Today, the 14th of November, is the World Diabetes Day, and an unimaginable 463 million people have diabetes worldwide.
But what is diabetes, what causes it, and how can it be regulated?
What it is:
Diabetes is a health condition that impacts how your body turns food into energy. Over time, it can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Normally, your body breaks down the food you eat into sugar (glucose) and releases it into your blood (Read more about sugar and aging here). When your blood sugar goes up, it signals to release the hormone insulin which is produced in your pancreas. The insulin allows the blood sugar to be absorbed by your cells – which creates the necessary energy for them to function.
With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream and your cells do not receive the necessary amount of energy it needs. Over time, this can cause severe health issues.
What causes diabetes:
Diabetes type 1 is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body’s immune system has attacked the pancreas destroying the cells that create insulin.
Diabetes type 2 is caused when the cell’s responsiveness to insulin has decreased and that insulin production has decreased over time. Research is pointing out that both genetics and lifestyle are major causes of this.
Stress & Obesity:
Stress and increased cortisol levels affect the risk of developing Diabetes type 2. Cortisol is converted to cortisone in the body which decreases the cell’s insulin sensitivity. Obesity is also shown to increase the risk of Diabetes type 2, which is maintained and regulated through a healthy lifestyle with the right food and activity management.
How can it be regulated:
There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help to have stable blood sugar. This helps reduce the risk of developing diabetes, but can also help manage diabetes if you already have it.
Can I analyze my risk for Diabetes?
Yes, you can do a simple blood test and a lifestyle assessment to evaluate your risk of developing Diabetes type 2. Talk to your physician or contact us at NEM if you suspect you might be at risk.
World Diabetes Day, worlddiabetesday.org/about/understandingdiabetes/
Saedi et al. (2019). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31518657/