What is diabetes?

Diabetes often occurs due to an excess of glucose/sugar in the bloodstream. There are two major sources of which glucose comes from; food and the liver.

During the digestion of food, the process includes breaking it down into nutrient sources – in this case is glucose, which is also stored in the liver. Glucose in the body has to reach the body's cells to be fully utilized, made possible by insulin; a hormone produced by the pancreas (a gland situated below the stomach).

Insulin balances the amount of sugar in the body so that the cells absorb it and use them as energy.

What causes diabetes?

When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, it generally comes down to two reasons; the pancreas is not able to produce any/enough insulin or the body’s cells are not responding to the insulin produced. Genes may also be the cause in some cases.

Usually, the liver and insulin act as a medium between the glucose levels in the bloodstream. For instance, if someone has not eaten in a while, their blood sugar level drops, causing the pancreas to produce low amounts of insulin. Similarly, when their glucose level is low, the liver converts stored glycogen into glucose and keeps the level within a normal range.

Without enough insulin or the body’s inability to react to it, glucose instead stays in the bloodstream rather than being absorbed into the body's cells, causing the blood glucose level to rise.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes symptoms often depend on how high the blood sugar is and it differs depending on the type of diabetes.

The common symptoms include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent unexplained infection
  • Dry mouth
  • Slow-healing sores or cuts

In some cases, additional symptoms may occur such as nausea, vomiting, frequent yeast infections for women and erectile dysfunction for men.

Learn how you can manage your diabetes with our specialists and healthcare professionals from Regency’s Diabetes Care Unit.

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