Diabetes is a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Normally, the insulin hormone moves sugar from the blood into your cells to be stored or used for energy. But with diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or it can’t effectively utilize the insulin it produces.
Types Of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks and destroys pancreatic cells that produce insulin. About 10% of people with diabetes have this type.
- Type 2 diabetes happens when the body becomes resistant to the insulin hormone, and as a result, causes sugar to build up in your blood.
- Prediabetes occurs when your blood sugar (measured as A1c) is higher than normal but not yet high enough for an official type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
- Finally, gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar during pregnancy – a result of insulin-blocking hormones secreted by the placenta.
The general symptoms of diabetes include:
- increased hunger
- increased thirst
- weight loss
- frequent urination
- blurry vision
- extreme fatigue
- sores that don’t heal
Beyond the general diabetes symptoms, men with diabetes may experience a decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction (ED), and oftentimes poor muscle strength.
For women with diabetes, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, and dry, itchy skin are common symptoms.
Most women with gestational diabetes don’t show any symptoms. Oftentimes, the condition is detected during a routine blood sugar test performed between the 24th and 28th weeks of gestation. In some cases, a woman with gestational diabetes will experience increased thirst or urination.
Contributing Causes of Diabetes
Each type of diabetes has its own root causes and Fortitude Functional Nutrition is specialized to identify and craft a customized game plan for you.
Lifestyle, chronic inflammation and stealth infections are among the causes for type 1 diabetes – triggering the immune system to attack and destroy insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or obese increases your risk, and carrying extra belly fat makes your cells more resistant to the effects of insulin. Frequently, type 2 diabetes runs in families.
Gestational diabetes is the result of hormonal changes during pregnancy. The placenta produces hormones that make a pregnant woman’s cells less sensitive to the effects of insulin, causing high blood sugar during pregnancy. Women who are overweight (when they get pregnant or who gain too much weight during their pregnancy) are also more likely to get gestational diabetes.
The Link Between Diet and Diabetes
Eating healthier should be the primary approach to address diabetes. In many cases, simply changing your diet, along with some form of exercise, maybe enough to control the disease without prescription drugs.
If you are uncertain about how your vitamin and mineral status may be playing a role in affecting your diabetes, simply click here.
For type 1 diabetes, the foods you eat influence your blood sugar levels – starchy or sugary foods (with a high glycemic index) cause your blood sugar levels to peak quickly, whereas protein and fat cause more gradual increases.
At Fortitude Functional Nutrition, we will recommend limiting the number of processed sugars and carbohydrates eaten each day, along with balancing your carb intake with your insulin doses. We will help you design a diabetes meal plan to get the appropriate balance between proteins, fats, and carbs… so you can easily control your blood sugar.
Similarly for type 2 diabetes, simply consuming the right types of foods will assist with weight loss and better control over your blood sugar. We typically employ a mix of strategies including monitoring carb intake and possibly a Paleo or Keto-type diet.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetic cases. This can be to your advantage because if you consistently consume foods as advised and recommended, along with exercise and healthy lifestyle choices and habits, you can choose to literally “eat your way out” of the condition.
Eating a well-balanced diet during pregnancy is especially important, and making the right food choices can possibly avoid the need for diabetes prescription medications. You should watch your portion sizes, and generally limit sugary or salty foods as much as possible.
Since the majority of diabetic cases are the outcome of poor unhealthy lifestyle habits, they can be completely prevented with safe interventions and effectively supported through lifestyle and nutritional changes.
Suspect Prediabetes or Diabetes?
If you suspect your symptoms might be related to diabetes, you should get a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test and an A1c blood test. The FPG test measures your blood sugar after you’ve fasted for 8 hours, while the A1c test provides a snapshot of your blood sugar levels over the previous 3 months.
The earlier you get diagnosed by your doctor, the sooner you can start addressing your symptoms. Feel free to schedule a complimentary phone consultation to see what the best next steps are for you.