What causes diabetes?

By October 11, 2019 November 7th, 2019 No Comments

All over the world, every day many people are told “Your blood sugar is high” or “You have Diabetes”. For people whose parents have or had the disease, this moment is more like “déjà vu.” But if this is happening to you for the first time, when probably the only thing that has linked you with the word Diabetes is some story or some comment about someone remote who is ill or who died or whose mother or father died from the disease then your first thought typically is shock or disbelief- you know, like What?! And then the next question is “Well, how (did this happen)? If you’ve been there and done that or if that’s where you’re at, then keep reading.

For most problems in life where the question we ask is “Well, how did I get here?” The first thing one would usually do is retrace your steps till you find out where you made a misstep or a wrong turn. This is exactly what we need to do to find out what causes Diabetes. The only difference is that to explain this, I’ll be tracing back the history of mankind generally in order to give a better perspective.

We need to go back in time to thousands of years ago when early man lived in caves. No one kept animals back then and there were no farmers or means of transport. People lived off the land; eating whatever edible berries or tubers they could find or the occasional animal they killed. You had to walk, run or climb if you wanted to go anywhere. Most things were done by improvising with rocks, sticks, and pieces of bone. Because man depended on nature for food then, during the rainy season when there was an abundance of food, people had enough to eat but they had to put in physical effort to get the food. During the dry season when it stopped raining, food became scarce and people had less to eat. Depending on how long the dry season lasted, humans needed to be able to store excess food consumed during periods of abundance for use during periods of scarcity. These are the ancestors we have evolved from.

Fast forward to today. There are so many methods of farming. Food is available all year round. We even store seasonal products for use when they’re out of season. We have gadgets that help us do almost everything, so we are not as physically active as our ancestors. So, while the way we live today is a far cry from the way early man lived, the way our bodies work is still the same. We still store excess food consumed for use when there’s scarcity. Only, nowadays, there’s no scarcity because we have food all year round.

When our bodies’ food stores are filled to overflowing and there’s no more storage space, the excess food we eat remains in our blood as sugar. As our blood sugar levels rise, we get ill and when we eventually get tested, we hear those words “your blood sugar is high” or “you have Diabetes.”

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