Did you know that 14th November 2018 is World Diabetes Day? No? Neither did I, quite an eye opener for me. On the periphery of my mind, I remember a beautiful lady who, in her forties was diagnosed with diabetes. For reasons best known to her, she ignored the symptoms and neglected herself which resulted in an amputation, shock and denial. She lost her will to live and succumbed to diabetes.
Take me for example, a visit to the doctor resulted in an observation. “Slightly Obese” he said. I smiled. My husband scoffed in disbelief. Yes he is precious, not well trained at all, just precious. Still, the warning signs are there and I have taken note as we all should. The daughter, smart as a whip, eyebrow arched, has an answer for everything, She is quick to qualify symptoms and her brutal honesty keeps me in check.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although both genetics, obesity and lack of exercise appear to play major roles. Scarily, statistics relay that over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes.
1. Common types of diabetes:
1. 1 Type 1, Juvenile Diabetes :
Usually diagnosed in childhood, diabetes occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks and kills the cells in the pancreas. Since the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, the body is unable to regulate its blood sugar levels.
1. 2 Type 2, Adult on-set Diabetes :
Diabetes is a disease that results when the body’s cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin is still produced by the body but not used properly.
2. Other types of Diabetes :
2.1 Gestational diabetes :
Diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Usually resolves once the baby is born. However, women who remain overweight during and after pregnancy will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next two decades.
2.2 Secondary diabetes :
Secondary diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar levels from another medical condition. Say, if the pancreatic tissue is destroyed by disease, such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas by toxins like excessive alcohol), trauma, or surgical removal of the pancreas.
2.3 Hormonal disturbances :
Diabetes can also result from other hormonal disturbances, such as excessive growth hormone production.
Medication such as prednisone or HIV medication may actually worsen diabetes control or “unmask” latent diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Constant thirst
- Frequent Urination
- Extreme Hunger
- Numbness of hands/feet
- Blurred Vision
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Sudden Weight Loss
- Yeast infections
- Skin irritations
Sounds familiar? Then a visit to your doctor should be imperative. For peace of mind, all that is required, is a simple blood test.
Treatment of Diabetes :
- A good diet
- Adequate exercise,
- Medication (injections/tablets)
- Healthy living environment
Anyone, anywhere, irrespective of their age can get diabetes. Being overweight and having a family history of diabetes increases the risk. Hence a healthy diet (irrespective of being aided by medication) is vital for blood sugar control in any type of diabetes. If poorly managed, then the abnormally high blood sugar levels can cause blood, eye, heart or kidney diseases. What is worse is the threat of blindness and amputation.
Local South Africa Actress Sophie Ndaba said on Instagram,
“Living with diabetes doesn’t mean my life must stop. It means I will fight to live and encourage those who already are suffering from this disease. Help others prevent it. I started my weight loss journey because I was obese and it affected my health. I made a confident choice to start eating well and lose weight”.
The good news is that having diabetes does not mean the end of a normal healthy life. Identify, accept the condition and then learn how to manage it. Get the family involved, educate them, remember that moderation is the key to ensure positive quality of life.