What is Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. The process of converting food into glucose for energy is disrupted in diabetes. The hormone insulin, produced by the pancreas, plays a crucial role in regulating blood sugar levels.
In individuals with type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. As a result, the body doesn't produce enough insulin, and glucose cannot enter the cells effectively. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is the most common form of diabetes and is typically diagnosed in adults. In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, and the pancreas may not produce enough insulin to compensate. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels.
There is also gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy when hormonal changes can cause insulin resistance. While it typically resolves after childbirth, it increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
Managing diabetes involves maintaining blood sugar levels within a target range through a combination of medication (such as insulin injections or oral medications), a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and monitoring blood sugar levels. It's essential for individuals with diabetes to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan to keep their condition under control.
Loading the player...Diabetes and Lifestyle Considerations <p> <a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/registered-dietician">Dietician</a>, discusses the importance of making good lifestyle choices when managing diabetes.</p>
Dietician, discusses the importance of making good lifestyle choices when managing diabetes.
Loading the player...How Mindful Eating Can Help Diabetes Management <p> <a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/registered-dietician">Professional Dietitian</a>, talks about how mindful eating techniques can help with diabetes management.</p>
Professional Dietitian, talks about how mindful eating techniques can help with diabetes management.
Loading the player...The Story of Understanding The Symptoms of Hypoglycemia <p><a href="https://www.healthchoicesfirst.com/practitioner-type/registered-dietician"> Endocrinologist,</a> discusses the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.</p>
Endocrinologist, discusses the symptoms of Hypoglycemia.
The Story of Understanding The Symptoms of Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia occurs when the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood drops below normal levels, typically below 70 mg/dL (3.9 mmol/L). Glucose is the primary source of energy for our body's cells, including the brain, muscles, and other organs.
The brain is particularly sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels because it relies heavily on glucose as its main energy source. When blood sugar becomes too low, the brain detects this through specialized cells called glucose-sensing neurons. In response, it initiates a series of protective mechanisms to restore blood sugar to a normal range.
One of the main ways the brain attempts to raise blood sugar is by triggering the release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) and glucagon. These hormones play important roles in counteracting hypoglycemia:
Adrenaline (Epinephrine): This hormone is released by the adrenal glands, located on top of the kidneys, in response to low blood sugar. Adrenaline helps raise blood sugar levels by stimulating the liver to convert stored glycogen (a storage form of glucose) into glucose, which is then released into the bloodstream.
Glucagon: Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that acts in opposition to insulin. When blood sugar is low, glucagon is released to stimulate the breakdown of glycogen into glucose in the liver, leading to increased blood sugar levels.
These stress hormones promote the release of stored glucose and inhibit its uptake by cells, effectively raising blood sugar levels. This response is part of the body's intricate system of maintaining glucose homeostasis, ensuring that organs have an adequate supply of energy to function properly.
If hypoglycemia is left untreated or becomes severe, it can lead to symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, shakiness, weakness, sweating, and, in severe cases, loss of consciousness or seizures. It's important to address hypoglycemia promptly by consuming a source of glucose, such as fruit juice, candy, or glucose tablets, to restore blood sugar to a safe level.
If you suspect you have hypoglycemia or are experiencing symptoms related to blood sugar regulation, it's best to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.
Now, why stress hormones? Because when we’re stressed, it's not supposed to be because we’ll have an exam in half an hour. In nature, we’re supposed to be stressed because there's a bear in front of us in the forest. And we have to prepare because of the bear to either run away or climb a tree or, if we’re really crazy, fight with the bear.
So the body prepares us for that and the stress hormones, what they do is, they cause a series of changes such as perspiration; it makes us slippery if we fight with someone. It makes our heart pound and breathe faster to help us run. It will make us have tremor cause we’re ready to move very fast. If I ask you to go and get a ball under the balcony and, as you're walking under the balcony, I say “By the way, be careful there's big spiders under the balcony.” You’ll become nervous and if any grass touches you, you’ll be very fast to move. So that's useful when we fight. So there's a series and we become white like a sheet so that we don't bleed if were scratched. So all these things are useful, but also the body, with stress hormone, increases the sugar levels tremendously in the blood so that our muscles will have a lot of sugar as we run. When hypoglycemia occurs, the body knows that.
So by giving out stress hormones, it makes the sugar come up in the blood, which is the desired action. But the stress hormones, they don't know they're there just to make the sugar go up. They do all of their actions so the person with hypoglycemia, will sweat, will have tremor, will have the heart pounding, will feel nervous without knowing why. So these unnecessary symptoms actually become very useful because it will allow the person with diabetes having hypoglycemia to recognize it and to treat it in time.