In lay terms, diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is a form of metabolic malfunction. The pancreas – an important part of the digestive system – of a diabetic fails to supply adequate amounts of insulin which is needed to propel glucose derived from food from the blood into cells. (Glucose – a form of blood sugar – supports growth, supplies nourishment and energy. It’s basically the fuel that powers us.) As a result of the metabolic malfunction, a diabetic excretes much of the valuable glucose in urine while his or her cells are starved for glucose.
There are three types of diabetes.
1) Type 1 Diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes, early-onset diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes) affects children and adults before the age of 40. Only about 10% of all cases of diabetes are type 1. The body of a type 1 diabetic doesn’t produce insulin.
2) Type 2 Diabetes is the most common and accounts for nearly 90% of all cases of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or as is the case in insulin resistance, the cells of the body fail to react to insulin.
People who are overweight, physically inactive, the elderly and men with low testosterone levels are most likely to develop type 2 diabetes. It’s been proven that many (but not all) type 2 diabetics can control the disease by losing weight, eating smart, exercising and monitoring their glucose levels. Unfortunately, in most cases type 2 diabetes is progressive which means that it gets worse with time and should it be the case for you, you may have to take insulin. (Significant weight loss following a Lap Band surgery has been credited with “recoveries” from diabetes type 2 as well as with lowering the risk of developing diabetes.)
3) Gestational Diabetes can occur in pregnant women who have very high levels of glucose in their blood and whose bodies don’t produce sufficient amount of insulin to propel the glucose into their cells. Undetected and untreated gestational diabetes can result in childbirth’s complication and also in a larger than normal baby.
It is believed that women with high pre-pregnancy cholesterol levels are most likely to develop gestational diabetes. Most cases of gestational diabetes can be managed with dietary changes and exercise. Only a small percentage (10-20%) needs medication.
Gestational diabetes is usually temporary. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be managed with lifestyle changes and / or medication. Los Angeles Health Directory features several videos on the subject of diabetes. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, watch the videos.
What Is Diabetes
Tips For Living With Diabetes
How To Cure Diabetes