Why Worry About High Blood Sugar?

You feel fine, so why worry about high blood sugar?

One of the main reasons is that chronic high blood sugar damages the walls of your arteries and blood vessels, according to Shelley Scott, RD, LDN, CDE, Clinical Dietitian and Diabetes Educator, speaking before a Northwestern Memorial Healthy Transitions Program® today.

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Since your blood circulates everywhere in your body, many parts of your body can be damaged, Ms. Scott said. Additionally, new research suggests an association with diabetes and high blood pressure and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Occasional high blood sugar don’t cause health complications, but the chronic, uncontrolled high blood sugars do the damage, she continued.

Steven Edelman, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University of California, San Diego said, on ABC News, “Diabetes is a condition where the glucose or sugar levels are too high in the blood. Now, there are many reasons why the blood sugar levels get too high in people with diabetes, but I will only mention the two main defects now.

“The first is that the pancreas which is an important endocrine organ in our bodies does not secrete enough insulin. Insulin is the hormone that helps glucose go from the bloodstream into the cells of our body to be used for energy.

“A complicated condition called insulin-resistance is the second main cause of diabetes. Insulin-resistance, which occurs primarily in type 2 diabetes, is when the cells of our body are resistant to the glucose-lowering effects of insulin. If an individual has either not enough insulin and/or insulin-resistance, then high blood sugar levels or diabetes will be present.

“High blood sugar levels if untreated will cause short-term effects and long-term complications. High blood sugar levels over the short term do not cause any damage to the organs of your body, however they will cause you to feel tired and weak, be thirsty, and urinate a lot, be susceptible to infections and have blurry vision. In fact in the elderly, high blood sugar levels can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and lead to falls and of course we know getting a broken hip as an elderly individual can be pretty devastating.”

For the record, Type 2 diabetes affects 5% to 10% of most populations. Some 80% to 90% of all diabetics are Type 2. The disease is increasing in developing countries as obesity and sedentary lifestyles grow. Coronary Vascular Disease accounts for 67% of all deaths in diabetics.

“In addition to the nearly 21 million Americans with diagnosed diabetes, an estimated 7 million more have undiagnosed diabetes. Some 26.9 percent of Americans age 65 and older have diabetes,” Shelley Scott said.

You can read what your chances of getting diabetes are here.

Tony

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