Today is World Diabetes Day.
Diabetes is a condition which occurs when the body cannot regulate glucose (sugar) properly. The cells within the body are not able to respond and ‘use’ the glucose in a normal way, which leads to large amounts of glucose in the blood. It is the high blood glucose levels which can cause serious health conditions.
“Estimated 422 million people are living with diabetes in the world, 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population.”
– Word Health Organisation
So what stops these cells from utilising the glucose properly?
Let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. After we eat a meal we digest our food and the carbohydrates get broken down into glucose. This glucose needs to be utilised by our cells (particularly in fat tissue, the liver and skeletal muscle) in order to generate energy. Insulin is what allows the glucose to move into our cells.
Diabetes is often explained via a lock and key mechanism. Insulin being the key which enables the door of the cells to open and allow glucose to enter.
This lock and key mechanism is different in those with diabetes compared to those without it. This mechanism is also impaired in different way in the two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes:
Insulin just isn’t produced by the pancreas so there’s no key to open the lock on the cells.
Type 1 diabetes affects 10% of diabetic patients in the UK. It’s what we call an autoimmune condition. The insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed which means that insulin is not produced by the body.
Type 2 diabetes:
Insulin (the key) may not be able to unlock the door to the cells optimally, or it could be that it’s readily available but the lock isn’t working properly.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with being overweight and affects 90% of UK diabetic patients.
There’s also something called pre-diabetes. This is when someone has blood sugar levels above the normal range but not enough to be diagnosed as diabetic. Having pre-diabetes increases the risk of developing diabetes.
What’s the treatment?
Sadly there is currently no cure for diabetes. HOWEVER, amazing scientific advancements has lead to the discovery of insulin (lowers blood glucose levels) and it’s use as a treatment (particularly for type 1), and the development of other medication and devices which are vital in managing diabetes. If diabetes is not managed and high blood glucose levels persist, it can lead to a plethora of health disorders such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, nerve damage, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers and visual impairment.
As I said, type 2 diabetes (most common form of diabetes) is often associated with being overweight. So eating healthily, exercising regularly and monitoring blood glucose levels is important…
Adults should do 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week. Muscle strengthening activity should also be included twice a week.
– recommended by The Department of Health
… so hello #150mins campaign.
The lovely Krishana (@beyond.the.ivory.tower) over on Instagram has set up an inspiring campaign to raise awareness of diabetes throughout the month of November. Her campaign is to encourage others to work towards 150 minutes of exercise a week and to share their efforts on social media to inspire others. Here’s what she shared with the IG world:
I’ve been sharing my workouts on my IG stories along with many others, so head over and join us by using the hashtags #150mins and #diabetesawareness! Krishana has also been doing fun daily diabetes-related Q&As, so give her a follow and learn something new!
If you’d like to seek help with managing diabetes please talk to your doctor or visit the following websites:
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