Why is it important to control blood sugar?
Balancing blood sugar levels is extremely important to keep our entire bodies working properly. Unbalanced glucose interferes with organ functions, it can even damage our brain since glucose is the main source of energy used by it. Levels of glycogen in the muscles deplete more rapidly during periods of intense physical activity.
Our bodies do not work properly when there is too much or too little glucose in circulation. Insulin keeps our glucose levels regulated for optimal body functioning. Sometimes the process of metabolizing and storing sugar does not work correctly.
One common problem in diabetics is insulin resistance. This is a condition in which cells do not respond correctly to insulin signals, preventing cells from receiving the energy they need to survive.
The body looks for an alternative energy source when glucose is unavailable. Alternatively, the body converts fat and muscle into energy. During this energy conversion there is a production of fatty acids also known as ketones. Ketones is an acidic chemical that circulates in our bloodstream, it can be used for energy. However, too many ketones in our blood can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in those people with diabetes. Severe ketoacidosis can be lethal, leading to coma or even death.
Glucose conversion process
The body has to find a way to nourish the cells. Insulin signals the liver, muscle and fat cells to receive glucose from the blood. Insulin signals the liver to store the excess glucose as glycogen once the cells receive enough energy. Most carbohydrates end up converting into glycogen so the body may use it later as a form of energy when needed. The liver and skeletal muscles stores the most glycogen. Glycogen can directly turn back into glucose, fat cannot do this directly.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that inhibits cells from receiving energy from glucose. The reason may be insufficient insulin production or the cells not responding to insulin signals. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas; it plays an important role in the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose and delivery of energy to cells. Glucose, also known as blood sugar, stays in the bloodstream when there is not sufficient insulin produced or when cells are not responding to insulin. This malfunction of energy distribution results in high glucose levels and many side effects.
Causes of diabetes
Causes of diabetes
- Alcohol can damage the pancreas disrupting insulin production. Also, it is a contributor to other main causes of diabetes.
- An unbalanced diet, drinking too much alcohol, physical inactivity or poor food choices, can make a person obese. Obesity is conducive to diabetes.
- Insulin resistance happens as fat cells, liver and muscle do not respond well to insulin. As a result, the pancreas has to make more insulin. This process long term results in high blood sugar.
- Gestational diabetes is temporary in the majority of cases, but it is worth mentioning. The causes are not clear, it can be due to the hormonal changes during pregnancy. There is also a correlation of newborn babies over 9 pounds and gestational diabetes.
- Certain medicines results in beta cell damage. Beta cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production.
- Genetic predisposition from family history and ethic race have a higher chance of developing the disease.
- Type 1 diabetes is the result of the autoimmune system attacking healthy cells in the pancreas where insulin is created.