By Lisa Stansbury, MS, LDN, RD, CDE Dietitian for Freedom From Obesity
Shocking and scary words to hear for anyone who has been recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t think that you are alone….the CDC reports that there are over 23.1 million people who have heard those very words. There are still 7.2 million people who have diabetes that have yet to be diagnosed with an additional 84.1 million adults over the age of 18 that have the early stages of diabetes (pre-diabetes).
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas makes little or no insulin at all. Type 1 develops usually at a young age. When diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, you have a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose) either due to the pancreas producing inadequate amounts of insulin or your body not appropriately responding to the insulin being produced.
Diabetes is a chronic, lifelong disease resulting from your body’s inability to process a sugar called glucose. Your digestive system breaks down foods and beverages resulting in a variety of nutrients which include glucose. While a portion of glucose produced is stored in your liver, most enters your blood stream and travels to cells to be used as fuel for energy. Glucose needs the help of a hormone called insulin (produced by the pancreas) to enter your cells. Insulin is thought of as the “key” that unlocks the door and allows glucose to enter the cells thus being used for energy. Glucose can’t enter the cells without insulin. When you have Type 2 Diabetes the cells don’t respond well to the available insulin in your blood stream, thus glucose can’t enter cells easily and builds up in your bloodstream. This is called insulin resistance and is associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
Diabetes is not a disease to take lightly…high blood sugars damage both your large and small vessels which can lead to complications for your entire body. Heart attacks, kidney damage, strokes, nerve damage, blindness and amputations are complications that can result from uncontrolled blood sugars. Managing your diabetes can and will help you reduce your risk of the above complications and not allow diabetes to manage or control you!