Looking for a helpful guide to Diabetes? You’re in the right place! We’ve assembled this succinct and straight-forward guide to Diabetes packed with helpful information answering some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this health condition.
A GUIDE TO DIABETES
Diabetes is a group of diseases (type 2, type 1, prediabetes, and gestational) that result in too much sugar in the blood. There are many different ways to treat diabetes from a drug standpoint, nutrition, and lifestyle and regular screening standpoint. This guide aims to provide guidance on where to start when you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a disease in which a person’s pancreas does not have the ability to create enough or any insulin to support the transfer of blood glucose into their cells to be used for energy. Our primary source of energy comes from the food in which we eat. Normally our pancreas releases insulin to support the transfer of blood glucose or blood sugar from our blood and into our cells. Our cells then store this glucose for energy to be used throughout the day. When someone is diabetic and lacks insulin the glucose stays in the bloodstream, which makes for your blood glucose to be too high and can cause an array of different health problems. The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Here are the differences between diabetes types:
- Type 1 Diabetes – this means your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make the hormone insulin. This means your body does not make any insulin and you need insulin daily to survive.
- Type 2 Diabetes – this means your body is not efficient at making insulin. This can develop at any time and is the most common type of diabetes. People often will take some form of insulin or medication to help monitor the blood glucose level.
- Gestational Diabetes – this form of diabetes only develops in women when they are pregnant. Most of the time it disappears once the baby is born. However once having gestational diabetes you are at greater risk to form Type 2 diabetes later in life.
WHAT CAUSES DIABETES?
Since there are three different types of diabetes there are multiple different reasons as to what causes them. Here is an overview of what causes each type of diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes Causes – Genes and environmental factors such as viruses
- Type 2 Diabetes Causes – Overweight, obesity and lack of activity: extra weight sometimes causes insulin resistance and therefore is common in people with type 2 diabetes. The location of where a person’s fat is also makes a difference such as if you have extra belly fat it is often linked to insulin resistance, diabetes and heart disease. Often times diabetes tends to run in families and occurs more often in racial/ethic groups such as in African Americans, Alaska natives, Asian Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders. Genes can also increase the chance of diabetes due to a person being more likely to being overweight or obese. type 2 diabetes often starts with a person’s inability to not use insulin well which is called insulin resistance. With this resistance your body needs more insulin to help transfer glucose into cells.
- Gestational Diabetes Causes – Pregnancy: due to the large amount of hormones caused by pregnancy, gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy. Insulin Resistance sometimes occurs in pregnant women later on in their pregnancy in which they cannot produce enough insulin. Women who are overweight or obese may already be borderline insulin resistant causing them to ultimately develop gestational diabetes. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy may also be a factor. Genes and a family history of diabetes can also contribute to gestational diabetes.
Other Causes of Diabetes: genetic mutations, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemochromatosis, hormonal diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome, Acromegaly, and hyperthyroidism. Some medications such as niacin, certain diuretics and anti-seizure drugs.
WHAT ARE SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES?
Our body will try to give us warning signs when diabetes first pops up in our system. However some symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed. Early detection is always best with any medical condition and can help you from developing any further issues and complications. Although the symptoms may seem similar the cause and the treatment between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is very different. Some people’s symptoms can overlap which can be confusing and therefore is important for you to discuss any diabetic concerns with a doctor. Some common symptoms are:
- Excessive thirst and hunger
- Urinary tract infections and frequent urination
- Sudden weight loss (even though you are eating more) or gain
- Blurred visions
- Wounds/Cuts/Bruises that are slow to heal
- Skin infections
- Darkening of skin in places where our body creases
- Breath that smells like acetone, fruity or sweet
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Not all symptoms are the same for men and women. Men’s bodies will five them a few extra symptoms of diabetes such as:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Low testosterone
- And decreased sex drive
HOW DO YOU TREAT DIABETES?
The goal of treatment for diabetes is to control blood glucose levels to avoid any further medical issues caused by the disease.
- Type 1 diabetes is managed with insulin as well as nutrition and exercise.
- Type 2 diabetes is managed with non-insulin medications, insulin, weight reductions and nutrition.
- Insulin: helps deliver blood glucose to cells to use for energy. Usually start using insulin with one long-acting shot at night, such as insulin glargine (Lantus) or insulin determine (Levemir). Insulin must be injected because it will interfere with the normal digestion process.
- Metformin: this is usually the first drug prescribed and it works by lowering glucose production in the liver and improving your body’s sensitivity to insulin so that your body uses insulin more effectively.
- Sulfonylureas: these medications help your body secrete more insulin.
- Meglitinides: this helps stimulate the pancreas to secrete more insulin, but they’re faster acting, and the duration of their effect in the body is shorter.
- Thiazolidinediones – make the body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin.
- DPP-4 Inhibitors – helps reduce blood sugar levels, but tends to have a very modest effect
- GLP-1 receptor agonists – These injectable medications slow digestion and help lower blood sugar levels
- SGL2 Inhibitors- These drugs prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. Instead, the sugar is excreted in the urine.
Proper nutrition is always a factor in managing diabetes; there is not “diabetic diet” however most diabetics tend to avoid too many carbohydrates because they spike their blood glucose the highest. When a diabetic does choose carbohydrate options choosing food that are on the low glycemic side is helpful such as: berries, vegetables, beans and lentils.
A HEALTHY LIFE FOR A BETTER LIFE
At Bare Health we are dedicated to helping our clients live better, healthier lives. Whether you are struggling with Diabetes, want help building a sustainable nutrition program, or want to improve your physical fitness, Bare Health can help you! Remember, a better life starts by creating a healthy life.