When food is digested it eventually enters our bloodstream in the form of glucose. Cells utilize the glucose for growth and energy. However, without the help of insulin, the glucose cannot enter our cells.
Insulin, a hormone, is produced by Beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans, which are in the pancreas.
After eating, the pancreas automatically releases an adequate amount of insulin to transport the blood glucose into the cells, which results in lower blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, the glucose in the bloodstream does not enter the cells (at all or not enough), so glucose builds up until levels are too high, resulting in a condition called hyperglycemia. This happens for one of two main reasons:
Our body produces insulin, but its insulin sensitivity is undermined and does not work as it should do - glucose is not entering the body's cells properly. Consequently, blood sugar levels rise, and the cells are not getting their required nutrients for energy and growth.
Lack of physical activity, being overweight, and some genetic factors make it much more likely that the cells build up insulin resistance more quickly. It is important to remember that insulin resistance is not the insulin not responding properly, it is the cells not responding properly to insulin.
Diabetes - Type I
Diabetes - Type 2
|Usually appears before the age of 25||Patients tend to be older than 25, overweight, sedentary|
|Patient can quickly become very ill||Early stages don't necessarily produce symptoms|
|No longer able to produce insulin, so nutrients can't reach cells||Sometimes detected during routine blood screening|
|Blood sugar can skyrocket||Still produce insulin, but are "insulin resistant," so cannot use the insulin produced|
|Managed by insulin injection||Managed through diet, weight loss, oral medication, and possibly insulin injections|
|Goal of medical team: improve management of disease and life of patient||Goal of medical team: improve management of disease and life of patient|