Sunday, January 11, 2009

Diabetics

WHY MUST DIABETICS MONITOR BLOOD SUGAR? Simple sugars are absorbed so quickly that they trigger a rise in blood sugar levels: this is called hyperglycemia. The pancreas produces a surge of insulin in response to remove the excess glucose from the bloodstream, but this sudden influx can't be turned on and off like faucet. Soon there is too much insulin, causing a low blood sugar level. This is called hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar levels cause the body's adrenal glands to produce extra glucose from proteins, starches and other fuel sources in the body to bring blood sugar levels back to normal.

ABOUT TYPE I DIABETES: This is known as an autoimmune disease, because the body destroys its own cells: those that produce insulin. When all those cells have been destroyed, the symptoms of type I diabetes appear. These include unexplained weight loss; vision problems; more frequent urination; and feeling very hungry, thirsty or tired. Among other long-term complications, type I diabetes means there is an increased risk of kidney failure, nerve damage, heart disease and blindness.

ABOUT TYPE II DIABETES: Type II diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In this form of the disease, either the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body ignore insulin. This can stop glucose from moving out of the bloodstream and into cells. Cells need the energy that glucose provides, and too much sugar in the blood can cause damage to the eyes, nerves, kidneys, or heart. These complications are very similar to the threats from type I diabetes, though type II can sometimes be treated with medications and diet instead of insulin (obtained through injections or in an inhaled form).

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