In the last few decades, there are a number of diseases that have grown dramatically more prevalent. Among these illnesses, most are more or less well understood by the general public. Large numbers of public initiatives have made it clear how heart disease develops, and what measures must be taken to avoid cancer. But there is a disease that has the potential to be deadly and becomes more common every year yet remains largely misunderstood. In the world of public health education, diabetes is in many ways still an enigma.
A huge part of the reason why diabetes is still routinely wrongly understood is that media presents diabetes largely as a dissonant collection of traits and symptoms. A daytime drama will depict diabetes as an older gentleman with a little bit of belly and a fondness for sweets, while a charity commercial will show diabetic children who are thin as a reed.
Because diabetes can affect a wide range of different people and presents with many different symptoms, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly what causes the disease. This article will attempt to elucidate some common misunderstandings, answering the question “what is diabetes” and giving some recommendations on how to prevent it.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is essentially connected to the operation of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that affects the intake of blood borne sugar by cells. It is secreted by particular cells in the pancreas, called Beta cells.
In a healthy body, sugar is produced when complex chemical structures are broken down in the stomach and intestines. It is absorbed into the blood stream, which ferries the sugars around the body. The pancreas releases an appropriate amount of insulin for the sugar that has been produced, allowing the cells of the body to absorb the sugars from the blood. The cells convert sugars to ATP, and then use it to power cellular functions. In this sense, insulin is extremely important to proper body function.
In a diabetic body, the insulin is in some way insufficient. The reason why insulin levels are not correct varies by the type of diabetes that the body is suffering from. In type 1 diabetes, the immune system routinely destroys Beta calls, which means that there aren’t enough functional insulin producing cells in the body. Both type 2 and gestational diabetes result from some kind of insulin resistance, although gestational diabetes dictates that the resistance stems from hormones produced by the placenta. Either way, the cells cannot get enough sugar for proper function.
How to Prevent Diabetes
The only really preventable type of diabetes is type 2 and the best way to prevent type 2 diabetes is to keep in shape. Being overweight by just 10 pounds can dramatically increase your likelihood of developing diabetes. Other factors that can come into play are excessive levels of stress, substance abuse, and insufficient sleep.
The best recommendation for preventing diabetes is just to live happily and to become more healthy. By doing so, you will not only lower your risk of diabetes but increase your lifespan and improve your health overall.