Today’s lifestyle makes many vulnerable to the scourge of diabetes. In healthy people, the rise of glucose is easily transferred to the cells of the body. The pancreas produces the insulin needed to move excess blood sugar out of the bloodstream.
Unfortunately, for the diabetic something goes wrong and the glucose remains in the bloodstream where it begins to do significant damage to many organs of the body including the heart and kidneys.
The reasons why glucose remains in the blood are due either to the lack of insulin production by the pancreas or the cells of the body have become resistant to accepting glucose even when enough insulin is available. Type one diabetics count for 10% of all diabetics. It strikes at a young age. Type two diabetes is more prevalent. It often affects during middle age and strikes many who are overweight and live a sedentary lifestyle.
Either type of diabetes will eventually lead to complications if it is not treated. The three most prevalent complications are:
Nephropathy: Excess glucose damages the functioning of the kidneys. 60% of all people on dialysis are diabetic. The kidneys attempt to flush out excess blood sugar, but in doing so it also flushes out many of the essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to function properly. If nutrients are not replaced, this leads to a downward spiral where death ultimately results. Diabetics need to take in more nutrients than the average non-diabetic. Unfortunately, the diets of the average person today lacks the minimum requirements of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper health. This insures that many diabetics are headed for dialysis as their kidneys fail.
Retinopathy: Many diabetics eventually go blind as glucose starts to damage the fine nerves in the eyes. Diabetics are at greater risk of developing glaucoma, cataracts and other problems associated with the eyes. Seeing an eye care specialist is a necessity. While drugs do help to reduce blood sugar to normal levels, they do nothing if nerves have been significantly damaged.
Neuropathy: Similarly, the delicate nerves in the feet are affected leading to loss of sensation. The diabetic does not feel pain when stepping on a sharp object. Infection can set in leading to gangrene and eventually amputation to save the person’s life. Tingling, pain, numbness are the first symptoms that the nerves are slowly dying. It is important for anyone with diabetes to have their feet checked for nerve damage.
Cardiovascular Disease: Fully 90% of type two diabetics are overweight and obese. Excess fat puts a strain on the heart. It has been shown that losing a few pounds can greatly reduce the chance of becoming diabetic or improve blood sugar control for those who have diabetes. Most diabetics also have high blood pressure, live a stressful life and have poor eating habits. Diabetics age faster, far beyond their years. Heart attack and stroke are common to diabetics. Evidence appears to point out another type of diabetes as excess blood sugar may be the direct cause of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Diabetes is a wasting disease. It is estimated that some 20 million Americans are diabetic while an additional 7 million don’t know they have it as symptoms don’t show up. While there is no cure for the diseases, diabetes can be prevented and even reversed with the right approach which must include a proper diet, exercise and cutting out the bad habits developed over the years that lead to the condition. While Type One diabetics must take insulin injections for the rest of their lives, Type Two diabetics can take an active approach to controlling their disease to insure that they extend life for themselves and remain a vital part for their families and friends.