This article is intended as a learning resource linked to Chapter 3 of
The Secret of the Golden Cauldron, for those who are reading or have read it to children.
It is a short, and I hope clear explanation of what diabetes is and why it is important for children to understand why they need to have a healthy diet.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate amount of sugar in the blood stream.
Insulin, made by the pancreas keeps blood sugar levels even, allowing sugar to enter the cells and fuel the body.
We need insulin to live.
There are two types of diabetes Type 1 and Type2
Type 1 Diabetes is when your body attacks the cells in your pancreas that make insulin which results in you not being able to produce insulin at all.
When we eat carbohydrates and sugars they are broken down by our digestive system and sent into the blood stream and taken to the cells for energy. But if there is no insulin to enable the sugars to enter the cells then the amount of sugar in the blood stream builds up dangerously.
High blood sugar levels can seriously damage parts of the body – eyes, heart, feet.
Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Scientists are still trying to understand the underlying causes.
People with type 1 diabetes are helped to manage their condition by health professionals who give not only medical help but advice varying from exercising, counting carbohydrate intake, and eating a healthy balanced diet.
Type 2 Diabetes
Some people are genetically predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adulthood, when the insulin the pancreas makes doesn’t work properly or it can’t make enough so sugar levels keep rising. Then the pancreas is stimulated to make more insulin and eventually the pancreas becomes tired. Then it makes less and less insulin resulting in constant high sugar levels.
As with type 1 diabetes high sugar levels can have serious complications.
Taking in too much sugar and carbohydrate via our diet over many years can eventually wear out our pancreas especially if there are family members who have type 2 diabetes.
If the condition is caught early enough it can be kept under control with diet and exercise. But eventually most people need medication to bring their sugar levels down………..
Like Candy Floss in
The Secret of the Golden Cauldron