Understanding Diabetes-Stabilizing a Sugary Roller
By Danny Jui • December 9th, 2008 • 3163 Views
Life at the cellular level is a roller coaster fuelled by sugar. Glucose, a type of sugar, serves as an important energy currency in our body. Most of the foods we eat are converted into glucose, which is used by our cells to carry out their functions. Properly managing our intake of and paying close attention to our body's response to this sugary guel is key in maintaining optimal health. Keeping the blood sugar roller coaster steady on track may prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Hiring the Type 1 Operator
Insulin acts as the chief operator of the roller coaster by balancing glucose levels in our body. A hormone produced by the pancreas, insulin regulates the uptake of glucose to ensure an orderly infusion of fuel into our cells. However, in the case of type 1 diabetes the operator-insulin-is deficient or absent. This absence leads to abnormally high levels of glucose left over in the blood that our cells are unable to use. Those living with type 1 diabetes may experience fatigue, weight loss and excessive hunger or thirst. Employing a new operator-using insulin injections-becomes an essential part of the treatment for people with type 1 diabetes.
Wiring the Type 2 Switch
On the other hand, the body may produce sufficient insulin, but the switch on the cells does not respond well or is resistant to the operator's command. Known as insulin resistance, this type of faulty wiring is surprisingly common and affects approximately 25% of the North American population. A substantial and growing body of evidence now suggests insulin resistance is an underlying biochemical imbalance in not only type 2 diabetes, but also hearth disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility and even colon and some breast cancers. Those with insulin resistance may experience sugar cravings, night sweats, irritability, palpitations, dizziness, fatigue and weight gain. Leaving this roller coaster unstable increases the risk of developing a variety of age-related and obesity-related diseases including type 2 diabetes.