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Diabetes: What You Should Know

The incidence of diabetes has increased over the last several years. It is a serious condition that can affect you as you get older, or you can have it as a child. The more you learn about diabetes the better you can relate to those who have the condition.

Diabetes is a metabolic condition of the body. The body has a problem regulating the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. Another name for blood sugar is glucose. This is where you get your daily energy from. The body uses that sugar to keep you moving and also to fuel certain processes that go on in the body on the cellular level.

Let’s make it a bit simpler. You’ve heard of insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that regulates your blood sugar level. Insulin is produced in your pancreas. When your food is digested and broken down into nutrients the glucose enters the blood.

Insulin directs the glucose to enter the liver, muscle and fat cells for fuel. Any excess glucose is stored by the body. In the body of a person with diabetes, the pancreas may not produce enough insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels. Also, a person with diabetes may have a malfunction in their body where the insulin is produced but doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.

As a result of any malfunction, the glucose, or blood sugar, stays in the blood instead of going to the cells that need it for metabolism. The blood sugar level rises and can damage organs that don’t need high glucose levels.

There are two main types of diabetes. The first is Type 1 diabetes. With this diabetic condition, the body will do one of two things: a) stop producing insulin, or b) not produce enough. With too little insulin to regulate blood sugar levels, the cells that need the glucose don’t receive it. These organs can’t do their jobs because they lack the fuel source they need.

Type 1 diabetes is most often seen in children and teenagers. It is sometimes called juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. It can also occur in adults with pancreatic problems that inhibit insulin production. A person with Type 1 diabetes needs insulin each day.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t use insulin in the right way. The pancreas produces it but the body resists using it. As a result, more insulin is produced by pancreatic cells. If there is not enough insulin used by the body to battle blood sugar levels, the person is considered to be diabetic. This form of diabetes usually occurs in adulthood. It is called non-insulin dependent diabetes.

The body operates like a well-oiled machine. When it malfunctions certain conditions occur. Diabetes is a result of problems with insulin and blood sugar levels in the body.

Is Diabetes Hereditary?

The only way to determine if gestational diabetes is hereditary, according to research, is to study an entire family over a period of years to ascertain who is affected. Studies are on-going, however, to find the link in the hereditary chain.

According to the American Diabetes Association, here are some statistics addressing this condition: “Type 2 diabetes runs in families. In general, if you have type 2 diabetes, the risk of your child getting diabetes is 1 in 7 if you were diagnosed before age 50 and 1 in 13 if you were diagnosed after age 50.”

They go on to assert that the risk of developing diabetes is greater on the maternal side. Further, if both sides had Type 2 diabetes, chances are you are at a higher risk of developing it as well.

While there are other factors that come into play that may contribute to the question: Is diabetes hereditary? is the lack of a proper diet and exercise and while there are some factors that may be inherent, little is known about the cause and effect of certain genes that may be involved in this condition.

There is another school of thought that suggests that Type 2 diabetes is inherited, that is, genetics may play a significant role in whether or not it is passed down from parent to child. However, the cause is more related to an environmental and sedentary lifestyle as well as obesity.

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle before, during, and after pregnancy it is recommended that women engage in a daily exercise routine and a diet that will reduce the risk of obesity.

Another factor is to have regular check-ups to ascertain whether or not your blood sugar levels are high, which may be an indication that you may be susceptible to gestational diabetes and for which treatment can commence to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Type I Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that deals with the amount of sugar in the blood. It is quite serious and can lead to unfavorable outcomes. The two main types of diabetes are Type 1 and Type 2. What is the difference?

To begin, diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t use or produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates sugar in the blood. This sugar is called glucose. You get it from the foods you eat, namely carbohydrates.

Insulin is produced by the pancreas. This hormone recognizes high levels of sugar in the blood and sends the glucose to different locations to be used as fuel or stored by the body. It is an important hormone that is missed by the body if it is not present.

Type I diabetes is more common in children and teenagers. It has been termed juvenile onset diabetes or simply, juvenile diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce insulin or, it only produces insulin in small quantities. These small amounts are not enough to deal with the levels of glucose in the blood.

A child may be more prone to this type of diabetes if a close family member has also had the condition. Men are more likely to get this but many women also have it. Children with diabetes have certain symptoms that you might notice, which often include being thirsty all the time, fatigue, and weight loss.

A urinalysis should be able to tell if diabetes is the problem. In the presence of an insulin deficiency, the body uses fat to fuel its cellular metabolism. This is called ketoacidosis and brings a new set of symptoms like nausea and vomiting to accompany the other symptoms that may be present.

Someone who suffers from Type 1 diabetes needs insulin injections daily. How much depends on the physician examining the child. Constant monitoring of blood sugar lets you know if more insulin is needed.

Type 2 diabetes occurs later in life. It is linked to environmental factors like ethnic background, family history and lifestyle. The body produces insulin but has developed a resistance to it. The level of glucose in the blood keeps rising and even more insulin is produced. If it is not enough, glucose levels in the blood can damage organs. This is termed non-insulin dependent diabetes.

Those at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes include people with high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, high intake of fatty foods, high sugar intake, obesity, excess alcohol consumption, to name a few. People who develop Type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms to those with Type 1 diabetes. Also, with Type 2 diabetes, blood sugar can rise high enough to cause increased urination, dehydration and eventually kidney failure.

The best treatment is diet, exercise and blood sugar management. Losing weight and eating healthily can eliminate the diabetic conditions in some. Others will need insulin if their insulin levels are still too low. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet.

Diabetes is a serious condition no matter which type you have. Know the signs and symptoms and then get help.

Type II Diabetes

What are the signs you may have high blood sugar resulting in Type II diabetes? Let’s take a look.

Studies by the ADA have determined that pre-diabetes can be prevented through a proper diet and exercise program. Anyone who has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes may develop Type II if not detected early.

What is the difference between the former and the latter? If one’s blood sugar level is high, but does not reach the threshold of Type II, then the diagnosis would fall under the heading of pre-diabetes.

How do you know if you have high blood sugar levels? Here are some of the signs:

*You are constantly thirsty
*You urinate more often than usual
*You appetite increases
*You tire easily
*You may lose weight
*There may be sores that do not heal as quickly as they ought to
*Your skin is very dry
*You may experience numbness in your feet
*Your eyesight may become blurry

In order to determine if you have high blood sugar levels is to have a blood test. Your doctor can ascertain whether or not you have pre-diabetes or Type II.

There are other types as well such as Type I, which is usually found in children, or gestational diabetes, which is found in pregnant women during their last trimester.

Type II, however, is the most common and can affect adults who are obese or lead sedentary lifestyles. Thus, engaging in physical exercise on a routine basis along with a proper diet can keep the blood sugar levels in check. If you have been experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor to ascertain if you have any form of this disease. It is also important to let the doctor know if anyone in your family has it since it may be an inherited condition.

Stress and Diabetes have also been viewed as synonomous.

While there are complications that can arise, it is necessary to learn as much as you can about the type you have and what you can do to control it.

There may also be a connection between menopause and diabetes as well. Recent studies have shown that women who are either peri-menopausal or are in the full stages of menopause may experience symptoms that are quite common.

There are medications, insulin, and blood glucose monitors which you can utilize on a daily basis to check your blood sugar level. The good news is that it is treatable if diagnosed early.

Insulin

Diabetes is a condition that involves your blood sugar regulation. Without a system in place, blood sugar levels can rise high and damage the internal organs. What keeps this from happening is insulin.

Insulin is a hormone in the body. Hormones are secreted to activate certain processes in the body. Insulin is secreted to manage the level of glucose in the blood. It is produced in the pancreas in the Islet of Langerhans. The Islet cells produce other hormones but insulin is produced the most.

When you eat foods, carbohydrates are broken down into their simple sugar components. This occurs in the intestines. From there the sugars (namely glucose) are absorbed into the bloodstream. Each time you eat, it increases the blood sugar level in your blood.

In response, your body secretes insulin in the pancreas. Insulin directs the glucose to be routed to various organs such as the liver, your muscles and your fat cells. When the insulin is secreted it binds to cells in the body via receptors. Now that insulin is attached to the cells they can accept glucose from the blood.

The glucose is used for cellular metabolism within the cells in these organs. Its primary use is as fuel for these reactions. Without glucose in the cells they can’t function properly. Certain actions don’t happen like they are supposed to in order to sustain life inside your body. Insulin is very important.

Those suffering from diabetes have a problem with insulin. With Type 1 diabetes, insulin is not produced by the Islet cells or it is produced in such small quantities that glucose is not used efficiently by the cells. With Type 2 diabetes, the state of the body has caused an insulin resistance so insulin is not used properly.

With diabetes, it is often required that insulin injections be given to increase the amount of insulin in the body for blood sugar regulation. Insulin has come from several sources since it was first used to treat diabetes. Insulin has been harvested from cows and pigs. The insulin is purified and used for human diabetes treatment.

Some people still use this insulin but now we can create human insulin. Human insulin is more readily accepted by the body and there is less of a risk of an allergy developing like with the animal insulin varieties. Some were allergic to a protein found in the animal insulin.

Insulin is administered in various doses determined by a physician. A person may use insulin one or more times a day depending on their blood sugar levels. The mass production of human insulin has aided tremendously in the management of diabetes.

Insulin is an important hormone that keeps your blood sugar in check. Without it, the body will starve no matter how much food you eat.

Childhood Diabetes

Diabetes is not just a condition that affects adults. Children can also develop diabetes. In children, diabetes is usually a result of a malfunction in the body that they have no control over. If your child or a child you know suffers from diabetes, know the facts and how to treat it.

Childhood diabetes is typically Type 1 diabetes. It can also be termed “juvenile diabetes.” The condition occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin or produces too little insulin to handle the body’s demands. A person with Type 1 diabetes needs to be given insulin on a daily basis.

Symptoms

In a child there are several symptoms you may notice that are an indicator that there could be an insulin problem. Children may exhibit extreme thirst, fatigue, headaches, frequent urination, weight loss or behavioral issues. At that point, you can take your child in to the doctor to be tested.

One way to know beyond the above symptoms is through urinalysis. In the urine, the presence of ketones is a giveaway that the child probably suffers from diabetes. Ketones are secreted as a by-product when the body uses fat to fuel its metabolic processes instead of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates break down into the simple sugars, namely glucose.

Treatment

Children with diabetes can live full lives. They do not have to be limited in their activities as long as their diabetes is managed well. The first line of management is insulin. A child with juvenile diabetes needs insulin every day. The doctor will tell you how to administer the insulin, the dosage and what type to use.

A glucose meter is next used to monitor blood sugar levels throughout the day. Initially meters were used on fingertips and it was quite painful. New meter systems can be used on the arm and use smaller amounts of blood. Once a child learns they can quickly test their blood sugar and continue with their day.

Parents also monitor the diet of a child with diabetes. What they eat is similar to a healthy diet that anyone would consume. There are lots of fruits, vegetables, beans, and lean meats eaten. Meal times are more rigid so that the blood sugar doesn’t dip too low or spike too high.

As a parent, a diabetes diagnosis for your child can be crushing. But, the more you learn about the condition and treatment, the more you can empower yourself and your child to overcome it and continue with life.

Diabetes Exercises

Living with diabetes can be a tough thing. You have to monitor your blood sugar and be careful of your activities and what you eat. But, those with diabetes still need physical activity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are five ways that diabetics can get the exercise they need and stay safe.

Some diabetics can experience a drop in blood sugar from exercise. If the activity is too vigorous it can cause problems. The object here is managed activity in moderation. If you are a diabetic who wants to lose weight, this can still be done without compromising your health.

Exercise is important for everyone. The main object is to get moving. Your level of fitness will be determined by your body. Try for thirty minutes most days of the week.

1. Walking – walking is still the best all-round exercise. You work the entire body and your cardiovascular system. Walking can be done on a treadmill or on a path around your neighborhood, whatever is convenient for you. To get the most benefit, a brisk pace is recommended if you can stand it.

2. Aerobics – aerobics is fun for people of all fitness levels because there is such a range of activities available. You can participate in step aerobics, aerobic conditioning (PT training), aerobic kickboxing and dance aerobics. For the diabetic, a low-impact type of aerobics is recommended. Try a dance or beginner aerobics class.

3. Water workouts – water has the added benefit of providing built-in resistance. As you move you are displacing the water for a harder workout. Water aerobics can be done with or without water weights. Swimming is a great form of exercise for diabetics. Perform laps in the pool at the YMCA or the gym for thirty minutes, or as long as you can stand it and work up to thirty minutes.

4. Lift weights – every person can preserve their muscle mass as they age with strength training. Muscle burns more calories than fat so you will reap the calorie-burning benefit even after you stop. Lifting weights is not about heavy poundage but a combination of technique and muscle usage. When you perform a variety of exercises, the muscle works harder to adapt and more muscle is built. Start with a light weight to learn the movements and increase the poundage if the exercises get too easy.

5. Yoga – you may not have exercised in a long time. Ease back into it with an exercise that combines stretching with relaxation. Keeping those muscles loose helps when you are working in the garden or doing work around the house.

Before doing any type of exercise, remember to warm up those muscles and cool down at the end to ease the heart back into a normal resting pattern. Diabetics do have to watch out for changes in their blood sugar while working but you still have a variety of exercise choices.

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