Diabetes is a disorder that affects the body’s metabolism, specifically how the body processes food for energy. A healthy human body breaks food into glucose which, with the help of a hormone produced by the pancreas called insulin, fuels our cells via the bloodstream. When you have diabetes, this process is disrupted and the result is unhealthy levels of glucose in the bloodstream, also known as hyperglycemia. Chronic hyperglycemia can lead to kidney, neurological and cardiovascular damage and eventually death.
There are two reasons for chronic hyperglycemia: Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
In a healthy body, the pancreas automatically releases insulin to move glucose into the cells thus lowering blood sugar levels and nourishing cells. With Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas produces little to no insulin and in some cases even destroys its own insulin. The result in chronic hyperglycemia. Type 1 Diabetics must regularly take insulin in order to survive.
Some interesting facts regarding Type 1 Diabetes include:
- Only 15% of diabetics have Type 1 Diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes is not preventable and is genetic rather than lifestyle oriented.
- Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease because it is the result of the body harming itself.
- Most cases of Type 1 Diabetes occur in individuals under the age of 40 which is why it is often called Childhood or Juvenile Diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes
In the case of Type 2 Diabetes, the cells are resisting insulin thus preventing glucose transmission. The medical community has yet to determine exactly why this occurs, but it is almost certainly related to overeating and being overweight. Every time a cell is exposed to insulin, it builds up a bit of resistance as it is slightly toxic. If you consume large quantities of foods, frequently exposing cells to large quantities of insulin, your body will try to “protect” itself and thus become insulin resistant. This leads the pancreas to produce more insulin, perpetuating the problem and even resulting in further weight gain.
Some interesting facts regarding Type 2 Diabetes include:
- The majority (approximately 85%) of diabetics have Type 2 Diabetes.
- The inability of cells to absorb energy has a lot to do with the healing and infection issues Type 2 diabetics experience. This is why proper foot care, including special high quality diabetic shoes, is so critical.
- Type 2 Diabetes is often the result of lifestyle. It primarily affects the overweight and unfit.
- Type 2 Diabetes usually appears later in life, but as younger generations become more and more sedentary; it has appeared with greater frequency in people in the 20’s and teens.
- Type 2 Diabetes can be controlled and even eliminated with lifestyle changes.