We have all heard of Diabetes, and most of us know at least one person who is living with the condition, but do we actually know what the disease that is often labeled “The Silent Killer” is all about? Although Diabetes is able to be well controlled now a days, it is still a very serious and deadly disease.
When sugar is consumed in the diet, it is converted to a simple form of carbohydrate by the body, namely glucose, which is a more useful substance that can be used by the organs and cells for energy. The sugar is absorbed into the blood through the digestive system, and specialised cells in the pancreas then produce Insulin, which is a substance that allows target cells to accept the sugar, which can then be used.
There are essentially three types of Diabetes. Type 1 mostly affects children, and is often called Juvenile Diabetes. Specialised cells in the Pancreas are unable to secrete the substance Insulin, and there is therefore no channel in which to get the sugar into the cells which need it. Those with Type 1 Diabetes therefore have to take supplemental Insulin, which acts in the same way as if it were produced naturally. Type 2 Diabetes is acquired through poor diet high in sugar, and is usually associated with obesity and lack of exercise. Because of the constant exposure of the cells to high levels of sugar, Insulin slowly becomes ineffective on the cells to take up the sugar, and it therefore remains circulating in the blood stream. Insulin production may also stop completely, after the body determines that the levels produced are no longer needed. Type 3 is a form of the disease which is acquired during pregnancy and may last only the duration of gestation. Even though the disease may disappear after birth, both the mother and her child remain at high risk of obtaining Type 2 Diabetes at a later stage.
Think about the experiment where you leave a nail in a can of sugary soft drink for a certain period of time. The sugar actually eats away at the steel, and after some time, there remains only traces of that once incredibly tough substance. Now, think about this exact sugary substance, poured into the soft tissues and vessels of the human body. If not utilized in the proper way, this sugar can be extremely damaging to the body. After circulating in the blood stream for a certain period of time, the sugar is moved into the surrounding tissues or is considered as waste and is excreted through urine. High concentrations in these tissues then causes the tissue to die, which then causes further death of other surrounding tissues. The area then becomes gangrenous, and may need to be amputated. If the kidneys continuously convert this excess sugar to waste to be excrete in the urine, the kidneys then have to increase the amount of water absorbed to be excrete, causing dehydration in the rest of the body. The most important organs that suffer in Diabetic patients who default from their medication and who do not control their condition in the prescribed way, are the kidneys, the heart and the retina in the eyes, but almost every organ of the body, including the skin, are unable to function at their optimum.
If you fall into the category of high risk, with factors including being severely overweight or obese, bad eating habits, lack of exercise, a family history of Diabetes or both high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, it would be highly recommended that you have the routine tests done to determine whether you are in fact a Diabetic or not.
When diagnosed early, Diabetes is a treatable disease! Encourage your loved ones to have their blood sugar levels tested.