What is Diabetes?

There are two main types of diabetes: Type I Diabetes and Type II Diabetes. To understand what separates these conditions, it’s important to know that blood sugar is kept steady by the pancreas. When it’s too high, the pancreas brings it down. When it’s too low, the pancreas brings it up.

Type I Diabetes is caused by an immune reaction to the pancreas that causes to body to be destroy the cells that produce insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. In Type I Diabetes, patients have to take regular insulin shots in order to control their blood sugar. For most of us in our 30s and older, this was the primary type of diabetes we learned about in our childhood. Type I Diabetes appears in childhood, and is a lifelong condition.

Type II Diabetes, which is now the predominant type of diabetes, is an altogether different disorder, though it also results in poor blood sugar control. In Type II Diabetes, chronic overexposure to high levels of sugar in the diet effectively causes the pancreas to lose its sensitivity to sugar in the blood, so that it no longer acts to lower blood sugar. This means that blood sugar levels remain chronically high, leading to a whole host of problems.

In the long term, the pancreas of a person with Type II Diabetes can become so damaged that it is actually unable to produce insulin at all. In such a case, patients need to take regular insulin shots in order to control their blood sugar. Because of this recent development, doctors and researchers now refer to two different types of diabetes – Insulin-Dependent Diabetes and Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes.

Naturopathic medicine, and the use of dietary therapies in particular, has an important role to play in the prevention of Type II Diabetes and in the treatment of early stages of the illness. Contact your naturopathic doctor at Charm City Natural Health to learn more.