To understand the importance of glucose, you need to know what glucose is. Glucose is a type of sugar we get from eating food. Our bodies use this sugar for energy. Once we eat something, it is broken down into small pieces, one of them being glucose, and this sugar travels through our bloodstream, where it is known as blood glucose. It will reach cells in different parts of the body and either be stored or used for energy.
A hormone called insulin regulates the amount of glucose in the bloodstream and is released by the pancreas. If glucose increases to a certain level, more insulin is released to push glucose into the body’s cells. Having too much glucose is called hyperglycemia. This can lead to developing diabetes, a health condition that affects the way your body turns the food you eat into energy. There are three types of diabetes, the first two being more common:
● Type 1 - The cells in the pancreas that produce insulin are destroyed. This category of people uses insulin injections because they are unable to produce any. Usually, type 1 diabetes begins when a person is under twenty, but it can also happen at any age.
● Type 2 - People with this type of diabetes can produce insulin. However, the amount of insulin is either very small, or the body is resisting the insulin. This type of diabetes is much more common and can be managed by exercising and monitoring your weight/diet.
● Gestational Diabetes - This is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Pregnant women experience a shift in hormones, and this can affect insulin’s ability to do its job. This is very rare, only affecting nine percent of all pregnancies (WebMD), but it can cause complications to both mother and unborn child if left untreated. Pregnant women can be screened for gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.
There are some symptoms to look out for that can indicate type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Some include dry mouth, frequent urination, tiredness (and trouble sleeping), itching, numbness of the hands and feet, increased thirst/hunger, etc. The best way to manage these symptoms would be to monitor your blood sugar, eat healthy, exercise, and keep regular doctor appointments. There is no known cure for diabetes, but controlling it is very achievable.
Author: Kayjah Taylor
Health Scientist: Beth Hanff
Editor: Sophia Galvez
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