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Medicine & Health Education
The Story of Diabetes Mellitus
Lifestyle Modifications for a Healthy Body, Mind and Spirit
Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.
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DIABETES : The Body's Energy Crisis - # 2
A condition for Life - to be Controlled & not Cured !
 
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Part - 2
 
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What is Diabetes?

The day you learned that you have Diabetes could be the most important day. You should start taking steps that can shape the way you feel and help you live healthier in the years ahead.

 

Your body has changed.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects your life in many ways. In simple terms, it means that your body is having trouble handling sugar. A simple form of sugar is called glucose and your body has problem utilizing this glucose to burn sugar in the cells to make energy out of it. It also has effects in handling fatty substances and a whole lot of activities of the human cells. In early stages, it may not show ant problems of ill health and one my feel quite healthy until a complication occurs.Later, it can cause drowsiness, blurred vision, increased thirst, dry mouth or sudden weight loss. In time, diabetes can affect the blood flow to various organs, heart, nerves, eyes, kidneys, even the teeth and gums. The small blood vessels can get blocked or break and bleed. If diabetes is well controlled early, many of these problems and complications can be delayed or prevented altogether.

 

Learn about Diabetes and Get the Help.

The first step one needs to take in coping with diabetes is education; to know about the disease and how to control it. It is important to understand how diabetes affects the human body and how to control its effects by proper diet, exercise and treatment. One of the first question comes to mind is, how long one has to take the medicine and keep up this life of diet and exercise. The answer is simple: "all your life". Diabetes is a condition of the body that can be controlled but not cured. Diabetes is a life long disease in which your body has trouble converting the food you eat into the energy you need. It needs certain amount of life style modification -- "no more business as usual". You have to make changes in your life aand all your habits and likes & dislikes. You may need the help of a diabetes management team of your physician, a nurse, dietician, diabetes educator, eye specialist, dentist, foot doctor and phamacist and a whole lot of other specialist as needed. But, YOU are the team leader who will keep them informed of all your problems, current condition, feelings and needs.

 

What happens normally?

The human body is made of millions of cells that require energy from thinking to physical activity. The food that we eat contains sugars and starches which is broken into a fuel called blood sugar [glucose]. This enters the blood stream and travels to all cells. Here, it is metabolized [burned] for immediate energy or stored in the liver, muscle or fat for later use. For these actions inside the cells, the body need a proper amount of insulin. Normally, as the body senses a certain amount of rising levels of sugar, it sends a signal to a gland behind the stomach called pancreas. The pancreas then releases insulin into the blood stream which travels to the cells where it attaches to certain special receptors allowing the sugars to enter the cells. As the sugars enter the cells, the blood sugar level drops.

 

What Goes wrong in Diabetes?

When you have diabetes, either the body [pancreas] does not make insulin, it does not make enough insulin as needed or the insulin it makes does not work right at the cell level. The food you eat is still digested into sugars and is absorbed into the blood stream normally. But, it has trouble getting into the cells or being burnt into carbon dioxide and water and being utilized into energy. When the cells can not burn the glucose to make the energy, the unused sugars builds up in the blood stream.There are two common forms of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 [called Insulin dependant] is the severe form, often present from childhood, manifests in an early age where the pancreas does not make insulin at all or not enough insulin to handle the sugar. These persons must take Insulin injections all their life to stay alive. In type 2 diabetes, [also called non-insulin dependant] the pancreas makes enough insulin, but it is not made available at the cells or the body cells have trouble using it properly.

 
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Continued on next page
 
 
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-- High Blood Sugar and Diabetes are harmful to good health--
Essential Changes -- for a healthy Heart and General Health0
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