Diabetes: A chronic condition that you shouldn’t ignore
What is diabetes?
You may often hear about it. But does it ever occur to you that you are one of the people who are at high risk of developing the disorder? When your body has a problem managing its blood sugar levels, it is due to the body’s inability to either make or use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
With diabetes, either your body doesn’t produce enough or any insulin, or the cells of the body are resistant and unable to use the insulin it creates effectively.
What happens when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin?
The complications might be severe. If your body can’t use insulin to metabolise glucose, a simple sugar, it will build up in your blood, leading to high blood sugar levels. Without ongoing, careful management, diabetes can lead to a buildup of sugars in the blood, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications, including stroke and heart disease.
What are the types of diabetes?
There are several types of diabetes: Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type I diabetes [Juvenile Diabetes]
- Occurs when the body fails to produce insulin. People with type I diabetes are insulin-dependent. They must take artificial insulin daily to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes
- It is the most common type of diabetes. Type 2 means that your body doesn’t use insulin properly. And while some people can control their blood sugar levels with healthy eating and exercise, others may need medication or insulin to manage it.
- This type occurs in women during pregnancy when the body can become less sensitive to insulin. Gestational diabetes does not occur in all women and usually resolves after giving birth.
There are also less common types of diabetes that include monogenic diabetes and cystic fibrosis-related diabetes.
Am I at risk of getting diabetes?
Research has shown that people who have the following characteristics are more likely to have type 2 diabetes than those who don’t:
- Being overweight or obese
- Carry most of their fat in their midsection (as opposed to their thighs or buttocks)
- A person who is inactive and exercise less than three times a week
- A person with a family history of diabetes, with a parent or sibling who has the condition
- Has a history of gestational diabetes
- Has h story of prediabetes
- Has a history of insulin resistance, such as those with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Black, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and/or Asian American background
- Aged 45 or older
- Those with high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, and those with high blood pressure
Managing diabetes is not IMPOSSIBLE
A huge part of managing diabetes is developing a healthy diet. You need to start making lifestyle changes to support weight loss and overall health. Remember, it’s a process. Work to find helpful tips and diet plans that best suit your lifestyle—and how you can make your nutritional intake work the hardest for you.
Steps a person can take to embrace a lifestyle with diabetes include:
- A diet high in fresh, nutritious foods: Including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and healthy fat sources, such as nuts.
- Avoiding high-sugar: High-sugar food provides empty calories, or calories that do not have other nutritional benefits, such as sweetened sodas, fried foods, and high-sugar desserts.
- Limit alcohol intake: Refraining from drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or keeping intake to less than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
- Exercise and keep moving: Engaging in at least 30 minutes exercise a day on at least 5 days of the week, such as of walking, aerobics, riding a bike, or swimming.
- Monitor yourself: Recognising signs of low blood sugar when exercising, including dizziness, confusion, weakness, and profuse sweating.