How much do you know about type 2 diabetes? It used to be called sugar sickness, but it is so much more than just sugar. Many people think that a person with diabetes just has to watch what they eat, and avoid a lot of sugar, and they will be fine. For a lucky few, that may be a true statement, but often times type 2 diabetes is more complicated.
What happens when the body has diabetes? First, the pancreas is an organ which makes insulin. Every bit of food that a person eats is broken down into sugar and burned as energy, or saved for later use. Picture a locked safe. That’s like the cells in our bodies, because each cell needs sugar from food to use as energy. The safe is there, and you want to open it and put the food inside, but you can’t, because you can’t find the key. Insulin is the key.
You cannot open the safe without the key, and neither can the cells of the body utilize the sugar they need, without the insulin to unlock them. This means that the cells of the body are starving for fuel because the pancreas is not making enough insulin. In some cases, a person with type 2 diabetes may become resistant to the insulin that their body produces. This means that their pancreas is making insulin, but their body is ignoring the insulin or is resisting using it properly.
So, what happens when the cells of the body remain locked? Whether the body is resisting the insulin, or whether the pancreas isn’t making enough for the body to use, the result is the same. Sugar begins to accumulate in the bloodstream. This is why people with diabetes frequently prick their fingers and tests the drops of blood that are squeezed out. They carry a meter with them, and test strips. They squeeze the blood into the strip and insert the strip into the machine, which analyzes the blood and determines the level of sugar in the blood. If it is high, it means that the body is resisting the insulin is has or that the body doesn’t have enough insulin to go around.
Sugar which lingers in the blood can cause problems. Did you know that sugar can irritate the blood vessels if it stays in there for a long time? Inflammation and irritation are not good for the blood vessels or the body in general.
Diabetes can affect the body in other ways as well. It can cause blurry vision, as well as a condition called retinopathy, where the blood vessels in the eyeballs leak small amounts of blood, and this leakage can obscure the field of vision and even cause vision loss. Diabetes also can have a negative effect on circulation in the legs. Circulation may become sluggish, and nerves may become damaged. Diabetes is about so much more than just sugar. Do you have type 2 diabetes? Do you need to learn more? Call for an appointment today.