the blood by certain organs. These hormones act on various other organs. Different hormones have different functions. The hormone most important for blood glucose control is the hormone Insulin. Insulin is secreted by an organ called as pancreas. The release of insulin from the pancreas is controlled by your blood glucose levels.  Thus, whenever you have high blood glucose, insulin is released by the pancreas and this released insulin controls your blood glucose levels by various mechanisms.

If your body has such an efficient blood glucose control system then why did you get diabetes in the first place!!?  For this you need to understand that there are mainly two types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a condition wherein your pancreas does not produce insulin. Hence the treatment for type 1 diabetes comprises of replacement of the hormone Insulin.

On the other hand, Type 2 diabetes, which is the more common type of diabetes, is a condition wherein your body Is producing insulin but this insulin is not able to work effectively. This condition is called as insulin resistance. In order to overcome this insulin resistance your body ends up producing more and more insulin. Some people are unable to constantly produce the increased amounts of insulin required to overcome this resistance and thus they end up getting diabetes.

What causes this insulin resistance? Obesity is one of the most important causes of insulin resistance. Poor diet and dietary habits, insufficient physical activity, decreased sleep, psychological stress all cause insulin resistance which eventually predisposes you to diabetes. Hence the first step in managing  your diabetes is to change your lifestyle .

One of the important action of Insulin is to send the glucose into your cells to produce energy. In diabetes due to the absence of transfer of glucose in your cells you are unable to use all the high glucose in your bloodstream.This leads to fatigue and excessive hunger. The increased glucose levels in your blood eventually end up going out of your body via your urine.You end up passing more urine to send this glucose out and to compensate for the water loss you end up drinking more water.

Thank you for reading. Stay tuned to learn more about diabetes and do send in your queries.