Diabetes Mellitus is a chronic disease in which your body does not make enough insulin or it is not able to use the insulin it has correctly. It results in high blood sugar levels. If left untreated, high blood sugars over time can cause diabetes complications, such as problems with eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart.
To understand what goes wrong in diabetes, you first need to understand what insulin does. Sugar in your blood needs to go into cells so that it can be used for energy. The cells are normally tightly locked and the only thing that opens them is insulin. When a cell needs energy, insulin acts as a key to unlock the cell. this opens the cell so sugar can enter and be used for energy.
Without the help of Insulin to get the sugar into the body cells, the blood sugar builds up causing high blood sugar. Think of other liquids high in sugar, like honey or syrup. They are thick and sticky. When your blood sugar is high, your blood is also thick and sticky. This causes a bunch of stuff to happen:
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. See the pictures below for a description of each.
When you have Diabetes, you may need the help of some lifestyle changes and medications to either replace the insulin or help it to work better so that you have:
Not too HIGH blood sugar ... (>180)
Not too LOW blood sugar... (<70)
But a blood sugar JUST RIGHT! (70-130)
Once you have diabetes, you will always have diabetes. The treatment may change over time. The good news is, with a little hard work and careful attention your diabetes can be managed well. So that it does not have to interfere with your ability to have a great, fun, and fulfilling life!
Carbohydrates: The part of food that changes to glucose in your body; your body's main source of energy
Glucose: Also called "sugar," which is energy for your body - just like gas for your car
Insulin: A hormone that is naturally produced by your pancreas and helps glucose get into cells for energy