What is diabetes

xmas_whatisdiabetesDiabetes is a disease when your blood has too much sugar. The reason for this is because the beta cells in your pancreas are unable to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin is vital in a way that it helps your cells to take up sugar from blood. Sugar, mainly glucose, is a source of energy. Without insulin, your cells can’t get glucose and your body won’t get the energy it needs.

Too complicated? Let’s break it down.

  • Your body is comprised of millions of different kinds of cells, when these cells come together, it forms YOU. Imagine bricks as cells in you: a house comprises of many bricks, and many bricks come together to build YOU.
  • Different from bricks, cells are living and need energy. When you eat, especially starchy foods such as bread and rice, your body can break down the food into sugar (mainly glucose) so that the body can use it for energy. Food with protein and fat content will also be broken down and converted to glucose too. Once food is converted to glucose, it will be transported around the body by blood, providing energy to your cells.
  • Now to keep them safe, your cells have a cell wall around them and they’re pretty picky about what they let inside. For glucose to get into your cells, it needs some help. This is where insulin becomes important.
  • Cells cannot get glucose by themselves. They need insulin to help open the channels to let glucose into the cells. When the pancreas produces sufficient insulin, cells will get the food they need. When there is no insulin, or when it isn’t working properly, the cells can’t function and your body doesn’t have the energy it needs.
  • You need insulin to survive. Without insulin, you can get very sick. Insulin keeps you alive.
About type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body produces no insulin. The immune system attacks itself in a way that beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed and unable to make insulin, causing a severe lack of insulin. No one knows for certain why this happens, but the trigger is likely caused by a viral or other infection. There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes and the only way of treatment is insulin injection. If your body lacks insulin for a long time, glucose will accumulate in blood to a high level you will feel really sick.
About type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body either does not make enough insulin to meet the body’s needs, or the insulin produced does not function properly. This is known as “insulin resistance”. The minute amount of insulin produced by the pancreas is insufficient to trigger body cells to respond to take up glucose in blood. As a result, blood glucose level rises and eventually spills over into the urine. Healthy lifestyle and eating habits can help delay and prevent type 2 diabetes. In some cases, type 2 diabetic patients also need insulin injections, while taking pills is a more common way to help manage their blood glucose. There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes and the only way of treatment is insulin injection. If your body lacks insulin for a long time, glucose will accumulate in blood to a high level you will feel really sick.

Effects of diabetes

It is important to know the short- and long-term effects of diabetes. Then you will know the importance of well management on diabetes – making healthy choices and keeping blood glucose level stable.

People treated with insulin has a greater risk of hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), regardless of they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) can also be damaging to your eyes, kidneys and heart.

Why me?

When you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is natural and OK to ask: “Why did I have to get diabetes?” It’s easy to feel that getting diabetes is unfair, and to wonder why you were the unlucky one to get it.

“Why me?” is a hard question to answer, but scientists are working hard to discover why some kids get diabetes, but they do not have a clear answer yet.

One of the possible causes is the gene combination. A certain combination of genes can make one person more likely to develop diabetes than another person, even in the same family.

The environment in which you live, and everything in the world around you, probably also plays a role. Something you have come in contact with in your life might have acted as a “trigger” to start up the disease. Scientists are investigating other possible triggers but no real cause has been found yet.

As you learn to live and cope with diabetes, you will realise that you can live a full and healthy life. Many kids have learned to manage and cope with diabetes and they have found that they have also become better at managing many other aspects of their life.

Both kids and experts agree: It’s worth putting in the effort to learn to take care of yourself and to live well with diabetes. This benefits both your long-term health and helps you to achieve your life goals and dreams.

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