World Diabetes Month

Diabetes is something that can happen to anyone. Millions of people are currently living with Diabetes. What is Diabetes? Put simply, it’s a group of diseases that result from too much sugar in the blood. Let’s look at the types of diabetes and how they could affect all of us.

There are 4 types of diabetes

1. In type 1, the pancreas produces little or no insulin. This chronic condition is thought to occur as a result of the immune system attacking and destroying the beta cells that produce insulin. There may be both genetic and environmental factors for this type of diabetes.
2. Type 2 affects the way the body processes sugar. The body can’t use insulin effectively and causes the pancreas to overproduce insulin until it can no longer keep up. The insulin production then decreases and this leads to high blood sugar levels. The exact cause of this is unknown, however, genetics, lack of exercise and being overweight may be the main contributing factors.
3. In Prediabetes the blood sugar is high but not high enough to be type 2. Being overweight, lack of exercise and incorrect diet are the main contributing factors. Without lifestyle changes, this may turn into Type 2 Diabetes.
4. Gestational Diabetes is high blood sugar in pregnant women. This may occur due to insulin-blocking hormones produced during pregnancy.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

In all instances, the blood struggles to get sugar to the body’s cells. Look out for symptoms like increased thirst, hunger, the need to urinate more frequently, fatigue and blurred vision.

Diabetes can be prevented

Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented. Increased exercise, loss of excess weight, increased fruit, vegetables, Vitamin D, fibre and whole grains, cutting out sugars and refined carbohydrates can all help reduce the risk of becoming diabetic as well as treat the disease. 

What treatments are used for diabetes?

Living a healthy lifestyle and medication, if needed, can treat and or prevent the disease. So eat healthily and exercise regularly. This will help you control and maintain good blood sugar levels.

Statistics show that 1 in 10 South Africans live with diabetes, but roughly 1 in 2 of these people don’t know it because it has not been diagnosed. This disease may cause other illnesses or health complications such as heart disease, strokes, kidney and nerve damage. It is therefore very important to get tested.

The support of family and friends in diabetes health care can be very beneficial to those living with the disease. Equip yourself with knowledge and get tested regularly if you think you may be prone to developing diabetes for any reason. If you have a family member or friend with diabetes, support them in any way you can. Eat a healthy diet with them or exercise together. We share some tips in our article in our blog 4 Good Foods for Diabetic People.

No man is an island and a support system is extremely important when it comes to our health and managing this disease. Together we can make a change to save a life.
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