It Goes Down in the DM: Part 1
...And by DM we mean Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus)!
Usually when people think about diabetes, they think 'high blood sugar'. Sounds pretty innocent, right? Seems like something that is temporary and won't hurt you, right? Diabetes kills more people each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
Picture this, you are waiting outside of the most popular club in the city, in your Sunday's best, for your friend to give the good word to the doorman. But after repeated calls and text messages, and hours of waiting, you find yourself still outside and the doorman not budging. See diabetes is the doorman who refuses to let you in and your friend who stood you up, well that's insulin.
With diabetes (aka Diabetes Mellitus aka high blood sugar), there is too much sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream and not enough insulin to let the sugar in the cells. In other words, your flaky friend has over-extended his guest list and can only allow a select few into the party.
Without sugar, your cells are depleted of energy and sugar is having a party in your bloodstream. That's not where we want it. But why is insulin so flaky you ask? Because the cells that make insulin, beta cells, are broken.
Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. Beta cells are constantly on the look out for sugar in the bloodstream. Normally, when sugar is high in the bloodstream, beta cells kick out more insulin to help get the sugar into the cells for energy. When sugar is low, the beta cells do not push out insulin. Basically insulin is the plug and without it, sugar in the bloodstream cannot get in the cells.
When the body is not making enough insulin it is a result of two forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in people under 30 years of age. For reasons currently unknown, the body kills the beta cells that make the insulin. This is called an autoimmune response. With type 1 diabetes, there is simply not enough insulin for the amount of sugar in the body.
The most common type of diabetes is type 2. This occurs over time and usually happens in people who are overweight. The key to Type 2 diabetes is that it is preventable. That's right folks, THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF DIABETES IS COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE! It is a result of unhealthy diets, weight gain and lack of physical exercise.
But don't get too worked up. Throughout the next couple of weeks we are going to explore the complications of diabetes and simple things you can do to help prevent or manage diabetes.
So, contrary to the song, you don't want it to go down in the DM! Don't forget to share your comments and stay tuned for part 2!