What You Need to Know About Diabetes

What You Need to Know About Diabetes

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly is happening in the body when it comes to diabetes, you’re not alone. Understanding a bit more about this highly common condition can help you and your loved ones stay in better control of your future health.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes can happen when your blood sugar is too high, often for long periods of time. The cells of your body need sugar (also known as glucose) for energy. But, in diabetes, there is too much sugar in your blood, and your cells have a hard time getting this sugar out of the blood to use for fuel.

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

In type 1 diabetes, there’s too much sugar in the blood because a person’s pancreas stops working well. A healthy pancreas makes a special hormone messenger called “insulin” that helps cells take up sugar from the blood to use as fuel. But, when the pancreas stops making insulin, the cells can’t use sugar from the blood anymore. Type 1 diabetes is also sometimes called “juvenile diabetes” because it’s typically diagnosed in childhood.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, there’s also too much sugar in the blood. But the problem isn’t with the pancreas. Instead, sugar stays in the bloodstream because the cells aren’t as good at receiving messages from the insulin messenger. It’s as if insulin is knocking at the door of the cells, but they won’t open up and let in any sugar. Cells can become less sensitive to insulin in this way if the blood sugar has been chronically high over a long period. Type 2 diabetes is more likely to affect adults, but it can also occur in children.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that only happens in pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, the hormones of pregnancy can affect the way that your cells use sugar as fuel.

Symptoms of Diabetes

At first, a person with diabetes or prediabetes may have no symptoms at all. But, as diabetes progresses, it’s possible to experience a number of symptoms, including:

  • Feeling very thirsty or hungry
  • Losing weight unintentionally
  • Feeling tired
  • Nausea, bloating, or vomiting (these can be caused by gastroparesis, which is when the stomach empties more slowly)
  • Nerve pain
  • Numbness
  • Frequent infections

Tips for Managing Diabetes

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, one of the most important tips for managing your condition is staying on top of your diet by limiting refined and added sugar. It’s also essential to combine carbohydrates with protein or fat to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar that can overwhelm your system. If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin. If you have type 2 diabetes, an oral medicine or an injectable medicine, as well as lifestyle changes, can help manage your condition.

To learn more about clinical research trials involving diabetes, make sure to check out our M3 Wake Research clinical trials site.