Welcome back to the Save Our Sexy Blog! This week I’m going to introduce you to my own version of Diabetes for Dummies , where things are kept short, simple, and to the point.
“In 2012, 86 million Americans age 20 and older had prediabetes” and the number is increasing. In addition, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States and it is responsible for $176 billion in medical costs. To put this into perspective, a person with diabetes will have medical expenses 2.3 times higher than a person who does not (American Diabetes Association).
Before you can understand how diabetes affects the body, you must be aware of how the body works. When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and sends it into the blood. When blood sugar goes up, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin essentially “tells the cells” to open up their walls and let glucose move from the blood into the cell. Once the glucose is in the cell, it is either used for energy right away or it is stored so your body can use it later. In prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), this system doesn’t work like it’s supposed to.
90% of people with diabetes have T2D. When a person has prediabetes and T2D, the pancreas may be functioning normally OR it may produce less insulin. In either case the cells don’t always recognize the insulin and don’t open up their walls. This is called insulin resistance (some also call it carbohydrate intolerance). When the walls don’t open, the glucose stays in the blood and blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Over time, these high blood sugar levels can cause many health problems. Right away, the body’s cells may be starved for energy, which makes you very tired and sluggish. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause damage and lead to problems like blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage (loss of feeling, decreased sexual response, and digestion problems), heart attacks and/or death from heart failure, strokes, coma, and may even require lower leg amputations. Below is a short video link that helps to better explain the process. Please join me in the following days as I continue the Dia-What?! series.
For more information, please refer to:
www.diabetes.org (The website of the American Diabetes Association)