What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that affects the chemistry of your body. Our bodies can be likened to sophisticated machinery that requires specialized care to ensure all of our “fluids” are properly maintained. Glucose is a simple sugar that is one of the main sources of fuel for our bodies; most is derived from the foods we eat, but glucose can also be produced in our liver and kidneys. While we need to have enough glucose to keep our bodies functioning, levels that are too high can disrupt the chemical balance of the body and, over time, cause significant damage to many different body parts. The main regulator of glucose levels is a hormone called insulin.
Glucose levels can be measured in the blood, so when your doctor gets a blood test to check your chemistries, your blood sugar level is also being evaluated. High blood sugar can be caused because someone does not produce enough or because their body is not responding to the insulin that is produced. As with most illnesses, diabetes is a spectrum of diseases - meaning there is more than one type of diabetes and it impacts people differently.
There are 3 main types of diabetes:
1. Type I – usually diagnosed in children or young adults; the body does not produce enough insulin
2. Type 2 – the most common type of diabetes; the body does not use insulin properly
3. Gestational diabetes – elevated blood sugar levels that start during pregnancy
Despite the sweet moniker, diabetes is a very serious disease that can have devastating complications. In the U.S., diabetes is much more prevalent among minority populations (see graphic), so it is important for these communities to education themselves about the disease and its risk factors.
More about diabetes this Sunday, November 17th during RadioTalk on Touch 106.1FM – tune in at 9:20am to participate in the discussion (livestream: touchfm.org)!!
~One drop of knowledge can ripple through an entire community