Diabetes 101

What is Diabetes? What does having Diabetes mean?

There are two different types of Diabetes: Type 1 (or Juvenile), and Type 2 (Adult onset).  In a Type 1 Diabetic the body either no longer produces insulin, or produces just a small amount, and insulin injections usually need to be taken. A Type 2 Diabetic is characterized by insulin resistance or reduced insulin production and is usually combined with being overweight. Treatment of Type 2 is usually one or all of the following: diet, oral medications, and insulin injections.

Insulin helps to turn sugars that are eaten into energy. When we eat carbohydrates like bread, rice, cereal, or even fruit they are broken down in our bodies as sugars. In a person without Diabetes this would immediately queue the pancreas to release insulin. The insulin acts as a key to unlock the door of each cell and allow the glucose to enter and be used for energy.  Lacking the insulin needed for this process a Diabetic will have excess glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream. Why is this bad? For many reasons. One is that the body lacks the ability to use the food eaten for energy and will feel tired and lethargic in addition to other symptoms. The body will still feel hungry even if it has just eaten a full meal because the sugar cannot get into the cells and be used.  If high blood sugar goes untreated it can cause your body to produce ketones (a molecular compound created by the body burning fat for fuel).  High blood glucose can also be very damaging to the organs due to the added stress of trying to expel excess glucose.