Getting a diabetes diagnosis at any age can be daunting. Suddenly you need to learn all about your pancreas, a complex organ/gland with complex jobs in both the endocrine and digestive systems.
You'll be plunged into learning how insulin works in order to manage your blood sugar. You'll need to monitor your glucose and insulin levels yourself. Basically, whether you are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (aka juvenile) or Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes, you will have to help your pancreas do its job!
The pancreas is a cute little organ nestled between the bottom of the stomach and the top of the small intestine. This little friend produces digestive enzymes, but is best known for producing the hormone insulin. We need insulin to help us process glucose from the blood stream. Isn't that sweet?
The pancreas -- or glucose monitor -- detects sugar in the bloodstream. Insulin is released in response by your pancreas, pump or shot. The insulin acts as a key to unlock body cells to let the sugar in. The body cells turns sugar into energy we can use.
Type 1 diabetes (juvenile) is an auto-immune condition, meaning the immune system thinks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are evil and must be destroyed. Your body therefore doesn't make enough insulin. It's a big bummer, and there is no cure, but it can be monitored and treated. You'll need to count carbs, watch your blood sugar and take insulin.
Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes is a bit different: either you pancreas is not making enough insulin, the body cells don't use the insulin correctly, or the cells just ignore the insulin, causing the pancreas to overproduce it. According to the Mayo Clinic, this condition can be managed with healthy eating, regular exercise and lifestyle changes. Learn more about how to manage Type 2 diabetes from the Mayo folks.
Diabetes may be a hassle, but it's manageable and like it or not, y'all diabetics know how your pancreas works better than most folks! Non-diabetics just take that Panky function for granted, but you know how incredible this particular organ is, don't you?