Diabetes Basics: The Main Players
Glucose is a simple sugar that serves as a source of energy so that our bodies can function. Sugars found in the food we eat are broken down to glucose by our bodies which then enters our blood where it can be used by the body as fuel to provide energy. Too much glucose however, can be a problem. That’s where insulin helps.
Insulin is a hormone that helps to control the amount of glucose in the blood. Insulin allows your body’s cells to use the sugar as energy or store it as fat. When the glucose is used this way, your body’s glucose levels (blood sugar levels) go back down to where they should be.
Insulin is made by the pancreas, which is an organ just behind your stomach.
In type 2 diabetes, your body:
- Can’t properly use the insulin that’s being released by your pancreas
- Can’t make enough insulin to help keep your glucose levels down
This causes high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia), which can lead to all sorts of health problems for you.
Diabetes and Beyond: Complications to Know About
Having high blood sugar can affect other parts of your body. People with diabetes can experience:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Foot problems, non-traumatic lower limb (leg, foot, toe, etc.) amputation
- Eye disease (retinopathy) that can lead to blindness
- Heart problems, such as heart disease which can lead to heart attack and heart failure
- Nerve damage
- Erectile dysfunction (men)