Our body gets its energy to function from mainly two substances. The first one is a simple sugar called glucose obtained from food. The second one is oxygen, which is in the air we breathe and is essential to metabolize the glucose within the cells to produce energy. Glucose and oxygen are carried out by the blood stream and distributed all over the body organs and cells. Energy is essential to support live, work, recreational activities, and in fact, everything we do.
However, for glucose to be able to enter the cell, insulin is required to facilitate the transport into the cell. Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells of a glandular organ called pancreas located behind the stomach and before the spine.
The amount of insulin produced will depend on the amount of sugar we eat. The more sugar we consume, the hardest the pancreas has to work.
Food rich in carbohydrates like potatoes, rice, bread, biscuits, pizzas, candies, ice cream, among others, are degraded to glucose inside our body.
Insulin plays a major role in diabetes because when the body loses its ability to produce or develops insulin resistance, the level of blood glucose increases and affects the whole body.
In type 1 diabetes the pancreatic beta cells do not secrete insulin due to an autoimmune reaction that destroys these insulin-producing cells. Therefore, these diabetic patients depend on daily insulin shots for glucose metabolism.
In type 2 diabetes the pancreas fails to deliver enough insulin in response to dietary sugar or the cells are unable to use insulin, effectively. In this case, patients can control their blood sugar through a strict diet, exercise, and medication as needed.
If there is too much glucose in blood, our body tries to get rid of it through the kidneys. Normally, urine does not contain sugar but people with diabetes require a lot of water to eliminate the excess glucose with the urine, which make them thirstier in an attempt to replenish lost fluids. Additionally, as a response for the lack of energy in the cells, the brain sends signals to the body to eat more.
As a consequence of these metabolic abnormalities, the classic symptoms of diabetes develop: thirst increase, frequent urination, rapid weight loss, being very hungry, and even loss of appetite without apparent cause.
Diabetes starts long before blood sugar levels increase. It occurs when people makes the three major poor choices:
- Being overweight or obese.
- Sedentarism or lack of physical activity.
- Poor food habits.
Diabetes that has been lurking for years gets then installed. So, if you want to avoid it make the right choices starting at childhood. Nowadays, more and more children are diagnosed with diabetes because they exercise less, eat more processed food, and they get fat.