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Diabetes – Cause and Warning Signs

Cause of Diabetes

When you have diabetes, your pancreas either produces insufficient insulin or no insulin or the insulin it produces cannot work because your body resists its action. As a result, the normal mechanism of blood sugar control breaks apart. Sugar, instead of going into the cells of your body to nourish them, accumulates in the blood, raising your blood sugar levels.

Also, because of the defect in insulin, sugar produced and released by the liver is not properly controlled, a condition that further raises blood sugar levels. Accumulation of excess sugar in the blood is harmful at least in three ways.

First, sugar remains trapped in the blood and does not go inside the cells of the body where it is required as a fuel for energy. As a result, the body is not properly nourished.

Second, when sugar level in the blood becomes high, some sugar is excreted in the urine. Sugar is energy and its loss through the urine makes the body weak.

Third, raised blood sugar levels, which remain persistently high, act like a poison, damaging almost all the organs of the body.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

Warning signs of diabetes appear well before people get diabetes. Before developing type 2 diabetes, people go through a stage called pre-diabetes. This is a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but less than the levels to be classified as diabetes.

Nearly 20 million people in the United States are affected by this condition.

The term pre-diabetes has been adopted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. According to the current criteria (see chapter 3), you will be diagnosed with pre-diabetes if your blood sugar values in a lab test are:

Fasting blood sugar ranging from 100 to 125 mg/dL, (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L), a condition also called impaired fasting plasma glucose.

or

Blood sugar, ranging from 140 to less than 200 mg/dL (7.8 to 11.1 mmol/L) in a glucose tolerance test (2 hours after taking glucose mixed in water). This condition is also called impaired glucose tolerance.

A peculiar feature of pre-diabetes is that although you may not be aware, your heart and blood vessels are silently undergoing some long-term damage in the pre-diabetes stage.

People who are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes should be screened for pre-diabetes. A timely detection of this disorder, followed by simple lifestyle changes, can prevent pre-diabetes from developing into full-fledged diabetes and halt the damage it has been causing to the body.

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