Do you know someone whose life is affected by diabetes? Diabetes is a health condition that affects millions of kids and adults of all ages.
Some people are born with it, while others may develop diabetes when they’re older. You can’t catch diabetes like the flu. Some types of diabetes can even be prevented.
Your body’s main source of energy is a sugar called glucose, which you get from the foods you eat. Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body processes the glucose it needs.
Usually, your digestive system processes the food you eat and moves the glucose into your bloodstream. One of your organs called the pancreas produces an important hormone called insulin. Insulin is what helps move the glucose from the bloodstream into your body’s cells, where it’s used for energy.
Diabetes can affect how your body processes glucose in a couple of different ways. In type 1 diabetes, the body is unable to make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body’s insulin doesn’t work the way that it should.
In both types of diabetes, glucose can’t get into the body’s cells like it should. This results in sugar levels in the blood being too high or too low. When your blood sugar level is too high or too low, you can feel fatigued and dizzy or get really sick. People with diabetes must closely monitor their blood sugar levels many times each day.
About five to ten percent of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes. It is sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes. It can’t be prevented, and doctors can’t predict who will get it and who won’t. While scientists believe that a person’s genes that are passed down from parents have something to do with getting type 1 diabetes, they also believe that another event, such as a viral infection, might be needed to trigger type 1 diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed. As a result, treatment requires daily shots of insulin to be taken.
Type 2 diabetes is different. The pancreas still makes insulin, but the body doesn’t use it in the correct way. Doctors believe one of the primary factors in getting type 2 diabetes is being overweight.
Being overweight makes it harder for the body to use insulin properly. Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented by eating healthy foods, getting plenty of exercise and maintaining a normal weight. In addition, some people with type 2 diabetes are able to stop taking insulin if they get to and maintain a healthy weight.