What is Diabetes?
When we eat our body breaks down carbohydrates into sugars called glucose. Glucose is absorbed into our blood stream, and a hormone called insulin is produced. Insulin is like the key to the door of our cell, and without this key the blood sugars can’t get in. Normally, insulin is produced, unlocks the cell door, and then our glucose goes into the cell. However, in someone with diabetes the blood sugar does not go from the blood into the cells normally, and this leads to high amounts of glucose in the blood.
What are the types?
There are several types of diabetes. The first, Pre-Diabetes, occurs when a person has blood glucose that is higher than normal, but is not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, typically occurs in children and adolescents. Those with Type 1 Diabetes do not produce insulin. Therefore, they have to take insulin shots so the sugar in their blood can get into their cells. Type 2 Diabetes, more common in adults, can occur when the body produces too little or no insulin, or the body makes insulin, but the cells are unable to use the insulin properly. Lastly, Gestational Diabetes, occurs when a woman experiences high blood sugar during her pregnancy.
What are the complications?
If diabetes is not managed properly a person can experience a range of devastating consequences. These include, but are not limited to eye problems (trouble seeing, light sensitivity, and blindness), and nerve Damage (numbness, tingling, pain, and loss of feelings in parts of your body). Those with diabetes are also at a higher risk for infections, amputations, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease.
Who is at risk?
Those who are at higher risk for diabetes include those who are greater than 45 years old, have a family history of diabetes, have past medical history of gestational diabetes , high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol/triglycerides, are physically inactive, or overweight. Certain ethnicities (Non-Hispanic Blacks, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and American Indians and Alaska Natives) are also at higher risks for being diagnosed with diabetes. Are you at risk?
At risk or already diagnosed?
Complications associated with Diabetes can be avoided through reducing your stress, exercising, and eating right and the UAB Campus Recreation Center can help with all three. Make your appointment to see a massage therapist, personal trainer, or registered dietitian today! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for more information.
Elizabeth Milne, MS, RD, LD