Sugar is a delicious additive to foods, and in the correct dosage, a vital part of how our bodies get energy through the blood sugar or blood glucose that our cells need to perform functions throughout the body. However, sugar also threatens our bodies with things like cavities and contributes to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
This form of diabetes is a chronic condition that can potentially cause serious problems throughout the body if not treated, and it can even cause fatal conditions.
This condition affects millions of people in the world, but despite the widespread knowledge of the illness, people get many things wrong about it. We put these to rest by examining what Type 2 diabetes is, its causes and symptoms, and the myths and facts about this long-term medical condition.
While your body does produce some of the blood glucose you need (it comes from your liver), most of it comes from the food you eat, and once it enters your bloodstream, a hormone called insulin regulates it, which gets created in your pancreas.
In a healthy body, insulin keeps the blood glucose in check to keep things running smoothly; however, too much blood sugar can make insulin’s job a lot harder and cause hyperglycemia (making you prediabetic), which leads to diabetes. Your body can also become resistant to insulin, specifically cells in your liver, fat, and muscles.
Anyone can get diabetes; however, it typically affects people older than 45, overweight and obese, with a family history of the disease, those who have hypertension, or are Hispanic, Black, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or American Indian.
The changes in your body due to hyperglycemia, prediabetes, and Type 2 diabetes are often caused by a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight, a high sugar and high cholesterol diet, and genetic factors. People with this type of diabetes experience signs like fatigue, blurred vision, increased hunger and thirst, frequent urination, weight changes, tingling and numbness in their extremities, and slow-healing wounds.
Left untreated, it can cause problems in many areas of the body, including gastroparesis, diabetic retinopathy, leg and foot ulcers, gum disease, hearing loss, liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy, stroke, sexual dysfunction, and urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Let’s separate fact from fiction regarding this chronic disease:
While it’s true that weight gain can lead to illnesses like diabetes, it is not a guarantee. It is often a combination of factors, including weight gain, a high cholesterol diet, hypertension, and lack of physical activity, rather than just gaining pounds that lead to diabetes.
Your body needs sugar, but diabetics don’t process it like others. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have sweets again, just that you have to plan your meals more carefully and in smaller portions to keep from spiking your blood sugar.
An insulin regimen is a diabetes treatment that helps better regulate how your body manages blood sugar, but it isn’t a cure-all. Combining exercise, dietary changes, and other preventive measures work with insulin injections to maintain your body’s blood sugar.
Diabetes is a condition that can cause irreparable harm to your body, but with lifestyle changes, proper medical treatment, and other methods, you can live your life normally. If you’re struggling with keeping your diabetes in check, make an appointment today with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care Physicians to get help.