7 Facts You Need To Know About Diabetes

Diabetes

 

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is projected to be the 7th global leading cause of death by the year 2030. Here are key facts that will help you fight against this disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, diabetes is projected to be the 7th global leading cause of death by the year 2030. Here are key facts that will help you fight against this disease.

In 2012, diabetes was identified as the root cause of 1.5 million deaths, worldwide. These statistics paint a grim picture of diabetes but keep in mind that as long as the disease is correctly diagnosed and controlled as per your medical practitioner’s instructions, the possibility of complications will be low.  Here are the essential facts that will help you make better choices.

Syringe

Fact #1: Type 1 vs Type 2

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes (also known as juvenile diabetes) include excessive urination, thirst, vision changes, fatigue and sudden weight loss.

Type 2 diabetes comprises 90 percent of diabetics around the world and is actually a result of a sedentary lifestyle and excess body weight. However, they are similar in that both types increase an individual’s risk of experiencing diabetes-related complications such as blindness and kidney failure.

Fruits

#2: Sugar isn’t the (only) enemy

Insulin is a hormone secreted by our pancreas. It helps our cells use glucose as a source of energy and also helps our body store extra glucose in our muscles, fat, and liver cells. When insulin does not work properly, as is the case with diabetics, the sugar will stay in the blood where it may cause hyperglycaemia.

Medical professionals will usually advise type 2 diabetics to change their lifestyles and incorporate more fruits and vegetables in their diet. However, remember that fruits contain fructose which is a form of glucose too. Juicing appears to be a good way to incorporate fruits into your diet but remember not to overdo it. One glass a day is alright but do check with your medical practitioner or dietician if this is an acceptable amount.

Feet

#3: Stand up to diabetes

It is well known that people with diabetes may develop complications related to their feet. Neuropathy is basically nerve damage that causes a loss sensations in the foot. When this happens, you will not feel pain when you injure your foot. A rock in your shoe may cut your foot and you will not notice until it’s infected. If left untreated, the infection may turn gangrenous and lead to limb amputation.

Diabetes can cause blood vessels of the foot and leg to narrow and harden which can cause poor circulation in your legs. This also means that wounds will heal slowly. Exercise such as walking can help with poor circulation but remember to walk in good fitting, comfortable and well supported shoes.

hugging

#4: Keep your heart safe

Diabetes can also lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The WHO mentions that cardiovascular disease is responsible for 50 to 80 percent of the deaths among diabetics. Along with diabetes, diseases such as high blood pressure, high triglycerides (blood fat), obesity, smoking and lack of exercise can contribute to the increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease. Take control of your diabetes and get moving to get your heart pumping. Check with your doctor regarding the intensity of your preferred form of exercise depending on your goals. He’ll be able to suggest a safe plan that will take your diabetes into account and any other medical issues you may have.

Eye

#5: The windows to your soul

Another diabetes-related complication is diabetic retinopathy. This occurs when high amounts of sugar in the blood damages cells in the retina (back of the eye). Diabetics above the age of 12 years old are advised to go for eye tests once a year to detect signs of damage. In order to minimise the risk of retina damage, it is best to control your blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure because leaving these untreated may result in blindness.

Pregnant

#6: Diabetes and pregnancy

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs when a woman is pregnant. This happens because a woman’s body may respond differently to insulin during pregnancy. Thus, this could cause elevated sugar levels. Women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery too. These women also have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future. Tests for gestational diabetes are usually carried out between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions to the  gestational diabetes test practice include women who are found to have high glucose levels in their urine during routine prenatal visits prior to 24 and 28 weeks.

#7: Don’t toss out your favourites… yet

Some people may think that once they’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, they’ll have to say goodbye to their favourite treats. Why not try changing the way you prepare your favourite food, instead? Say, you really like cheesy, deep fried potato wedges but your doctor has advised you to lower your intake of salt and fat. Instead of deep fried, try baking those potato wedges with olive oil, dried rosemary and a sprinkling of salt. It’s just a delicious and a whole lot healthier.

Another important point that will help you improve your eating habits is to stop using your favourite foods as a reward when you’ve managed to stick to your meal plan. If you feel any doubt regarding your diet and what to do, check with a dietician and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

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