How is Diabetes Like Starvation? Starving on a Cellular Level
In someone with type 2 diabetes
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 how
is diabetes like starvation
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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
resistance to insulin)
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 diabetes
treatment plan developed by your healthcare provider. It will include:
- A healthy diet
that focuses on fresh whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complex carbohydrates,
while minimizing sweets, refined carbohydrates and processed foods.
- A regular
exercise routine 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
complications of the disease.
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.