Understanding the highs, lows, and everything in between

Diabetes mellitus is a disease that negatively impacts how the body uses and processes blood glucose, also known as blood sugar.

If you’re someone who is living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, this is not just medical jargon. It's a part of your daily life. Controlling blood sugar with diet, exercise, and medication is crucial to your diabetes management program.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things you might still be able to learn about diabetes. In this post, we’ll do a diabetes overview, emphasizing the importance of understanding this condition. No matter what type of diabetes you have and how long you’ve had it, it all comes down to blood sugar.

The Role of Blood Sugar

Blood sugar is the body’s fuel. It's what powers the cells of the muscles, organs, and tissues. We get glucose from two primary sources – the liver and the foods we consume. Glucose enters the bloodstream and is sent throughout the body. Each cell then converts glucose into energy, thanks to a hormone called insulin.

Diabetes is a condition that disrupts the body's sugar-processing system. It's like a traffic jam in your bloodstream, preventing sugar from reaching its destination—the cells that need it for energy. This leads to a buildup of sugar in the blood, eventually resulting in a diabetes diagnosis.

The Importance of Insulin

Insulin is a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas, an organ located just behind and below the belly. In a healthy person, the insulin the pancreas produces works like a key that unlocks the body’s ability to transform blood sugar into energy to function normally.

Without insulin, however, the body’s cells will not accept blood glucose. It becomes “locked out” and, therefore, cannot be turned into energy. In other words, insulin is not just a hormone; it’s a key player in your diabetes management. It allows the cells to transform sugar into the energy we require to perform at our best, and by doing so, it also ensures that blood sugar within the body at any given time remains safe and healthy.

A Diabetes Diagnosis

Every diabetes diagnosis is based on elevated blood sugar levels. While there are different types of diabetes – most notably Type 1 and Type 2 – they are all identified by a rise in blood sugar. What are the different types of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune condition. It occurs because the pancreas cannot produce insulin. It usually develops in childhood or teen years and is unrelated to external factors.
  • Type 2 diabetes is far and away the most common form of diabetes. In most cases, external factors and specific related comorbidities contribute to the onset of Type 2 diabetes, including obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and a lack of physical activity.
  • Gestational diabetes is not a chronic condition like Type 1 and Type 2. This increase in blood sugar develops in pregnant women and usually goes away after giving birth. Still, gestational diabetes, if not properly treated during pregnancy, can have consequences for both mother and child.
  • Prediabetes is an elevation in blood sugar that hasn’t quite reached levels where a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis is warranted. It is a precursor to the disease and, without specific dietary and lifestyle changes, will almost certainly develop into Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, prediabetes rarely presents any symptoms, so the vast majority of people living with it have no idea there’s a problem.

Symptoms of Diabetes

The symptoms of diabetes often go unnoticed because they do not become noticeable until the disease has already taken hold. The telltale signs of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes include the following:

– Extreme thirst

– Urinating more frequently

– Losing weight without trying

– Feelings of exhaustion or weakness

– Irritability or unusual mood swings

– Blurry vision

– Slow-healing cuts and sores

The earlier diabetes is diagnosed, the more effective medical treatments and lifestyle modifications will be in controlling it. If you or your child experience any of the symptoms above, ask your doctor about being tested for diabetes.

It’s Not Just Blood Sugar Highs

Those who are living with diabetes know that managing it means more than watching for blood sugar highs. Diabetes medications, skipping meals, and an increase in physical activity can also cause blood sugar to drop below normal levels on occasion, a condition known as diabetic hypoglycemia.

Signs of low blood sugar include a racing heart, sweating, shakes, and irritability.

The good news is common dips in blood sugar are easy to treat. Glucose tablets, hard candies, or fruit juice usually do the trick and bring blood glucose back into the target range. However, if left unchecked, low blood sugar can lead to severe consequences, including diabetic coma.


Diabetes comes down to a daily blood sugar battle. While an elevation in blood sugar causes the disease, those living with diabetes also have to watch out for sudden drops in blood sugar. Essentially, the goal of everyone living with diabetes is to maintain blood sugar in the target range, which can differ from person to person depending on age and other factors.

But no matter what, it’s all about managing blood sugar. If you have diabetes and are having difficulty keeping your blood sugar in line, speak with your doctor about ways you might be able to gain some added control. Good luck!

Do you have any good diabetes insights or tips? We’d love to hear about them, so please share them with our readers below.


We hope you found this post informative and insightful. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to helping those with diabetes manage their blood sugar by offering a complete selection of testing and treatment supplies at up to 65% less than those found at most pharmacies and suppliers.