Having diabetes has an impact on every aspect of a person’s life. Our aim in writing these articles during the diabetes awareness month is to provide useful, practical information to help people who might be living with the condition and also to help people who do not yet have the condition, so that they stave off the dreaded disease.
# 1: Sugar – it’s not as villainous as we assume it to be!
Most people make the mistake of assuming that as long as they go ‘sugar-free’ they can successfully keep diabetes at bay. Rather than sugar, diabetes is intimately connected with fat. An overweight person following a rigorous sugar free diet is as susceptible to diabetes as someone following a normal diet. Of course, that is not to say that you can consume as much sugar as you like; after all, too much of anything is not good at all. This brings us to the question; what is diabetes?
During this diabetes awareness month, let’s understand how the disease develops.
# 2: Diabetes and its relation with pancreas and insulin
Diabetes is a condition in which our body cannot control the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This happens if our pancreas either does not produce or produces insufficient quantities of insulin. Insulin and glucose enjoy an intimate relationship. Insulin is required to breakdown glucose and release energy which can then be used for our daily activities. Impaired insulin production (Type II diabetes) or total lack of insulin (Type I diabetes) in a diabetic, leads to a situation wherein, on the one hand, they don’t have energy to do even routine work and on the other, they have too much glucose (sugar) in the blood – a kind of double whammy situation. Not good at all.
There are of course other reasons why a person might develop diabetes. Let us use the diabetes awareness month to increase our understanding of the reasons that contribute to the development of diabetes.
# 3: Reasons a person might develop diabetes
Reasons for developing diabetes include genetics (it often runs in the family), weight (type 2 diabetes), body shape (too much fat around the waist), ethnicity (Asians, Africans and Caribbeans watch out), pregnancy (can cause gestational diabetes), medications (steroids, diuretics, beta-blockers and immunosuppressant have been known to trigger it), viral infections (diabetics brought about by abnormal reactions to a virus), damage to pancreas (extreme sports fanatics watch out) and hormonal disorders.
It is also important we understand the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes.
# 4: Differences between Type 1 and Type diabetes.
|Type I diabetesDevelops before the age of 40.No insulin production.Underweight or normal weight.Need insulin injections and care with food and physical activity.Suffer from fatigue and weight loss.
Diagnosing Type I is easy.
Genetics play a major role so usually cannot be prevented.
|Type II diabetesDevelops after 40 – though of late, this pattern seems to be changing.Produces some insulin.Usually brought about by obesity.Need care with eating right and physical activity. May also have to take tablets.May not be diagnosed for several years.
Can be prevented by altering our lifestyle.
Finally, let us use the occasion of the diabetes awareness month to spread awareness about the symptoms of diabetes.
# 5: Symptoms of diabetes
- Passing large amounts of urine (due to our body’s need to flush out excess glucose)
- Dry mouth, excessive thirst brought about by dehydration
- Lack of energy
- Weight loss – as a last ditch effort, our body breaks down fat and muscle to produce energy
- Blurred vision – brought about by glucose and water invading your eyes
- Fruity breath – brought about by the body trying to get rid of glucose any way it can
- Thrush and Cystitis – glucose in urine causes bacterial development – the harmful kind.
During these last days of Diabetes Awareness Month, we encourage you to start with your healthy eating if you have not yet done that). And since it’s the holidays, we present to you a special offer to help you introduce portion control and healthy eating to your whole family:
Buy 4 sets of our Complete Lifestyle Starter Kit and use coupon code DiabetesMonth to get $50 off.
Offer ends Dec 2 and is not valid with other offers.