We have often talked about the symptoms of Diabetes, but how do these symptoms occur and why do they happen? Although the answer to these questions will not necessarily overcome our health problems, it can help us understand what happens in our body and why it works in a certain way.
Polyphagia is a medical term used to describe increased appetite and overeating. Polyphagia is also known as hyperphagia and along with polyuria and polydipsia is one of the main symptoms of diabetes.
Polyphagia is present not only in Diabetes but also in other conditions, such as:
Under normal conditions, carbohydrates are digested and absorbed into the body to be converted to glucose, which is taken up by cells to produce energy. When blood sugar levels are low (hypoglycemia) the brain senses the need for energy and sends signals to stimulate eating so blood glucose levels are increased. However, why in the case of hyperglycemia we also crave for food?
Diabetes is a disease that alters the metabolism of glucose. Even if an individual has consumed enough carbohydrates, the cells will not be able to convert the absorbed glucose into energy. This is due to either by lack of insulin or to problems related to the cell receptors that bind to the glucose molecules for transporting them within the cell for further metabolism. Hence, glucose will build up in blood causing hyperglycemia. However, since the cells are not getting the amount of glucose they need, the brain will respond increasing your appetite. This will result in Polyphagia.
In reality, Polyphagia is a clear signal of poorly controlled Diabetes. Polyphagia can be resolved by introducing changes in your lifestyle such as avoiding a sedentary life, exercising daily, and eating a balanced diet by reducing total calories, fats, and refined foods ingested. All these changes will help control blood glucose levels and therefore the Polyphagia. Another useful strategy to control Polyphagia is to eat smaller portions of food but more frequently.
Remember, always check with your doctor if you experience these symptoms, again, keeping an active lifestyle and a balanced diet is the key to controlling your diabetes and its accompanying symptoms.