What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease people can develop that lasts their whole life. Most researchers believe that people develop Type 2 Diabetes because their body is at an unhealthy weight. Diabetes can harm many parts of a person's body. It is important to know if you are at risk for developing it so you can protect your body from harm.
How does Type 2 Diabetes develop?
Most people get Type 2 Diabetes because they weigh more than their healthy weight range. There are many guesses why diabetes develops.
To know how it happens, you also have to know how our bodies use food for fuel. When you eat a meal, your body breaks your food up into tiny pieces in your stomach and then keeps breaking it up further in your gut. One of the main things your body breaks the food into is called glucose. You may also hear this being called blood sugar. This is not the same thing as sugar from food. This glucose gives the smallest parts of our bodies, called cells, fuel to run the bigger things like your heart, eyes, lungs, legs, and toes. It even brings energy to our brains to help us think!
When your body receives the signal that glucose has entered your blood, your body releases a tool called insulin. Insulin acts like a key to help the glucose get into the cells. Without insulin, your cells cannot get fueled. Without this fuel, it is harder for your body to work.
Type 2 Diabetes can develop from many different things. First, a person's cells can get covered up with fat. This happens when a person is out of their healthy weight range. This fat covers up the keyhole that insulin needs use to let the glucose in the cell. Without the insulin working, the glucose cannot fuel the body. Instead, it ends up just floating around in the person's blood and building up.
Even though a person's blood may be filling up with glucose, the cells still are not getting fueled. A person's body then sends out an alarm to tell the body to make its own glucose. It can be made in a place called the liver. The liver leaks the glucose into the blood like a leaky pipe and the glucose in the blood gets higher and higher. The insulin still cannot work since the keyholes are still blocked by too much fat. The fuel still cannot get into the cell.
Since a person's blood may get more filled up with glucose, the body may tell the insulin factory to make more insulin to help bring it down. Over time, the insulin factory, a place in our body called the pancreas, may get tired and weak. It may even stop working or run out of insulin.
What happens to a person's body over time with diabetes?
All of that glucose building up in the blood can cause damage. This damage does not happen overnight, but it can happen slowly over years. The blood jammed packed with glucose (almost like a traffic jam) can cause little cuts and bruises to the parts that carry the blood (the blood vessels). You have these vessels all over their body. They go everywhere blood needs to go like your heart, brain, lungs, fingers, toes, legs, stomach, eyes, and many more! All of these cuts and bruises can happen anywhere in a person's body whose glucose is too high for too long. This can cause heart disease, blindness, trouble feeling things, kidney failure, trouble walking, and loss of fingers toes and legs. Even cavities can be caused by high blood sugar! Every part of a person's body can be hurt by diabetes and they might not even know it!
What does it feel like if you have diabetes?
A person may never know if he or she has diabetes since diabetes does not feel like the flu or a cold. A person usually does not feel very sick. Diabetes can still cause damage to the body, even though the person does not feel it. Sometimes, people complain of the following things before they are diagnosed with diabetes:
· Always tired
· Thirsty a lot
· Go to the bathroom to urinate a lot
· Blurry vision
· Hungry a lot
· Feel sick to the stomach or nauseous
What can I do to prevent diabetes?
· Maintain a healthy weight. Check the weight calculator to see if your weight is in the healthy weight range.
· Eat 3 meals a day and do not skip meals. Try to eat at the same time everyday and eat about the same amount.
· Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and proteins, and low fat dairy products everyday.
· Eat less high fat snacks like chips, pastries, and cookies.
· Omit high calorie drinks like soda, juices, sweetened teas, fruit punch, and Kool-Aid.
· Increase physical activity to 60 minutes a day most days of the week.
· Let yourself relax a few moments everyday and keep from getting too stressed.
· Ask your pediatrician or family physician if you are at risk. The doctor might want to check some blood work to see if you have diabetes. The sooner you know if you have diabetes or not, the sooner you can prevent the damage from the high blood glucose.