Ask the Doctors: Insulin at heart of both types of diabetes – Tulsa World

Posted: December 12, 2020 at 7:52 am


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Dear Doctors: We keep hearing about Type 2 diabetes, and Im embarrassed to say, I dont actually know what it is. What does it do, and how do I know if I have it?

Dear Reader: To understand diabetes, we should first talk about glucose. Thats the sugar our bodies make from the foods that we eat and which our cells use as their main source of fuel. Glucose travels throughout the body via the blood, which is why its also often referred to as blood sugar. However, its not immediately available to the cells. Thats where insulin, a hormone manufactured by the pancreas, comes into play. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells, where it can be used as energy.

When someone has diabetes, it means that the insulin part of that energy equation isnt working properly. Either the body isnt manufacturing enough or any insulin or it isnt responding properly to the insulin that is present. That leads to blood-glucose levels that are too high.

Over time, high blood levels of glucose are dangerous. Adverse health effects include damage to the circulatory system, vision problems, nerve damage, stomach or intestinal problems, slow healing, kidney disease and an increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke. Extremely high blood sugar levels can lead to coma, and even death.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin. It often develops early in life but can occur at any age. This type of diabetes is managed with diet and exercise, plus the use of medications and insulin.

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Ask the Doctors: Insulin at heart of both types of diabetes - Tulsa World

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December 12th, 2020 at 7:52 am

Posted in Nutrition