or anyone who hears the diagnosis “diabetes,” the first question that comes to mind is probably: “Does this mean daily insulin shots?”. There is truly no simple answer to that question; it depends on the type of diabetes diagnosed.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes refers to a group of diseases that affect how our body uses glucose. Normally our body turns the food we eat into glucose, a type of sugar that our body uses for energy. Glucose is then carried throughout our body by our bloodstream. With the help of insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas, glucose can enter the cells of our muscles and tissues in our body to be converted into energy.
In a person with diabetes, this glucose can’t enter the cells properly and as a result, the level of glucose in the bloodstream stays high. There can be several reasons for this. In some people, the pancreas makes no insulin, resulting in too much glucose in the bloodstream. Medically, this is known as type 1 diabetes.
Sometimes the pancreas makes some insulin but not enough, and sometimes the body just can’t use the insulin properly. Both conditions fall into a category called type 2 diabetes.
Too much glucose in our bloodstream can lead to serious health problems which include damage to small blood vessels, large blood vessels and nerves and as a result, a lot of the organs in our body become affected. The most common cause of death in individuals with diabetes is heart disease.