Type 2 Diabetes: What do I need to know

What is diabetes? What happens when you have diabetes?


Dr Evelyn Chang, MSc, PhD, APD

3/10/20212 min read

NOTE: For the purpose of this writing, Diabetes refers to Type 2 Diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition when you consistently have too much sugar in your blood.

Most of us will say "stop eating sugary food and drink" if someone has diabetes. Would this solve the problem? The answer is "partly". If you are a cake lover, would you stop eating cake forever? Have a think about it.

It all comes back to what we know about diabetes. Have you ever heard that to win the battle you first need to understand your enemy?

Have a thought about these questions before you scroll down, how could "too much sugar in the blood" happen when someone has diabetes? What if I don't have diabetes, would I have sugar in my blood?

When we eat food containing carbohydrate (it is a type of nutrient that our body needs for energy, which I will touch on next post), this carbohydrate nutrient gets broken down into very small pieces called glucose ( I call it sugar here) by your gut. When they are in the form of sugar, they get absorbed into the bloodstream and your blood sugar level rises. EVERYBODY will have a rise in their blood sugar level after a carbohydrate containing meal, whether or not you have diabetes.

What happens next is that your body will sense this rise of blood sugar level and your body organ called pancreas will produce and send insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin is a type of hormone that acts as the key to open up your body cells (such as muscle cells) so that sugar in the blood can enter into your cells to be used for energy. Once sugar is removed from the blood into your body cells, your blood sugar level falls.

Now, if you have diabetes, your pancreas no longer makes enough insulin to meet your body needs. Secondly, your body is less sensitive to insulin, which is called insulin resistance), meaning that some of your body cells are not sensitive to insulin and therefore the sugar in the blood cannot be removed into your body cells to be used for energy. That is how your sugar gets built up in the blood.

Image source: https://www.ndss.com.au/about-diabetes/type-2-diabetes/

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes