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How Hyperglycemia Impairs a Diabetic’s Immune System

How Hyperglycemia Impairs a Diabetic’s Immune System

Hyperglycemia, also known as high blood sugar, is a condition often found in diabetics that can have a number of adverse effects. Diabetes impairs your body’s ability to naturally produce enough insulin, which is what handles sugar in your blood and breaks it down as needed.

However, if you have low insulin, your body won’t be able to process it and you’ll have excessive blood sugar, leading to hyperglycemia. You may have heard before that diabetics are at a much higher risk of infections, because their immune systems are compromised.

However, very few people know why exactly your body is more prone to disease as a diabetic. To understand why, you must first have a clear understanding of the way your immune system works.

While your immune system is very complex and widespread, you could say there are two main components of your body that keep you safe from infections: the cells that signal that there’s a disease, and the cells that remove the disease.

When a disease enters your body, it releases a signal in the bloodstream that signals that it needs help. When an immune cell comes by and picks up that signal, it then moves to the site of the infection and consumes it, breaking the disease down and disposing of it elsewhere to be filtered out of your body.

However, this process is very delicate. The chemical signals need to reach the cells, and the cells must be able to move to the site of the infection, and then they must be able to reach the actual disease cells.

All of these can be impaired by high blood sugar. First, the excess sugar may block the signals from reaching the immune cell in the first place, causing it to pass by without thinking that anything is wrong.

If it does pick up the signal, it needs to be able to move to the infected area without being blocked. Again, the excessive sugar can impede it from moving to the right spot. And finally, even if it does make it to the infected area, it may be blocked there by sugar anyway, leaving it unable to deal with the infection.

By keeping your blood sugar in check, you’re able to prevent the obstruction of your immune system, allowing it to easily sort out the virus in your body. With high blood sugar, any diseases that may not have taken hold before will have a much better chance at causing damage. 

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