Diabetes is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the way the body handles blood sugar (glucose). Every cell in the human body uses glucose for fuel. For people with diabetes, something goes wrong with that process. The cell is unable to pull that glucose in.
There are three types of diabetes:
At the heart of each of these types is insulin.
Insulin is a key that opens the lock on membranes so they can pull in glucose. Produced by the pancreas, it circulates through the blood, allowing sugar into the cells that need it, so glucose levels drop naturally.
A person with type 1 diabetes does not make insulin, or makes too little of it. For some reason, the immune system attacks the pancreas, killing off all the cells that produce insulin. Without insulin, the sugar just circulates in the blood, never entering cells. Left unchecked, the buildup of sugar causes tissue damage.
In type 2 diabetes, there is a change in how the cell uses insulin – they become resistant to it. It's a little like changing the lock on a door and losing the key. Type 2 diabetes is often associated with aging.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that affects pregnant women. A hormone produced by the uterus during pregnancy makes the cells resistant to insulin. Once the pregnancy ends, so does secretion of the offending hormone, and blood sugar levels return to normal.
Prediabetes is a problem that the providers at Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice look for as part of their wellness care. It indicates that a patient is likely to develop type 2 diabetes at some point in the future. By making some lifestyle changes, patients still have the opportunity to avoid the disease.
It depends somewhat on the type of diabetes, but diet and exercise play an important role in all of them. The staff at Rose Urgent Care & Family Practice will work with each patient to create meals plans that are high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains to balance blood sugar levels. They will also recommend a regular exercise schedule to control blood sugar levels.