Getting to know your diabetes status

By admin
15 November 2013

Living an unhealthy, inactive lifestyle can have huge implications on your health and future. One of the biggest health concerns the world is facing is diabetes. Help raise awareness on 14 November when people across the globe come together in support of Diabetes Day.

Living an unhealthy, inactive lifestyle can have huge implications on your health and future. One of the biggest health concerns the world is facing is diabetes. Help raise awareness on 14 November when people across the globe come together in support of Diabetes Day. 

Due to inactivity and poor eating habits, diabetes is one of the increasing diseases in our society and is also the reason why people come together annually on 14 November to raise awareness about it.

World Diabetes Day was started to make people aware of diabetes, its complications and how to successfully manage it. A great way to show your support is to go and have your blood sugar levels tested. Statistics provided by Diabetes South Africa show that almost 3,5 million South Africans suffer from diabetes, and millions more are undiagnosed.

Diabetes can also lead to other serious health conditions such as stroke, heart and kidney disease, and blindness. Even though diabetes is a chronic illness, how well an individual who suffers from diabetes manages their lifestyle determines if they live a long and happy life.

Clicks pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman says if you’re insulin-resistant or suffer from diabetes, coping with the disease is a lifelong commitment and includes a variety of monitoring such as checking your blood sugar level regularly. It also includes daily healthy eating, regular exercise and the intake of medication or insulin therapy.

Educate yourself about diabetes. People should know how to recognise the signs and what to do when experiencing high or low blood sugar levels. Regular eye, foot and dental examinations are also necessary when suffering from diabetes and cutting down on smoking and excessive alcohol consumption is a must.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition in which your body isn’t capable of controlling its glucose (blood sugar) levels and underproduces insulin which controls these levels. Many people therefore refer to diabetes as “sugar diabetes”.

Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is a hormone that assists the glucose (converted from the food we eat) to get into our cells to be used for energy.

Getting to know the different types of diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes is when insulin has stopped being produced by the pancreas. Usually those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are younger than 30, and can include children and infants. Type 1 diabetics are required to inject themselves with insulin to stay alive.
  • Type 2 diabetes is when not enough insulin is produced by the pancreas or it doesn’t function properly. This is the most common type of diabetes and 85 to 90 per cent of diabetics suffer from it. In this category the majority of people suffering from diabetes are older than 40 years and often the reasons for it are being inactive and overweight. Obesity is one of the increasing causes of diabetes.

Symptoms to look out for

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst

A simple finger-prick test at your local pharmacy will determine whether or not you have diabetes ? make an appointment today. Blood glucose levels are usually considered normal at 4-6mmol/l.

How to treat your diabetes

Your lifestyle will definitely differ from someone who doesn’t suffer from diabetes however it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a full life. Accepting that you’re living with the disease is the first step and then managing and taking control should follow.

Stay committed and healthy by:

  • Educating yourself and learning more about the condition.
  • Eating healthily ? it’s compulsory. Remember it’s all about managing your blood-sugar levels and eating food which will keep levels low. Getting advice from a dietician will assist you with what and how much you can eat of specific food groups.
  • Getting fit by exercising frequently. A good exercise plan will help your body keep your glucose levels, as well as other factors which might have an impact on your system such as stress, low.
  •  Taking your medication. Type 1 diabetics need daily insulin injections not only to keep healthy but to stay alive.

-Astrid Lippert-Fisher

SOURCE: Diabetes South Africa

For more information on diabetes go to Diabetes SA.

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