Managing diabetes boils down to being well informed, tracking your numbers, and being a little careful. Keeping it in check? Easier than you’d think. With a little self-control, of course.
Your first step, though – understanding how the condition works.
What’s Your Body Dealing With
“Diabetes” refers broadly to a cluster of diseases that interfere with your body’s ability to use glucose or blood sugar – the fuel your cells use to power everything from the brain to muscles. When you have diabetes, you tend to have higher than normal sugar levels. If uncontrolled, this can mess with your system and lead to many complications.
To understand this better, look at this illustration of how the human body normally handles sugar.
This seamless process takes a hit when you have diabetes.
The body of a person with type 1 diabetes produces little or no insulin. So, the sugar, instead of entering cells, builds up in the blood. In prediabetes and type 2 diabetes:
- Cells become resistant to insulin’s effect.
- The pancreas can’t make enough insulin to beat this issue.
- As with type 1 diabetes, blood sugar doesn’t move to cells that need it for energy.
- Instead, the sugar builds up in the blood.
If you don’t take action to manage this sugar build-up, many of your main organs, including the heart, kidneys, blood vessels, nerves, and eyes, will be affected. Long-term complications could include heart and blood vessel disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage etc.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
Symptoms of diabetes vary according to how elevated your sugar levels are. Look out for these and know they could be linked to diabetes:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Extreme humber
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healthin sores
- Ketones in urine
- Frequent infections (gums, skin, and vaginal infections)
The Good News: Some Kinds Of Diabetes Are Reversible & Others Manageable
People with prediabetes, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not in the diabetic range yet, can make lifestyle changes to help bring their sugar levels back to normal. Gestational diabetes during pregnancy also tends to go away after the baby arrives.
When you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, however, you’re going to have to learn to live with it. But the right lifestyle can help you gain better control over sugar levels even if you can’t get rid of the problem altogether. In the coming weeks, we’ll give you all the information you need to stay on top of your diabetes. So, stay tuned!
“Diabetes – Symptoms and causes“. Mayo Clinic.