Today it’s estimated that roughly 10 millions people in the U.S. have a diagnosis of diabetes. This condition impacts a lot of people although it can be effectively managed with proper treatment. The problem is not enough people fully understand the condition and the steps needed to treat it.
Managing your diabetes doesn’t require a medical degree, only a basic understanding of the condition and knowing where to get treatment. In this article you will learn both as well as come away with a solid understanding of the following:
- The importance of insulin in relation to diabetes
- Difference between Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes
- Organs that can become permanently damaged if you do not take this chronic disease seriously
- How to determine that you have diabetes
- Why this chronic disease causes you to take multiple late night trips to the bathroom
- And more…
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is the inability of the body to process sugars properly.
When you eat or drink, your “pancreas” produces a hormone called “insulin”. Insulin is released into the blood and helps you to regulate the amount of glucose (sugar) in your bloodstream. Diabetes is a condition where this process does not function correctly.
Type 1 Diabetes vs Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes (also known as Juvenile Diabetes) occurs when your body cannot produce insulin.
Insulin is important because it is a hormone that unlocks the cells of your body and allows glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1.
Type 2 Diabetes means you are insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin) and are insulin deficiency. Most Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 2.
Long Term Effects Of This Chronic Condition
This chronic disease is not immediately life threatening, however, the long term effects of high blood sugar can be damaging to your health. Failure to control this condition and prolonged high blood sugar levels can, in later life, cause problems to organs like your kidneys, eyes, nerves and the heart.
As scary as those problems sound, advancements in healthcare have made it to where you can live a long healthy life even if you have the condition. A combination of medicine, diet and exercise can greatly reduce the long term complications.
How To Find Out If You Have This Chronic Condition?
You simply need to call your doctor and request a blood sugar check.
A tiny sample of blood, obtained by pricking a finger is checked using a small electronic tester. You can even do this test at home with a blood sugar kit.
Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating or “fasting” for at least eight hours.
Two hours after you’ve eaten you want to fall under 140 mg/dL.
During the day, levels tend to be at their lowest just before meals. For most people without the condition, blood sugar levels before meals hover around 70 to 80 mg/dL. For some people, 60 is normal; for others, 90 is the norm.
What Are Symptoms Of Diabetes?
It’s possible to get an unexpected diagnosis although more often it follows from the sufferer experiencing the “symptoms” of diabetes.
Common symptoms include:
- Weight loss – Glucose is the form of sugar which is the body’s main fuel. Diabetics cannot process this properly so it passes into the urine and out of the body. Less fuel means the body’s reserve tissues are broken down to produce energy with a resultant loss in weight.
- Thirst – Often it seems no matter how much you drink your mouth still feels dry. The problem is compounded if you enjoy drinking huge amounts of sugary drinks. Of course this only increases the blood sugar level and leads to increased thirst.
- Urinating More Often – Sufferers need to urinate often and pass large volumes each time. In addition this symptom takes no account of time so sleep is constantly disturbed by having to visit the bathroom during the night. It is a mistake to think this is caused by the increased thirst and drinking more. On the other hand, high sugar levels in the blood spill over into the urine making it syrupy. To counter-act this water is drawn from the body causing dehydration and therefore thirst.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms it does not necessarily mean that you are diabetic however it might be advisable to visit your doctor to be sure. If it does turn out that you are diabetic please do not panic! It can come as a shock and it will mean some changes in your life.
Diabetes can be treated so the long term complications are reduced or even eliminated.
By knowing exactly what diabetes is – and recognizing the symptoms early on – you can prevent it from ever building up within you. Start today by monitoring your health and daily eating habits.
Lastly, if you need to find a provider to treat this chronic condition use the following guides for help:
Nick Bryant is a Counselor with 11 years of experience working in community health. He enjoys concerts, walks with the doggo and wife, mocking Dallas Cowboy fans, and sharing community resources. Jump on the Houston Case Managers email list to receive weekly community resource guides delivered directly to your inbox.