Though popular culture often fosters the idea that diabetes arises solely from a person’s dietary habits, diabetes is a much more common and complicated disease that is dependent on a variety of factors. Diabetes is the body’s inability to “properly use and store glucose” (Joslin Diabetes Center) as a result of a low amount of insulin being produced. Insulin is the hormone, produced in the pancreas, that aids in the conversion of sugars in food to energy for the body. This lack of insulin in the body can arise from hereditary factors, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, or obesity (source). Though there are a few different types of diabetes, all are treatable with the right approach. Here are the three steps to dealing with your diabetes.

1.) Know the Symptoms
The most common symptoms for diabetes are excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, increased appetites, blurred vision, irritability, tingling/numb extremities, unexplained extreme fatigue, and wounds that won’t heal (source). Though any combination of these symptoms could be linked to other illnesses, if you are experiencing any of the previous symptoms it’s important to be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure correct treatment (source).

2.) Learn About Your Diabetes
If you are diagnosed with diabetes it’s important to know specifically about what type you have. The three types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational.  Following is a short overview of each:

Type 1: the immune system destroys the cells that form the pancreas, the insulin producing organ. With little or no insulin being produced, what results is a build of sugar in the blood stream that cannot be converted to energy. Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin and meal planning.

Type 2: the body does not adequately produce insulin or is unable to use the insulin that is produced. This results in a build up a sugar in the blood. Approximately 90% of people with diabetes suffer from type 2. Type 2 can be treated with exercise routines, meal planning, and medications or insulin (source).

Gestational: occurs during pregnancy, occurs as a result of the body’s natural process of resisting insulin so as to allow more glucose to be available for the baby. This form of diabetes is often asymptomatic, but can cause health problems for both the mother and the child if inadequately treated. Gestational diabetes can be treated with exercise, meal planning, and (occasionally) medication. This is not a permanent form of diabetes (source).

3.) Pay Attention to Your Body
Learn how your body responds to daily situations. Keep track of what exercises help the most or what foods cause your blood sugar to get too high. Keep an active routine to help promote blood flow and increase the conversion of sugar to energy. Also be sure to match this exercise plan with the correct medication. Perform your blood tests or take your medication/insulin at the same time every day, even try to eat around the same time, too. One of the best ways to avoid complications with diabetes is to regulate what you do. Use the right testing equipment for you (find a variety at Troy Biologicals) and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but remember that even with a diabetes diagnosis, you can still enjoy life. You can still have a piece of birthday cake, just regulate your intake - balance is key (source).