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Exercise IS Medicine!

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Mike AlpertMike Alpert

Most everyone in our industry knows that Diabetes is a terrible chronic disease and that it is one of the most financially draining illnesses to treat. Let's take a look at what Diabetes is, the complications that are offshoots of this disease and how exercise can be used to treat it.

Diabetes Mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and tissues. It's also the brain's main source of fuel. Whether it's Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, it can lead to excess sugar in the blood, and this can lead to serious health problems.

To understand diabetes, you must understand how glucose is normally processed in the body. Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas). The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. It circulates, enabling sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.

Glucose, a sugar, is a source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: food and the liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. The liver stores and makes glucose. When glucose levels are low, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep the glucose level within a normal range.

The cause of Type 1 Diabetes in unknown. What is known is that the immune system, which normally fights harmful bacteria or viruses, attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This leaves the body with little or no insulin. Instead of being transported into the cells, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. A number of medical risks are associated with Type 1 Diabetes, but the most serious is the increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

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