What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term disease characterized by high blood sugar levels. This occurs when your body produces not enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or not properly uses the insulin it produces (type 2 diabetes). High blood sugar levels can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves and the heart that is why it is important to keep your blood sugar levels controlled. Diabetes can also be described simply as a defect in the body’s ability to convert glucose (sugar) into energy. Glucose is known as the main source of fuel for our body.

Insulin and Glucose

When food is digested, it is transformed into fats, protein, or carbohydrates. Foods that affect blood sugars are called carbohydrates. Carbohydrate, when digested, is changed to glucose. Diabetic patients should eat carbohydrates but only in moderation.

Glucose is then transferred to the blood and is used by the cells for energy. The hormone called insulin is needed for glucose to be transferred from the blood into the cells. Insulin is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas (the organ that makes insulin). In diabetic people, this process is impaired.

Here is a comparison of the glucose level ranges to find out if you have diabetes or not.

Normal

  • Fasting blood sugar 80-99 mg/dl
  • Random blood sugar 80-139 mg/dl
  • 2 hour glucose tolerance test 80-139 mg/dl

Diabetes

  • Fasting blood sugar 126 mg/dl and above
  • Random blood sugar 200 mg/dl and above
  • 2 hour glucose tolerance test 200 mg/dl and above

Find out more about insulin and glucose.

Common Diabetes Symptoms

Like most diseases, diabetes manifests symptoms. These symptoms usually show early on for Type 1 or later in life for Type 2. However, early detection and awareness of the symptoms can save your life.

  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Slow-healing cuts
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Rapid weight loss (Type 1 diabetes)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet

When blood sugar is high, it might result to liver diseases.

Causes of Liver Diseases

Liver disease may just come suddenly or develop slowly over the course of many years or decades. There are many things that may contribute to the formation or development of a certain liver disease. These may come from several factors including one’s lifestyle, personal habits, other chronic illnesses and exposure to poisonous and infectious agents. Here is a summary of the most common causes of liver diseases:

Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse

Drinking alcohol, especially in excessive amount can cause inflammation of the liver causing it to develop disease over a long period of time. This is because alcohol itself is directly toxic to liver cells. Alcohol abuse is reported to be the most common cause of liver disease in North America.

Bile Duct Disorders

Some medical conditions like primary sclerosing cholangitis and primary biliary cirrhosis can damage or destroy your bile ducts and cause liver disease.

Blood Disorders

Some disorders of the blood too, such as hemochromatosis, may cause liver disease as a result of too much build up of iron in your blood.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic medical condition that starts during childhood and can cause liver disease as you get older.

Fats

Eating too much fatty foods such as meat and oil can also cause liver disease because this may result to too much build up of unprocessed fats in your liver.

Toxins

If you are exposed to poisonous and toxic agents such as industrial solvents or petroleum products, you may develop liver disease after many years of exposure.

Parasites

One of the most common ways to become infected with parasites is through exposure to contaminated water. Parasitic worms in contaminated water called schistosomes, can cause chronic liver disease.

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