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Diabetes, often referred to by doctors as diabetes mellitus, 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 respond properly to insulin, or both.


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 many of those factors are is still unclear.


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. 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.

Common Symptoms

  • Hunger and Fatigue

  • Peeing more often and being thirstier

  • Dry mouth and itchy skin

  • Blurred vision


Other Type 2 Symptoms

These tends to show up after your glucose has been high for a long time

  • Slow healing sores or cuts

  • Pain or numbness in your feet or legs


Other type 1 Symptoms

  • Unplanned weight loss

  • Nausea and vomiting



  • Cut sugar and refined carbs from your diet

  • Work out regularly

  • Eat a high fiber diet

  • Minimize your intake of processed foods

  • Consider taking these natural herbs

  • Curcumin

  • Quit smoking


Major Risk factors

  • Family history.

  • The presence of damaging immune system cells (autoantibodies).

  • Dietary factors.

  • Weight.

  • Age. Polycystic ovary syndrome.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels.



Treatment for diabetes requires keeping close watch over your blood sugar levels (and keeping them at a goal set by your doctor) with a combination of medications, exercise, and diet. By paying close attention to what and when you eat, you can minimize or avoid the "seesaw effect" of rapidly changing blood sugar levels, which can require quick changes in medication dosages, especially insulin.




Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated April 3, 2018.

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