Alongside hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes is one of the most common medical terms you hear nowadays in any health-related media. In fact, the two conditions often go together, combined with obesity and shortening life spans of people worldwide.
Still, although high blood sugar is dangerous, that doesn't mean it's not manageable. In this article, we will talk about easing your concerns and giving you a few good ideas on how to control blood sugar and live a quality life.
What Is Blood Sugar?
Having sugar in our blood is normal, and in fact, it is necessary, as it is one of the primary sources of energy that keeps us going.
Through the process of digestion, all food is broken down, and sugar (glucose) is delivered to your bloodstream, so it can fuel your cells all over the body, allowing you to function.
In fact, after a hard workout where you completely drained yourself, you may feel shaky and weak. This could be that your blood sugar has dropped.
So, just like everyone has blood pressure, everyone also has sugar in the blood. It is normal that it fluctuates—it will drop after workouts, and it will jump after eating something sweet. The problems start when it stays up for too long, leading to a condition called diabetes.
Why Does My Blood Sugar Stays High?
After eating food, especially simple carbohydrates, the level of blood sugar naturally rises, which is entirely normal.
An organ in our abdomen called the pancreas releases insulin which transfers the glucose from the blood into the cells so that it can be used for energy. Insulin lowers the levels of sugar in the blood.
The issue is that often the pancreas doesn't do its job the way it's supposed to. This can happen because of many reasons.
Sometimes the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, and the amount of sugar in the blood stays high. And, sometimes it overshoots, producing too much, making glucose drop, causing sugar cravings, and making you feel bad and want more. That leads to blood sugar roller coasters, which leads to obesity and can lead to diabetes.
Type One Vs. Type Two Diabetes—What Are The Differences?
Type-1 Diabetes—Rare, Hereditary, But Manageable
Type-1 diabetes is a less common form of this condition, and less than 5% of people with diabetes have it. While it used to be called juvenile diabetes, not only children can develop it.
The pancreas of people with type-1 diabetes produces no insulin. This type of diabetes is usually genetic, but some viruses may contribute to it. Because it is genetic, it often occurs in children and adolescents, but adults get it too.
Since the pancreas doesn't produce any, people who are living with type-1 diabetes have to take insulin shots, but also have to regulate their blood sugar through careful nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes.
So, does having high blood sugar automatically means that you have diabetes? Well, no. Even a healthy person who eats a lot of something super sweet will have higher levels of blood glucose, way above the norm.
The issue is if it becomes permanent, even when fasting, on an empty stomach. And again, this needs to be confirmed through time. If your doctor notices that your glucose levels are up, they will test you again after some time passes, making sure it's not just something random.
Type-2 Diabetes—Preventable, Dangerous But Still Manageable
Type-2 diabetes is not hereditary and usually develops at later stages of life. However, because more and more children are obese, more are getting this disease.
In type-2 diabetes, the body either becomes resistant to insulin, or the pancreas doesn't work as expected, not being able to produce enough to keep the blood sugar under control.
There are various diabetes risk factors that can lead to developing the disease:
- Being overweight—and especially having visceral (abdominal) fat, as it negatively affects the function of organs. Make sure your waist circumference is under 40 inches if you are a man, or under 35 inches if you are a woman.
- Family history—although this type of diabetes is not genetic, like type-1, family history still matters. If your parents or grandparents had type-2 diabetes, you should be extra careful.
- Poor exercise habits—exercising regularly keeps your weight under control but also improves your body composition, replacing fat with muscle. Even light exercise at 150 minutes per week can have enormous benefits on your blood sugar levels and health in general.
- Age—type-2 diabetes is more likely to develop with age, and people 45 years and older should take good care of their nutrition and exercise and test blood sugar levels from time to time. However, this threshold is lowering decade by decade, as more and more children develop diabetes at an early age, mostly because of poor diet and lack of exercise, which leads to obesity.
- Ethnicity—Caucasians are the least likely to develop type-2 diabetes out of all races.
This doesn't mean every overweight individual or every inactive person will develop type-2 diabetes. However, if you have more risk factors, you are more likely to end up with diabetes. The disease is manageable, but there's no cure for it, so be smart, and control those factors you can, such as obesity and exercise.
Why Is Diabetes Dangerous?
Diabetes is extremely dangerous if left untreated. It can lead to a series of conditions all over the body, eventually resulting in premature death.
First and foremost, diabetes damages blood vessels, increasing the chance of heart failure and stroke. People with diabetes are more likely to develop high blood pressure, as diabetes causes the narrowing of blood vessels. This further increases the pressure on the cardiovascular system and brain.
Diabetes is extremely bad for kidney health. If left untreated, it can even cause kidney failure or other serious kidney conditions that might require dialysis or even transplantation.
Diabetes can also cause eye damage and can lead to blindness. It raises the risk of developing cataracts, and even glaucoma, and damages the eye nerve and blood vessels.
One of the conditions that are caused by diabetes is also neuropathy or nerve damage. People with diabetes often experience tingling, numbness, or cramping. If left untreated, this can lead to completely losing the sense in affected limbs.
Furthermore, diabetes can lead to a series of conditions such as sleep apnea, skin problems, reduced healing and hearing issues. All in all, if left untreated, it will start wreaking havoc all over the body, rapidly shaving off years of your life.
Diabetes Treatment And Side Effects Of Common Medications
Fortunately, medicine has come a long way, and most people can stay off insulin shots, switching to pills to keep blood sugar under control. However, each type of treatment has some side effects, and diabetes medications usually cause some of these:
- Low blood sugar—diabetes medications sometimes lower blood sugar levels too much, causing hypoglycemia, which is also dangerous. If you start reading low blood sugar levels, note your doctor. He/she will probably change the dosage or therapy.
- Gastrointestinal discomfort—diabetes meds often cause gases, bloating, diarrhea, or similar discomforts. These usually pass within a couple of weeks after starting your therapy, but make sure to let your doctor know.
- Urinary tract irritation—medications for regulating blood sugar levels often cause frequent urination, which isn't exactly pleasant. Sometimes they also interfere with blood pressure levels (because the amount of fluid in the body affects it), and if you suffer from hypertension, be extra careful.
- Other side effects—like with all other medications, if you experience vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, swelling, or something equally serious, consult your doctor immediately.
Living With Diabetes—It's Not Only About Taking Your Medications
While it is essential to take the recommended dosage of medications your doctor prescribed, and to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, don't stop there. Today, medications are good, but they are not miraculous. Diabetes is a serious, systematic condition, and you need to do your best to correct your lifestyle accordingly. Here are some things you can include or change:
- Embrace Exercise—the first thing you should add to your routine is regular exercise. This doesn't have to be anything extreme, just something simple, like brisk walking. However, it needs to become a part of your life, so block a portion of your time for it, every single day. Start with 15 minutes in the morning for two weeks. Then, add 15 minutes in the evening. Once that becomes a habit, you can move to 2x30 minutes. Other options are light cycling, jogging, gym, or playing sports with your friends. Again: make it a habit that you can follow long term.
- Fix your diet—start tracking what you eat for two weeks. You don't need to count calories, just write down your meals. But be honest, and eat as usual. Doing that will give you enough information that you can share with your doctor, and he/she will directly tell you what needs to change. You will probably have to ease up on consuming sweets, alcohol, soda, and similar simple carbs, replacing it with complex, whole foods, and overall a better quality diet.
- Make mental and attitude changes—this is one of the most important things, don't ignore your disease! Yes, it's not curable, but so what? That doesn't mean you should ignore it. So first, start checking your blood sugar regularly, by your doctor's instructions. That will probably be multiple times per day. Second, make sure you take the meds as prescribed, monitoring how you feel, and how blood sugar levels behave. If you feel the therapy is ineffective or doing too much by creating side effects, note everything, and consult your doctor. That person is now your manager, the boss of your disease. But you have to do all the work, the whole project is in your hands. And it's the most important one you've ever had. Embrace the responsibility, and start making changes.
A1Care—The Perfect Supplement For Managing Diabetes
Our supplement, A1Care, is a great option for enhancing your diabetes treatment. Because it is completely natural, but still effective, it can go alongside your therapy really well, boosting its effectiveness.
The unique, all-natural formula is carefully designed to help you maintain healthy levels of blood glucose, while also protecting the cardiovascular system.
It will help your blood vessels and heart fight the damage high blood sugar creates. It also helps you lose weight, increases energy levels and lessens cramps and muscle pains diabetic patients often experience.
This formula consists out of five plants: Dandelion, Turmeric, Codonopsis, Polygoni Multiflori, and Poria. All of these work together to keep blood glucose under control, but also regulate hypertension, promote good metabolism, raise energy levels, lower cholesterol, and boost your health overall. They are also excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which all boost your immunity, keeping you healthy.
Diabetes, whether type-1 or type-2, is not something to be taken lightly. Checking your blood sugar levels from time to time even if you are completely healthy is a wise thing to do. Especially if you have risk factors, primarily hereditary.
Diabetes is serious, but if you take your treatment seriously, you can manage it, diminishing the damage. Yes, it does require discipline and lifestyle changes, but it is well worth it as it extends your healthy lifespan.
Supplements like our A1Care can help you ease the process. Because it is entirely natural, A1Care has no side-effects and can fit into any kind of diabetes therapy.
Of course, taking a supplement alone is not enough, you still have to change your habits. But it will undoubtedly make the whole process much more comfortable.