Type 2 Diabetes Guide

How is Diabetes Like Starvation? Starving on a Cellular Level

In someone with , their body either doesn't produce enough insulin or it fails to use it correctly. You may have heard that diabetics are "starving" -- although they may look perfectly normal -- so ?

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The insulin produced by our bodies moves the sugar in the blood into our cells, which burn the sugar as fuel for the body. In diabetics, however, the lack of insulin (or the ) causes a "starvation" of the cells, which needs the glucose to produce energy. The body's cells will keep signalling that they need sugar, in turn causing diabetics to feel hungry.

But with type 2 diabetics, even when there's sugar in the blood, the body isn't able to effectively transport it into the cells. The more resistant the body is to the effects of insulin, the more insulin it's going to need in order to get the same response.

The body's cells need energy. If it can't get it from sugar, the body will try to convert fats and proteins into sugar. This causes something called ketones to form in the blood. In high enough levels, a condition called ketoacidosis will occur. This can lead to coma or death if left untreated.

Managing your blood sugar levels requires a good plan developed by your healthcare provider. It will include:

  • A that focuses on fresh whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complex carbohydrates, while minimizing sweets, refined carbohydrates and processed foods.

  • A to help regulate blood sugar as well as improve cholesterol, blood pressure, circulation, and general well-being.

  • Medications or insulin, if necessary. Some people with type 2 diabetes can control the disease by adhering to diet and exercise recommendations. This is preferable to taking medication. Unfortunately, some people will find that diet and exercise are not enough and may be prescribed pills or insulin injections to aid in blood sugar control.

While diabetes isn't exactly "starvation", it does make cells think they're starving. Tight, regimented control of blood sugar levels can help diabetics avoid the many serious .



The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience, and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual situation should be directed to your doctor.