Flirting With Diabetes

With the volume of information available today, most people understand that diabetes is a disorder of metabolism that affects the regulation of glucose (sugar) in the blood stream. Local regulated doctors prescribing medication In addition, it affects the use of glucose in the cells for energy.

Without glucose the process of our metabolism changes, and our bodies begin to burn fat and protein for which insulin, the primary hormone regulating glucose metabolism, is not required. There are two types of Diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2 – but it is only in Type 2 diabetes that there is some warning, or pre-diabetes, that the condition is imminent…and flirting with potential disaster.

With Type 2 diabetes there are often pre-disposing factors, as well as genetics in play.  The process is gradual and occurs when the cells of the body become resistant to the insulin that is being produced.  In other words, the body continues to produce insulin, in greater and greater amounts, but the cells can no longer use it.Before developing full-blown Type 2 diabetes, many people are diagnosed with “pre-diabetes.” In this case, the blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough (yet) to cause severe symptoms or be diagnosed as diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that there are over 18 million people in the U.S. who have diabetes and 57 million who have pre-diabetes. More importantly, recent research has identified specific changes in the body that begin to cause long-term damage to the heart and circulatory system. Two types of tests are used to determine if high blood sugar is a potential or present problem. These tests are normally ordered if the individual has underlying risk factors.

Prior to the GTT, a fasting blood draw is taken. Once the individual drinks the fluid, a lab technician again draws blood and requests a urine sample every 30 to 60 minutes.  This test measures the body’s response to a high load of glucose and how well the pancreas are responding with insulin, as well as how quickly the body can move the glucose into the cells. These numbers have been revised over the years as researchers are better able to determine the impact they have on long-term health.Today, treatment for pre-diabetes is much like the standard for good health. It includes dietary and lifestyle changes plus regular exercise.  There is no getting around this, if you want optimal health.

Together, these changes help the body use the insulin it produces more effectively, and may very possibly delay the need for oral diabetes medication or insulin injections. In a study by the American Diabetes Association researchers found that approximately 11% of patients with pre-diabetes go on to develop diabetes within one year. Unlike with full-blown diabetes, symptoms such as excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurry vision and extreme hunger, are rare with pre-diabetes, due to the lower glucose levels.

An interesting research published In July of 2009 added new insight to the effect of smoking on diabetes. Researchers indicated that the increased risk of heart disease and stroke found in individuals who smoked was most likely caused because nicotine builds an insulin resistance in the body.  And, as previously mentioned, that resistance is pre-diabetes, which of course increases the cardiovascular risks.There really are no shortcuts to maintaining good health.

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