Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high sugar level in the blood. There are different types of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. This disease affects an increasing number of people in Eeyou Istchee and worldwide.
Research shows that you can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing weight gain. Eating healthy and being more active are therefore ways of preventing the disease.
VIDEO: What is Type 2 Diabetes?
What is Type 2 diabetes?
When we talk about blood sugar also called blood glucose.
We mean the kind of sugar found inside our body.
Blood sugar comes from most of the food we eat and not just sweet tasting foods.
Foods that contain sugar are anything made of flour such as bannock bread pasta, but also rice, potatoes and fruit juices desserts and sweets.
Meat, fish, and eggs do not contain sugar.
To understand what diabetes is, we need first to understand how the body works.
When we eat the sugar from the food goes into the blood.
The blood carries the sugar to the different parts of the body like the muscles the heart and the brain.
To get the sugar out of the blood and into the body parts we need a key.
The key is called insulin.
Insulin is made by the pancreas.
The pancreas makes insulin when we eat.
Insulin unlocks the door and allows the sugar to enter the body parts.
Our body uses the sugar as fuel to keep us healthy.
This is why we all need some sugar in our blood.
While we are sleeping our liver releases sugar into the blood to keep a healthy blood sugar level at night.
This allows us to sleep through the night without eating.
When there is enough sugar in the blood the insulin will turn off the liver.
Diabetes is when we have too much sugar in the blood.
This happens because the sugar cannot enter the body parts, because the insulin cannot open the lock.
The liver releases too much sugar in the blood.
The sugar cannot enter the body parts because the pancreas does not make enough insulin.
We will now explain these reasons in more detail.
At the beginning of diabetes, the pancreas is still able to make insulin.
But the insulin cannot turn the lock and open the door.
Because the sugar cannot get into the body parts, it builds up sugar in the blood.
Another reason for having diabetes is because the liver releases too much sugar in the blood.
We have a leaky liver.
While we sleep our liver releases sugar into the blood to keep a healthy blood sugar level at night.
When we have diabetes, the insulin cannot completely turn off the liver after it has made enough sugar.
The liver becomes like a leaky tap, it leaks sugar all night and causes high blood sugar in the morning when we wake up.
Here are a few reasons why insulin cannot open the lock or turn off the leaky liver.
When we don't stay active and use our muscles enough, the insulin has difficulty opening the lock.
When we gain too much weight the extra fat blocks the lock.
If you have family members with diabetes your insulin might have more difficulty opening the lock.
Finally, another reason for diabetes is the sugar cannot enter the body parts because the pancreas does not make enough insulin.
After we have diabetes for many years our pancreas gets tired and can't make enough insulin.
Tired out pancreas is the main reason why some people with a healthy weight can have diabetes.
What can you do to help your tired pancreas?
Some kinds of diabetes pills will lower your blood sugar by pushing the pancreas to make more insulin.
Why do some people need insulin injections?
When the pancreas is too tired, the pills will not work anymore. It is like the pancreas is empty.
Insulin cannot be made as a pill. So the only way to give our body the insulin it needs is by a needle.
The insulin from the needle will work the same way as the insulin produced by our pancreas, and will help lower our blood sugar.
There are different things you can do to keep your blood sugar level healthy.
Choose healthy foods and eat smaller portions.
Help your insulin work better by being more active.
Losing a few pounds taking certain diabetes pills.
When needed, take other kinds of diabetes pills to push your pancreas to make more insulin.
Take insulin when your pancreas cannot make enough of its own insulin.
Taking care of your diabetes will help prevent damage to your body from high blood glucose levels.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle for the whole family will help prevent diabetes for all family members.
You can find your own way to live well with diabetes.
If you are concerned about developing diabetes, or are having trouble managing your diabetes, contact your local CMC.