The Science of Diabetes Mellitus: How Exactly Does Blood Sugar Change With Diabetes?

Person checking diabetes

The human body is a perfect machine whose internal workings are regulated by the secretion of certain chemicals that keep it functioning at its prime. And diabetes is a condition where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough of the chemical insulin, or the body stops using it to perform the necessary functions. 

While most people love sugar in its many forms, continuing to feed the body with excessive amounts of it can negatively impact your health. The body is only capable of processing and handling a certain quantity of sugar in its many forms – whether it is from sweets, fruits or even complex carbohydrates. And sometimes, certain factors can make it harder for the body to process any sugar at all and this can lead to an even lower threshold for dietary sugar. 

While this sounds vague, and you may have a vague idea of what diabetes mellitus is, you need to know further in detail about the science of diabetes mellitus. 

What happens to your body on diabetes? 

There are different types of diabetes – from type 1 that is immunological, to type 2 that is lifestyle based, and even gestational diabetes that is caused by hormonal changes. While they are all caused by different factors, the impact is the same – the body is not able to handle or process glucose in the way it is supposed to. Understanding the causes behind each type of diabetes can go a long way in helping you better manage your lifestyle and the nuances of the treatment that your doctor is suggesting for you. 

Type 1 diabetes as earlier mentioned is an immunological condition where the immune system affects the cells that are required for insulin production. As a result of this, the symptoms develop earlier, usually around adolescent age. Genetics also play a role in the development of this condition. People who have the Human Leukocyte Antigen complex are also at greater risk. Certain viruses such as those of german measles, mumps and rotavirus can cause the immune system to confuse between the disease virus and the beta cells in the body and start attacking them both, and hindering the production of insulin. 

When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, the condition is caused by lifestyle aspects like obesity, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. In most of the type 2 diabetes cases, the opposite of type 1 diabetes happens. In type 2 diabetes, body cells have problems absorbing the insulin that is produced in the body and can cause cellular insulin resistance. And as the body continues to become more resistant to insulin, it becomes hard for the beta cells to handle. 

Lack of exercise and poor nutrition can put excess stress on certain cells in the body, and cause them to close the insulin receptors present on its surface. When this happens, the glucose levels will start to rise and the glucose will pass through the body, without being processed, and this high level can affect all the other systems in the body. 

Physical activity is a great way to counter this by using up the nutrients in these cells and ensuring that they open up again. But when people continue to eat poorly and not exercise, type 2 diabetes settles in. 

The third type of diabetes is known as gestational diabetes develops during pregnancy, owing to hormonal changes. The surge of certain hormones produced by the fetal placenta causes insulin resistance, and most women can produce enough insulin to overcome this resistance. But in case of those who cannot combat this resistance, diabetes develops. This is usually observed in women who are obese or are genetically predisposed to diabetes. Other factors like genetic mutations, cystic fibrosis, or even hyperthyroidism can also cause gestational diabetes. If this condition is not managed well, it can create complications to the mother and the unborn child during the pregnancy and delivery. 

When left untreated, diabetes can cause significant damage to the body. The high blood glucose levels can narrow and weaken the blood vessel walls, leading to high blood pressure. This in turn can cause cardiovascular disease, hypertension, nerve damage, kidney disease and even vision troubles. 

Eating well during diabetes

What You Can Do With This Information On Diabetes

Even though diabetes is a serious condition, being aware of its causes, its symptoms and early diagnosis can go a long way in avoiding the above-mentioned complications. Those with well-managed diabetes mellitus, who eat well, exercise regularly and following their doctor’s recommendations can lead a healthy and full life. 

The human body is meant for movement and a balanced diet and when we divert from this, complications like diabetes occur. These are internal threats caused by poor lifestyle choices and are warning signs from the body to correct your lifestyle course. Paying attention to these cues from the body and correcting them with the help of your trusted doctor is the only way to ensure your health and well-being. 

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