Basic Facts and Figures
WHAT IS DIABETES? – Diabetes is an inability of the body to produce insulin. Since insulin acts to get the sugar (glucose) into cells to be changed into energy, a lack of insulin means that sugar in the blood cannot be used by the cells and it eventually reaches too high a level and that presents a problem.
To understand better, we have to look at the nutrition process. When food is digested, the carbohydrates from grains, flour products, root vegetables, fat and table sugar enter the bloodstream as sugar. When cells need energy, insulin helps transport the sugar into the cells so that the cells can convert the sugar (glucose) to energy. With no insulin, the sugar remains in the bloodstream. So, it is necessary for insulin to get the cells to take in the sugar. Then, the cells convert sugar into energy. With the energy obtained, the cells are able to function well.
Without insulin, cells are not able to take in sugar, same as without sugar there is insufficient energy. Since the sugar is not taken up by the cells, it remains in the blood stream. The level of sugar in the bloodstream gets higher and higher until it remains too high all the time. When a blood test reveals this condition in someone’s blood, that someone is a diabetic.
Insulin, Glucose and You – Video Guide
Types of Diabetes
When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, he is either suffering from Type I or Type II diabetes. These two types of diabetes are easily differentiated as Type I diabetes is caused by the inability of the body to produce insulin while type II diabetes is not caused by poor insulin production.
Types 1 Diabetes
Due to the fact that Type I diabetes occurs at a younger age, it is also known as ‘juvenile diabetes’. Since this type is due to insufficient production of insulin by the body, the patient depends upon insulin injections and so, we say the patient is insulin dependent. The patient depends upon the injected insulin to survive.
Types 2 Diabetes
A patient with Type 2 diabetes is not dependent on insulin. This patient’s body does produce insulin but the insulin is slow in changing blood sugar into energy, thus causing the blood sugar level to rise. As such, a Type 2 diabetic patient does not need insulin injection. Most Type 2 diabetics can manage their blood sugar problem with the right nutrition and exercise.
Some may need pills or oral medications to lower their blood sugar level. Those unable to control their blood sugar levels due to lack of exercise and consumption of too much simple carbohydrate may have to go for insulin injections to prevent complications.