Understand your disease

Diabetes is a disorder in which the amount of glucose, also called sugar, is too high in the blood. But why would your blood glucose be high?

When you eat food, your body breaks that food down into glucose. The glucose is absorbed by the blood vessels in the intestinal tract and it travels through the blood stream. We all know glucose provides energy. But how? This glucose in the blood stream has to be taken up by the cells in our body. Once this glucose enters the cells it is broken down through energy breakdown steps-“glycolysis”- to release energy. So to get energy, glucose should enter the cells. Insulin is a hormone that helps move glucose from your blood stream to inside of your cells. However, people with Type 2 diabetes do not make enough insulin or are not as sensitive to that hormone. Therefore, the glucose gets trapped in the blood and cannot get inside your cells. Then high blood glucose — “diabetes” — happens. 

Hence, cells cannot make energy out of glucose, but there is plenty of glucose in blood. Since cells are now without an energy source, your body utilizes stored energy which depletes our energy stores- this results in “weight loss”.

High glucose in blood acts like a toxin which reacts with proteins in our body and gets deposited. Thus it gets deposited in blood vessels reducing blood flow to peripheral organs. So our heart has to pump with higher pressure for effective blood circulation. This results in increased blood pressure- “hypertension”. Body tries to flush out excess glucose through urine, hence diabetic patients urinate a lot. This results in loss of water along with glucose which causes dehydration-“excess thirst”. 

Taking care of your diabetes means taking care of your whole body: from positive thinking in your brain to checking the bottoms of your feet for scrapes and cuts. Diabetes affects every part of your body from your mind to your stomach to your toes.  Keeping your blood sugar under control is the holy grail of managing your diabetes.

Tips for better living with diabetes

1. Make yourself a priority. After all, only you can manage your diabetes. 

2. Keeping blood glucose on target can improve your mood and can give you more energy.

3. Eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Exercise in and of itself is a mood booster. It can reduce stress, lessen symptoms of depression, and release those amazing brain chemicals called endorphins, which make you feel good. Researchers has found that just a short bout of exercise can improve insulin sensitivity for up to 24 hours.

4. Foresee and reduce the risk of complications. It is an equal-opportunity blood vessel destroyer. High blood glucose can destroy your blood vessels in your heart, eyes, toes, sexual organs, intestines and brain.

5. Diabetes and Pregnancy: Gestational diabetes gives moms and their babies a lifetime risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In newborn it increases the chance for birth defects and obesity in later life.Uncontrolled blood glucose during pregnancy can increase the risk of preeclampsia and injury during birth because babies are large.