Diabetes is a chronic medical condition that occurs when the body is unable to properly process and use glucose (a type of sugar). There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels by allowing glucose to enter the cells and be used for energy. Without insulin, the body is unable to properly process and use glucose, leading to high blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the body's needs. This leads to high blood sugar levels and an increased risk of developing serious health problems.
The symptoms of diabetes can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:
If an individual experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.
If diabetes is not properly managed, it can lead to serious health complications such as:
Heart disease and stroke: High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Neuropathy: Diabetes can cause nerve damage, leading to numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Kidney damage: High blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney disease.
Eye damage: Diabetes can cause changes in the blood vessels of the eye, leading to vision problems and even blindness.
Foot problems: Diabetes can cause nerve damage and decreased circulation, leading to foot problems such as sores and infections.
Skin problems: Diabetes can cause skin changes such as dryness and increased risk of infections.
While there is no cure for diabetes, it is possible to achieve “diabetes freedom“ by properly managing the condition. This can involve a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatment, such as:
Eating a healthy, balanced diet: A diet that is low in sugar and refined carbohydrates and rich in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help control blood sugar levels.
Getting regular physical activity: Regular physical activity, such as walking, running, or cycling, can help the body use up excess sugar in the blood and improve insulin sensitivity.
Taking medications as prescribed by a healthcare provider: If an individual has a medical condition such as diabetes, their healthcare provider may prescribe medications to help control blood sugar levels. It's important to follow the prescribed treatment plan and take medications as directed.
Monitoring blood sugar levels regularly: Regularly checking blood sugar levels can help an individual determine how their diet, physical activity, and medications are affecting their blood sugar levels.