Diabetic Diet & Recipes
Diabetes mellitus is a serious condition which interferes with the way your body’s cells use blood glucose (blood sugar). It is caused by either failure to produce enough insulin (a hormone which regulates blood sugar levels) or resistance to the effects of this hormone. As a result, too much glucose is circulating the bloodstream no matter which type of diabetes you have.
Three main types of diabetes exist – type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Although all cause your blood sugar levels rise too high, the type of diabetes you have plays the key role in management of the condition. Whereas type 1 diabetes always requires insulin therapy, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can sometimes be managed with a combination of healthy diet and regular exercise alone.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Diabetes
With the exception of gestational diabetes which is developed exclusively by pregnant women, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can affect anyone. There are, however, some factors which increase the risk of the two types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacking and destroying the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body produces little or no insulin which leads to accumulation of glucose in the bloodstream. It remains unknown why the immune system begins to attack the body’s own cell but several factors are believed to play a role including genetics (family history of the condition) and some dietary factors such as lack of vitamin D. Interestingly, the incidence of the condition increases as you move away from the equator.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is caused by resistance of the body’s cells to the effects of insulin or the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin. This type of diabetes is linked to overweight and inadequate physical activity although it can also be developed by people who do not have overweight problems. At increased risk of type 2 diabetes are also people with a family history of the condition (having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes) and women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes usually do not cause any signs or symptoms until blood sugar levels rise dangerously high. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, may cause a rapid onset of symptoms which may include:
- excessive thirst in increased urination
- unintentional weight loss
- increased hunger
- blurred vision
Diabetes Treatment And Medications
Diabetes treatment depends on the type of diabetes you have and how high your blood sugar levels are. Type 1 diabetes for instance always requires insulin therapy, while blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes can sometimes be successfully managed with lifestyle changes alone. But if a healthy diet and regular exercise fail to lower blood sugar levels to a normal range, oral medications or/and insulin injections are required to control blood glucose. However, a healthy diet, adequate physical activity and healthy body weight maintenance are an important part of diabetes treatment no matter if you take medications or not and no matter which type of diabetes you were diagnosed with.
Lifestyle changes and medications help achieve a normal range of blood sugar levels, however, they do cure the condition. Diabetes requires a lifelong management in order to avoid diabetes complications which can seriously affect quality of life and even lead to premature death.