During the digestive process, much of the food that is eaten is converted into glucose, commonly known as blood sugar. Glucose circulates in the bloodstream and is used as food for the body's cells. But the cells cannot absorb glucose without help. A hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, must first bind to a cell’s surface. When this occurs, the body’s cells are then able to absorb the glucose, which. returns the body’s blood sugar to a normal, healthy level. When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or when your body isn’t able to properly use the insulin that it does produce…you can develop diabetes. Diabetes mellitus is a disorder that affects the body's ability to efficiently use blood glucose. There are two different types of diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce any insulin, so glucose cannot be absorbed to refuel the cells. In Type 2 diabetes, insulin is produced, but it does not work properly and the glucose is not absorbed consistently by the cells. When this happens, it means your body’s cells are starving for food. If left untreated, diabetes increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, or blindness. Wounds may take longer to heal, you may develop skin disorders or foot problems that may even require amputation. The good news is that diabetes can be managed with diet, exercise, and medication. Many medications are used to manage both types of diabetes. Thiazolidinediones are a class of drugs that can be taken as a pill with food. These drugs help insulin work better to control blood sugar in your muscles, body fat and liver. When these drugs bind to receptors inside the cell’s nucleus, they in turn help the cells bind to insulin. This allows your body to properly absorb glucose from the bloodstream. Diabetes is a disease where you don’t necessarily feel bad—but bad things can be going on in your body if you let diabetes go untreated. Minimize your risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart or kidney disease, blindness or foot disorders by eating right, not smoking, exercising regularly and making sure to keep taking the medication your doctor prescribed for you.
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