The basic definition of diabetes mellitus is that blood glucose increase after a meal, and remains high because insulin is either inadequate or ineffective. Blood glucose is central to diabetes. Although carbohydrates consumed affect blood glucose, they do not cause diabetes.
In order to understand diabetes it is first important to describe the role of insulin in the body. After a meal, the pancreas releases insulin, which signals the cells of the body to take energy nutrients from the blood. Insulin helps maintain blood glucose within normal limits.
Type 1 diabetes is a more rare form and it occurs because the pancreas fails to make insulin. Most often it occurs in childhood, at a mean age of 12, usually before the age of 20. The exact reason of why it occurs remains unclear. Some research suggests that in some genetically susceptible people certain viruses can attack and destroy pancreatic cells.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form occurring within 90-95% of cases. This form of diabetes happens because the cells do not respond to the insulin that is released from the pancreas. Its often seen with adults over the age of 40 because the insulin producing cells of the pancreas progressively can lose their function with age. However it has been increasing more in children, youth and adults that are overweight. The reason why being obesity and inactivity at any age can trigger type 2 diabetes is that obese people require much more insulin to maintain normal blood glucose. To compensate for increase of weight the pancreas produces more insulin; however as the body fat increase, the number of insulin receptors decrease in number and function. This causes insulin resistance.
Dietary and lifestyle changes can help regulate the levels of blood glucose and the potential serious problems that can occur with untreated diabetes: Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Weight loss can help improve glucose level and in certain cases even reverse it. Many people can lower doses of medication or stop taking it all together after losing weight through proper dietary and lifestyle changes.
There is an estimated 50% of people with some stage of type 2 diabetes that are undiagnosed. Due to the fact that the body’s insulin becomes less sensitive there is an certain amount of time where the pancreas will produce more insulin to compensate. This causes a normal blood glucose reading even though early stages of Diabetes are occuring.
If you are diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 diabetes or have been told you are at risk it is never too late to change your dietary and lifestyle habits. Click below to get find out how to get your free personalized nutrition assessment and take the first step to controlling your diabetes!Get Started
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