The human body needs “fuel” and gets it in the form of food. Food is converted into energy in the body, which is technically referred to as glucose. Glucose is transferred through the blood and this is why anyone with the medical condition known as diabetes will need to test their blood one or more times each day.
Diabetes is found in two formats – Type 1 (which is a form known as gestational diabetes and which someone is born with) and Type 2. This second type is when the body becomes unable to make and/or respond to the hormone known as insulin. It is insulin that is used to break down and use glucose in the body. So, if the body is not producing insulin it is going to maintain very high levels of glucose in the blood.
Why is this a problem?
When glucose is effectively trapped in the blood by Type 2 diabetes it leads to damage to many parts of the body. For example, it is not uncommon for a Type 2 diabetic to experience a stroke, blindness, disease in the kidneys or heart, and more.
The good news about this form of diabetes is that it is not inevitable or unavoidable in the way that Type 1 diabetes happens to be. This is because your lifestyle can often be a major factor in whether you develop the condition or not. Of course, it can also be due to genetics and your age as well.
The symptoms of this variety of diabetes appear when damage is being done due to high glucose. For example, a list of common symptoms will include:
- Thirst – the tendency for the body to pass a great deal of fluid from the cells to the bloodstream leads to frequent urination, and this in turn causes dehydration. Many Type 2 diabetics get a clue that something is wrong when they feel constantly thirsty.
- Frequent urination – excessive urination is one of the most immediate symptoms that patients note. This is because the glucose level of the blood causes fluid to leave cells and enter the blood stream. This fluid is then processed by the kidneys, and you find yourself urinating often.
- Fatigue – the inability of the body to take energy from food leads to fatigue, but so too does the typical dehydration that occurs with this form of diabetes.
- Blurry vision – high blood sugar leads to swelling in the lens area of the eye, and this causes the vision to blur. When you do not manage diabetes, however, the problems spread and you may develop cataracts, glaucoma, and damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye.
- Weight loss – when your blood sugar is too high it means you are not getting energy from your food. This means that your body looks for energy in other places – such as fat and muscle. This keeps you in a constant state of deprivation, and you will often experience weight loss as your diabetes swings into gear.
- Recurring infection – healing is a challenge when glucose is too high. Thus, you may constantly fight infections internally and externally.
So, what can you do about this issue? There is no cure for it, but you can begin to monitor your blood sugar, follow a strict diet, get regular exercise, and work with your physician if a medication regimen is needed. There are many safe and effective drugs designed to help manage the condition and prevent any cellular damage from occurring, but most are greatly helped if you follow a healthy lifestyle.
Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases and is an advisor to Reed Medical Conferences.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA.