This is a pretty advanced topic to be discussing this early on in the life of the website, but it's in the blog I guess and I haven't really been too fussy about sticking to the very basics so far anyway, although this is something I'll be talking about in much more detail as we go along.
So this post will serve as an introduction to looking to manage risks of damage due to diabetes, and that's a pretty important topic indeed because it's what managing diabetes is all about really, in the end.
So people don't generally care what their blood sugar is per se, other than with hypoglycemia or extreme hyperglycemia, as this really is more of a chronic disease than an acute one, and it's the long term damage from high blood sugar that we do care about the most, and rightly so.
There are two main types of damage from diabetes, which are macrovascular, which involves the circulatory system, and microvascular, which are things like neuropathy, which is nerve damage, nephropathy, which is damage to the kidneys, and retinopathy, which is damage to the retina of the eyes.
For now though we will look at this from the perspective of what causes this damage, when it is caused by hyperglycemia that is, and starts with glycation. So glycation is what we measure when we get an A1C test, some people think this measures average blood sugar but that's not really the case, it instead measures how much glucose has stuck to your red blood cells, or hemoglobin to be specific, which is the protein that makes red blood cells red.
So glucose is sticky, and it just doesn't stick to red blood cells, it causes glycation throughout the body, and this leads to a higher rate of advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which aren't just formed by high blood sugar, you also get this stuff in food, for instance when you burn meat on the grill, AGEs form.
This is not something we want to happen to our cells though, burning them on the barbecue so to speak with sweet barbecue sauce all over them as well, making them burnt and sticky, so this is one of the reasons why we want to try to not have our blood sugar go so high. All of this unwanted process involves too much oxidation, and our cells are equipped to handle a certain amount of it but when overwhelmed then damage occurs.
Oxygen is necessary for life but too much oxidation is harmful, this is what happens to metal when it's left out in the rain, it rusts, and the rust is formed by oxidation, that's why they call the rust iron oxide. The metal can handle a certain amount of this but when you get too much it starts to rust, and the more oxidation it undergoes, the more it becomes rusted.
Aside from this rather simple explanation, what I'm looking to do with this post is to get you to realize that we can manage the risks of too much of this bad stuff happening not only by blood sugar control, but by strengthening the body's defenses against it as well.
The second part is something that very few diabetics pay any attention to, but if someone is looking to prevent damage, having a good A1C is just one side of the coin, and it's a two sided coin, to be sure.
So there are several things in particular that you can take to strengthen yourself against this sort of damage, and these are things that can be taken together to further your protection. They also work to heal damage if one does end up with some, for instance I have neuropathy but it's almost gone now from taking the stuff I am talking about.
I'll get into the details later other than to give you an example here, benfotiamine has been shown to be the best remedy against microvascular risk and damage, and sadly it's only after people get damaged that they start taking it, and that's only the very small percentage that actually are familiar with it, as you won't get this stuff from your doctor, and they probably have not even heard of it themselves.
So the battle against diabetic damage occurs on two major fronts, and the blood sugar front is an important one but actually may be the less important one of the two, so it's certainly wise to look at this other mode of treatment as well, the nutriceutical based one.