Nutrition Articles

The Deal with Diabetes

Learn How it Affects You

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What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that causes high blood sugar levels. It is a chronic disease that can be managed but not cured. It does not go away. Knowing as much as you can about the disease is the first step to managing it effectively.

What’s Going On
Much of the food you eat is digested and changed into glucose. Glucose is the body’s main energy source. It is carried through the blood stream into the body’s cells. Once inside the cells, glucose is converted into energy. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells. Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that attaches to cells in the body and opens the cells, allowing glucose to get inside and be converted.

Diabetes is caused by a breakdown in this process. Insulin is either absent or poorly used, so glucose stays in the bloodstream. Glucose that stays in the bloodstream causes blood glucose levels to rise.
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • CSKAGER
    Hello i,m new to sparks an i have diabeties type 2 an im looking to try an an change my ways of eating correctly.Ihad blood work done today my cholesterol is high an so is my a1c i'm looking for any ideas or help to things lowered back down to normal.My goal is get everything under control an lose weight. - 2/26/2014 8:58:19 PM
  • GOBLOBLO
    Been a type 1 diabetic for almost 30 yrs never gone to hospital or anything for it, the thing that sucks about having it is now that obamacare has kicked its going to cost me almost $6,000 a yr to stay alive....anyone know of ways I can get gov't assitance on paying for my medication to stay alive? Sad part is I apparently make to much money to get any help. - 4/11/2013 1:16:30 AM
  • i was diagnosed over 10 years ago, but I believe I was diabetic when I was pregnant over 22 years ago. The doctor did not have me tested and I was thirsty all the time, always going to the bathroom and always wanted some kind of sweets. Yes, some of those affect pregnancy but it was more so back then. - 5/11/2012 11:16:44 PM
  • I don't agree with the statement that it "won't go away." I have read many studies, and even my doctor stated, that diabetes can be cured with diet, medication and exercise. I know 2 people who, through diet changes and moderate medication, have been able to reverse their course and are no longer on any medication for diabetes. I think that qualifies it as "gone away." One of them lost over 100lbs in about a year and a half and has been off medication for almost 2 years. Fasting glucose, A1C levels have been normal. He only has to have tests once a year now! If it's possible for him, it's possible for anyone. It takes determination and a different approach to food! Good luck to all of those struggling with pre-diabetes and diabetes. It CAN be overcome! - 5/11/2012 1:45:08 PM
  • SANDIBETTS1
    to finish--but the diagnosis is still pre-diabetes. - 5/11/2012 9:47:36 AM
  • SANDIBETTS1
    I agree with UREST12009--Docto
    rs don't always explain things, instead they give you papers to read. It can all be very confusing--they told me I am pre-diabetes, I take blood tests which consistently give good readings. But the - 5/11/2012 9:46:38 AM
  • Good article but I think it should be added that women who get gestational diabetes are at higher risk of succumbing to diabetes later on. It happened to someone I know. - 2/27/2012 9:24:01 PM
  • I was diagnosed with type 2 about 2 years ago but haven't been good about eating a balanced meal. The hard part was even with eating wrong my blood work since has been good as the pills are controlling it. However, I know the effects from bad choices will add up so I have signed up with SparkPeople to take responsibility for myself. I want to lose the excess weight and commit to a healthy lifestyle.

    Good article, I'd forgotten exactly how diabetes affects the body. - 7/31/2011 11:39:03 AM
  • It seems that all of the medications for my type 2 diabetes makes me really sick. So, I haven't been taking any metformin or Victosa and my sugar levels have been fine. I must be controlling it with diet. - 7/12/2010 4:47:18 PM
  • i found out i was diabetic in late january 2007. at first i was on inslin shots 4 times a day. i did a lot of studing and learning on my own on how to get my BS down. in january of 2009 i was so in control of my BS that the doctor put me on pills so i do not have to inject inslin anymore. my A1c is at a 6 which is very close to being what a normal persons should be without meds. the more i have learned about what i have and how to deal with it is the key to my success. ask question if you dont undersand something and if you dont get answers keep asking other doctors until you get answers. it is you body you have the right to know how to take care of it.
    good luck everyone. - 4/22/2010 11:42:59 AM
  • MSJULIANA
    We have more experience with diabetes than just about any family I know. My husband has type 2, our daughter has type 1, and I had gestational while pregnant with our daughter. I hope to see a cure in at least my daughter's lifetime, but the disease is treatable. You can live, and live well, with diabetes. Our daughter is my inspiration and living proof of that. - 12/31/2009 9:58:27 AM
  • It is hard but with meds and support from others I will be able to control my diabetes - 12/31/2009 8:45:19 AM
  • I am also newly diagnosed as a Diabetic, and having problems understanding what it all means. It is confusing reading about pre-diabetes, dibetes, and the glucose tests are confusing to me. My doctor just told me, "you have diabetes", and they gave me papers to read. I am confused about my A1C Fasting Glucose test results and if they do mean I have Diabetes or pre-diabetes. From what I read, the numbers at the different times during the test, (fasting/1/2 hr/1 hr/2hrs/3hrs) I don't know if what my numbers show for sure. Anyone knowledgeable about these numbers and what they show? I have already started eating better, losing weight slowly and exercising more, so now need to have my qestions answered for peace of mind. I am not happy with my doctor over how she handled my latest heath issues. - 11/9/2009 12:37:25 PM
  • I was just diagnosed with having diabetes last Tuesday. I have been afraid to eat, and VERY emotional. I went to the grocery store and was in tears. :( I am getting mixed feelings and stories about whether or not diabetes can "go away". My doctor told me that if I lose weight then the chances are terrific that it will go away, however, I have read in several different places that it does not.
    I don't want you all to think I have been starving myself or anything, b/c I am not I am eating every 2 hours. I just am eating 1 tiny carb 2x a day.
    This seems like a great article, but like I said I just am on the fence about so much now. - 10/19/2009 12:27:55 PM
  • CHESAKAT
    It seems I can control my sugar readings for a time and then I lose control with the carbs. It is a constant struggle. I always said, if I were a Rabbit, I wouldn't be a Diabetic! The problem is, I can't eat salad and greens all the time. I got motivated and I am on a roll to lose weight right now. This is my third day of controling my bad habits again and my sugar readings are very good and stablized. I believe the secret is portion control. Blessings to all of us!!! - 3/6/2009 10:46:14 PM

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