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How are Diabetes and Glucose Connected?
Several years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with Diabetes. No one in my family has ever had diabetes, so it came as quite a shock to the entire family. After the initial distress wore off, I decided it was important to learn more about the disease, what causes it, and how you can prevent it.
The first thing that is necessary to understand before you can even begin to discuss Diabetes, is blood glucose. Throughout my life I have heard people refer to their blood sugar. If all her children were cranky, my mother often stated that our blood sugar was low and it was time for us to be fed. But what exactly is blood sugar and how is it connected with Diabetes?
Blood sugar is the amount of glucose in the blood. Glucose is another word for sugar; it enters our bodies when we eat certain foods like potatoes, sugar, starches, etc. This is metabolized and enters our blood stream, where it is converted to glycogen storage by insulin. This glycogen is stored in body cells as fat and is then burned or eaten up by the muscles. In normally functioning bodies, this is the process that gives us energy and allows us to move and function.
But this process can be disrupted or just not work properly, which means in the short term that your body is not receiving the energy it needs and in the long term can result in serious illness or even death. One of these problems is referred to as Diabetes.
Different Kinds of Diabetes
There are several different kinds of Diabetes, but all of them are problems with insulin. The body cannot metabolize sugar without insulin, therefore if your body does not produce enough (as in the case of Type I Diabetes), there will be too much glucose in your blood and you will get sick. Some effects of a high blood sugar are extreme thirst, hunger, headache, frequent bathroom use, blurred vision, dry skin, drowsiness, and nausea. Unfortunately, these are not the most severe effects. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause damage to small blood vessels in the eyes, kidneys and heart and eventually, if unchecked, death.
Type II Diabete
Type II Diabetes is caused by cell resistance to insulin. It results in pretty much the same thing: high levels of glucose in the bloodstream and all the complications which result from it.
Obviously, Diabetes is a serious disease that should not be taken lightly. Happily, with insulin injections, by carefully controlling your diet, and monitoring blood sugar levels, the disease can be controlled. Generally a dramatic cutback on sugar is required in order to minimize stress on the body. Yet some people are far too addicted to sweet things to be able to drop them cold turkey. So for the sugar addicts, there are many sugar free products on the market. These artificial sweeteners can completely replace sugar, so while they are sweet, they require a different digestive process that does not require insulin and therefore are okay to eat.
Not Just Sugar
It is important for diabetics and those who love them to remember that sugar is not the only food containing starch. Many other foods contain glucose and simply substituting food with an artificial sweetener is not enough to insure that your blood sugar will be lowered. Foods like potatoes, fruits, and pastas all contain glucose. So whether you have Diabetes, are trying to prevent getting it, or to help someone who does have it, it is best to use a strategy that includes sugar substitutes, change of diet, and insulin shots if necessary. Of course it is always best to consult a medical professional about the best course of action.
About the Author:
Annie Small is a student of Russian culture and a client account specialist for an internet marketing company. If you would like some sweetener options check out Xlear.