Diabetes Mellitus ("diabetes" for short) is a serious disease that occurs when your body has difficulty properly regulating the amount of dissolved sugar (glucose) in your blood stream. It is unrelated to a similarly named disorder "Diabetes Insipidus" which involves kidney-related fluid retention problems.
In order to understand diabetes, it is necessary to first understand the role glucose plays with regard to the body, and what can happen when regulation of glucose fails and blood sugar levels become dangerously low or high.
The tissues and cells that make up the human body are living things, and require food to stay alive. The food cells eat is a type of sugar called glucose. Fixed in place as they are, the body's cells are completely dependent on the blood stream in which they are bathed to bring glucose to them. Without access to adequate glucose, the body's cells have nothing to fuel themselves with and soon die.
Human beings eat food, not glucose. Human foods get converted into glucose as a part of the normal digestion process. Once converted, glucose enters the blood stream, causing the level of dissolved glucose inside the blood to rise. The blood stream then carries the dissolved glucose to the various tissues and cells of the body.
Though glucose may be available in the blood, nearby cells are not able to access that glucose without the aid of a chemical hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a key to open the cells, al...
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