Radio jock’s life with diabetes

2015-12-02 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Gagasi FM DJ Kini Shandu was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus Type 1 seven years ago.

PHOTO: supplied Gagasi FM DJ Kini Shandu was diagnosed with diabetes mellitus Type 1 seven years ago.

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WITH November being Diabetes Awareness Month, NOKULUNGA NGOBESE spoke to Gagasi­ FM presenter Kini Shandu who was diagnosed­ with diabetes mellitus, Type 1 seven years ago.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about three-and-half million South Africans­ are diabetic, and diabetes remains among the top 10 causes of death in the country.

Shandu says although some people think being diagnosed with diabetes is a death sentence, the secret to managing the disease is to adjust one’s lifestyle.

With a family history of diabetes, Shandu said he always knew he was at risk, until seven years ago when a doctor officially diagnosed him after fainting and losing weight.

“People should know that being diagnosed a diabetic doesn’t mean one is sick, you just need to adjust your lifestyle. It is about following a certain eating plan where you avoid cholesterol­, beer and shisa nyama and ‘eat clean’. If you take care of your body, it will take care of you.”

Statistics indicate there is a growing trend of children being diagnosed with diabetes because of obesity and lifestyle.

“Diabetes is not age-related and there is a growing trend of children who are living with it.

“Parents feed their children junk, all the food that is high in cholesterol.

“If it is were up to me, parents would not be buying their children smartphones so they can just laze around.

“I encourage them to buy them things that encourages physical activities.”

Shandu said drinking beer and eating shisa nyama was always tempting for him, but he realised­ that if he wanted to live longer, he had to adapt to a new lifestyle.

“It’s not about not eating at all, it is about cutting down on things that are detrimental to your health.

Check your sugar levels regularly, exercise, eat vegetables and drink a lot of water, instead of fizzy drinks.”

The head of department for the KZN Department­ of Health, Dr Sifiso Mtshali urges the public to get tested for diseases at least once a year, as early detection makes diseases easier and cheaper to treat or manage.

Diabetes, often called sugar diabetes, is a condition where a person has a high blood sugar­ (glucose) level in the body.

A person develops diabetes when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot get the energy it needs from food.

Normally, a gland - the pancreas - makes i nsulin which carries the sugar in the blood into the cells. In diabetics, the pancreas fails to supply­ enough insulin, or the insulin doesn’t work properly.

There are two major types of diabetes - Type 1, commonly called juvenile diabetes, and Type 2, commonly called adult on-set diabetes. Both have similar symptoms, but very different causes.

Type 1 diabetes, usually diagnosed in childhood­, is a disease whereby the body’s immune­ system attacks and kills the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin, leaving a person’s body without insulin, and unable to regulate its blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that results when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin.

In Type 2 diabetes, unlike in Type 1, insulin is still produced by the body, it just isn’t used appropriately.

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