Decoding Diabetes: A Notorious Lifestyle Disease

Recognized as a lifestyle disease, Diabetes is a silent killer. Due to the dramatic lifestyle change, the numbers of cases are witnessing an upward swing all over the globe. To grasp the nuances of this disease, it is crucial to understand the mechanism of the human body and few key elements that are related to Diabetes.

Energy and the Human Body

The Body requires energy to perform day to day activities. All the food consumed is split into glucose, amino acids, and fats. Energy is required by the body not merely to carry out various activities of everyday living both - voluntary (things we do consciously like cooking, going for a walk, washing clothes) and involuntary (like blinking, functioning of the cardiovascular system or respiratory system, digestion, excretion). Normally, we would eat food and the digestive process would ensure that everything moves smoothly. Out of the three Macros, Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose which is converted to energy which the body uses and life is BAU. 

What is Insulin?

The pancreas plays an important role in the process of the conversion of glucose to energy and its storage after consumption of the required energy. In addition to releasing the pancreatic juices for the process of digestion, it also performs the job of secreting the hormone, Insulin which is an extremely important hormone carrying out the aforementioned job. Insulin regulates the sugar levels in the blood. It signals the liver, muscles and fat cells to convert the excess energy to glycogen for storage. During the later stage when the body needs more energy, the insulin signals the stores to release the said glycogen and convert it back into energy for utilization.  Now that we understand what the function of the pancreas and insulin is in the regulation of sugar levels in the blood - let us move onto understanding what Diabetes is.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition defined by persistently high levels of sugar in the blood. There are multiple types of Diabetes but it is 2 types of Diabetes that make up the biggest chunk of the people suffering from this condition:

Type I Diabetes

Usually a genetic gift, you are born with this condition and this is an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is one where the body mistakenly starts attacking other cells within the body. In the case of Type 1 diabetes, the immune system starts destroying the insulin-producing cells (also called the beta cells) in the pancreas. This leaves the person with little or no insulin in the body. Without insulin, the glucose in the bloodstream is not converted to be used by the body as energy. Hence, the glucose just gets accumulated in the blood increasing the levels of blood sugar. Further, this leads to excessive urination following by dehydration, ultimately damaging the tissue of the body.

Type II Diabetes

The second and more prevalent of the two types of diabetes is Type 2 Diabetes. As a result of lifestyle choices, it usually sets in during adulthood. This is a case where the cells of a body become less responsive to insulin’s efforts to drive glucose into the cells. In simple words, the body’s cells become resistant to insulin resulting in a condition known as “Insulin resistance”. Initially, the pancreas responds to increased sugar levels by making extra insulin and continues doing so until it finally gets exhausted. It cannot match the rising demand for insulin and as a result, the blood sugar levels in the blood rise and stay there. Obesity increases your risk of having Type II Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes

This usually shows up in women during pregnancy. It usually lasts through the entire pregnancy and goes away once the pregnancy ends. Women who suffer from gestational diabetes tend to contract Type II Diabetes later in life. 

The Final Thoughts

Ironically, there exist many more types of Diabetes, but the aforesaid mentioned two types of diabetes are more prevalent. The easiest and best way to control this condition is prevention through a holistic approach emphasizing a combination of Exercise, Diet & Mindfulness. If you have the symptoms, consult a certified professional who will assist you with creating a plan to help you bring the condition under control. Thereafter use the medicines prescribed while staying committed to a consistent workout and mindful eating habits.

About The Author

Tim Sharma

An Army kid, I have lived across the length & breadth of the country and have finally grown my roots in Bengaluru. I have always had an active lifestyle competing in Equestr.... Read More..

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