Creating diabetes awareness

2017-11-21 06:01
Jenny Russell from Diabetes SA Durban.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Jenny Russell from Diabetes SA Durban.PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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NOVEMBER is Diabetes Awareness Month, and Fever reporter Kalisha Naicker chatted to Jenny Russell from Diabetes SA Durban about this “silent killer”.

KN: What is Diabetes South Africa [DSA]?

JR: DSA is a non-profit organisation. We are an organisation that provides wellness education to diabetics and communities.

KN: What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

JR: Type 1 is an auto immune condition. Your body attacks the beta cells in your pancreas, and they cannot produce insulin. This usually occurs in children.

Type 2 is when the body either cannot produce enough insulin, or it is unable to use it correctly. Unfortunately, it is now becoming more common in young adults and children. The fastest growing group of type 2s is the 35-50 age group, who are breadwinners in a family.

KN: What are the symptoms?

JR: You could be very thirsty, go to the toilet often and very tired because the glucose, which is your energy source, remains in your bloodstream. In addition one could lose weight very quickly without dieting, be very hungry all the time, put on weight, have blurred vision, dry itchy skin, sores that don’t heal and recurrent fungal infections like thrush.

KN: What other problems or illnesses should one look out for when diagnosed diabetic?

JR: Top of the list is cardiovascular disease. Others are stroke, eye disease, kidney disease, nerve damage, lower limb amputations, sexual dysfunction, high blood pressure and cholesterol.

KN: What must one do if they suspect they are diabetic?

JR: A simple finger-prick at a pharmacy and hours after eating your blood glucose level shouldn’t be above eight.

KN: Do you offer counselling or assistance to those diagnosed?

JR: Yes, we offer free lifestyle education. We also have a database of doctors, diabetes nurse specialists, podiatrists, dietitians, biokineticists, etc, who can help with managing the condition. A team approach is non-negotiable for a person living with diabetes.

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