Insulin and blood sugar
Normally, the food we eat is broken down into glucose, which is a form of sugar. The glucose passes into the bloodstream, where it is used by cells for growth and energy. For cells to use glucose, however, insulin must be present. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. If the insulin isn't present, or if the cells don't respond to it (commonly referred to as insulin-resistance), the glucose stays in the bloodstream, causing a rise in the blood sugar or blood glucose level. When blood sugar levels are too high it's called hyperglycemia; when blood sugar levels fall too low it's called hypoglycemia. conditions that can lead to hypoglycemia in people with diabetes include taking too much medication, missing or delaying a meal, eating too little food for the amount of insulin taken, exercising too strenuously, drinking too much alcohol, or any combination of these factors.
Types of diabetes
there are different types of diabetes and insulin-resistance:
* Type 1 diabetes (which has also been called insulin-dependent or immune-mediated diabetes) occurs when your body can't produce insulin. This is the kind of diabetes that often appears before the age of 18, although it can also strike at any age. Type 1 diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease results when the body's system for fighting infection, the immune system, turns against a part of the body. In Type 1 diabetes, according to NIDDK, the immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. An individual with Type 1 diabetes requires daily doses of insulin. The insulin can be delivered by injection, or through a pump system, which feeds the insulin into the body through a needle or catheter inserted just under the skin. Healthy meal planning and regular exercise are also a part of treatment for type 1 diabetes.
* Type 2 diabetes (which has also been called non-insulin-dependent diabetes) is much more common than Type 1 diabetes, affecting some 90 percent of people with diabetes. In this type, your body can produce insulin, but it either doesn't produce enough or it isn't using it properly. Someone with Type 2 diabetes uses exercise, healthy meal planning and, in many cases, oral medications or insulin to control blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes has been linked with obesity, and the number of people in the U.S. with Type 2 diabetes is growing.
* Gestational diabetes is diabetes that is first recognized during pregnancy. It usually disappears once the baby is born. This condition requires careful monitoring throughout the pregnancy and can put a woman at higher risk of developing diabetes later in life. about four percent of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and women who were overweight before becoming pregnant are at a higher risk. Women who have had gestational diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. women who have had gestational diabetes have a 20 to 50 percent chance of developing diabetes in the next 5-10 years. Therefore, any woman who developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy should be sure she is monitored throughout her life. It is very important that she maintain a normal weight and exercise regularly.
Pre-diabetes/Insulin Resistance there is also a condition called "pre-diabetes" which may affect as many as 54 million Americans. The term "pre-diabetes" is being used to describe an increasingly common condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet diabetic. This is also known as impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. Someone with impaired glucose tolerance may also be described as "insulin resistant," that is, their body produces insulin but isn't utilizing it correctly, causing blood sugar levels to rise.
Insulin resistance is also a factor in metabolic syndrome or syndrome X. Other risk factors for metabolic syndrome include a body mass index of over 25, high triglyceride levels, family history of diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, sedentary lifestyle, age and ethnicity. metabolic syndrome is an epidemic condition that dramatically increases risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. They estimate that it affects one in three Americans.
most people with pre-diabetes will likely develop diabetes within a decade unless they make changes in their diet and level of physical activity, which can help them reduce their risks. Even before they develop diabetes, their health is still at risk, since they are much more likely to develop high blood pressure, abnormal blood lipids and coronary heart disease. Studies have linked obesity to impaired glucose tolerance/pre-diabetes.
* Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) goes by a number of names, according to the ADA. It can also be called type 1.5 or slow onset type 1. that LADA usually shows up after the age of 35 and with signs that the immune system is attacking the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. people with LADA may not need insulin in the beginning, and they generally are not insulin resistant. However, they most likely will eventually need insulin to control blood sugar. Diet and exercise are also crucial to controlling blood sugar levels. people with LADA tend to be physically fit in the way they look, not overweight.
Diabetes can also result from specific genetic conditions, as well as from surgery, medications, infections, pancreatic disease, and other illnesses.
Symptoms of diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes can vary, typical symptoms, especially for Type 1 diabetes, include:
* frequent urination
* excessive thirst
* blurry vision
* tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
* unexplained weight loss despite eating more than usual
* extreme tiredness or irritability
In Type 2 diabetes there may not be any symptoms, especially initially. This is why screening is so important, especially if you have any of the risk factors for diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often after the age of 40. It's estimated that millions of people have type 2 diabetes and do not know it. Talk to your doctor about being tested for diabetes, especially if any of the following risk factors apply to you:
* you have a family history of diabetes
* you are more than twenty percent over your ideal weight
* you have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol
* you belong to a racial or ethnic group at higher risk, including Hispanic, African American or Native American
* you developed diabetes during pregnancy or delivered a large baby (9 pounds or heavier)
Insulin and blood sugar