What is Diabetes ? Part I

Diabetes is a lifelong condition, which can be controlled, but not cured.  Our body will take foods – carbohydrates – such as starch, milk, fruit and sweets, and break them down into sugar in our blood stream.  The pancreas (a gland in the body) will secrete insulin.  The insulin is needed to move the sugar /glucose from the blood stream into the cells.  Once it is in the cells, it is used for energy or stores in the liver or muscles to be used later.   When someone has diabetes, their body is unable to use these foods properly, as there is no /or not enough insulin available.  These extra sugars are then trapped in the blood stream and cannot be used as energy. This is Diabetes.  This ‘extra sugar’ can lead to a lot of complications.

The two most common types of Diabetes are Type I and Type II.  Type I Diabetes is when the body cannot make ANY insulin.  Type II Diabetes is when the body can’t make ENOUGH insulin or the insulin cannot be used properly – also known as insulin resistance.

Over time, this ‘extra sugar’ in the blood stream can damage blood vessels and nerves.  Organs – (such as eyes, heart, kidneys) which are supplied by these damaged blood vessels and nerves can also be affected.  It is important to try and keep blood sugars as close to normal as possible.

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