What Is Diabetes?

diabetes test

An increasing problem with those overweight, Diabetes is a disease that is treatable, but also requires some changes to your lifestyle depending on whether you are Type 1 or Type 2.

According to Diabetes UK, around 1.8 million people within the UK currently suffer from the disease. This number is expected to rise.

What Is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. This is because the body cannot use the sugar in the blood properly. Glucose originates from the digestion of starchy foods such as bread, rice and potatoes, sugar, sweet foods and the liver, which produces it.

Insulin is a hormone that is associated with diabetes. It is produced by the pancreas and is essential for helping glucose to enter the cells where it is used for energy by the body.

What does Insulin Actually Do?

Insulin is a hormone that helps sugar found in the blood, also called glucose, to enter the cells and provide energy for the body.

If the body cant produce insulin at all, that is classified as Type 1 Diabetes, and if the body can only produce small amounts, its called Type 2 Diabetes.

What Are The Symptoms?

The main symptoms of untreated diabetes are thirstiness, constant need to go to the toilet, fatigue, weight loss, genital itching, thrush and blurred vision.

There are two main types of the disease. Type 1 which is known as insulin dependent and Type 2 which is known as non-insulin dependent.

What Is Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 develops if the body cannot produce insulin. It usually appears prior to reaching the age of 40. It is treated through insulin injections, diet and regular exercise is recommended.

Occuring spontaneously in people before the age of 40, Type 1 Diabetes is the rarest form of the illness and generally affects 5-15% of the population. There is no cure for this form of the illness, but sufferers usually live fairly normal lives if they follow proper dietary and treatment requirements.

Type 1 is treated through daily insulin injections (usually four) and a balanced diet whereas Type 2 is treated by making changes to diet and exercise regimes that will result in increased physical activity and eventual weight loss.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes develops when your body can produce some insulin, but still requires more. Sometimes insulin is produced but doesnt work properly. This is called insulin resistance. It is a condition that usually develops in people over the age of 40.

Type 2 is generally linked with being overweight, and usually appears in people over the age of 40, though it can be seen in African/Caribbean and South Asian people over the age of 25. Type 2 is the most common form of the illness, and is responsible for 85-95% of cases.

You can treat Type 2 by dietary changes, exercise and sometimes with the addition of tablets or insulin injections. Tablets are also sometimes prescribed to help you body make better use of the insulin its able to produce. If you or a loved one suffers from the condition, a visit to your GP can help diagnose you and set out a course of treatment that will help you regulate your condition and your life.

How To Cope With Diabetes

The main aim to help sufferers is to try and achieve control and balance of your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. By attempting to slow down or repair the development of the disease, you can improve general health and with a healthy lifestyle, you can help in protecting yourself against long term damage to your eyes, kidneys, nerves, major arteries and the heart.

Diet and exercise levels are extremely influential in the prevention and treatment of such a disease.Obesity and this disease are very closely linked so it is strongly advisable to lose weight, eat healthily and take regular physical activity to try and combat the effects and reverse the condition which will improve your health and help you to look and feel much better for longer.

If you, or someone you know may be suffering from Diabetes, the more you know about the medical condition, the better youll be able to cope and adapt.

Living with Diabetes

Learning to live with Diabetes means learning how to regulate your intake of foods that are transformed into glucose in the digestive process. So what causes this condition? And what kind of treatments and lifestyle choices can help you better deal with this condition?

Neither of these forms of the illness can be cured, but they can be effectively managed with treatment.

Diabetes Diet

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, following a diabetic diet is essential. Whichever type of diabetes you have, the key part of a diabetic diet is to control the flow of sugar into your blood, and thus the insulin that your body produces.

Doctors recommend a diabetic diet as the best way to control the symptoms and allow you to live a normal life. The key principals are of the diabetic diet are:

  • Eat regularly:

    Maintaining a steady flow of sugar is essential, so you need to choose foods that release their nutrients slowly, such as whole grain carbs - these are the types of foods that you will find recommended in GI eating plans.
     
  • Cut down on high sugar foods:

    High sugar foods leads to rapid rises and falls in blood sugar and insulin, and so should be avoided.
     
  • Reduce the amount of fat you eat:

    As excess weight is often associated with this disease, reducing fat intake - especially hard fats from meat - is an effective way to manage your cholesterol levels and thus lower your risk of heart disease.
     
  • Eat five portions of fruit and veg a day:

    These foods not only provide you with essential vitamins and minerals, they are also a vital source of fibre. In addition, the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are released slowly.
     
  • Reduce salt intake:

    Cutting salt intake is easy - the first step is to stop adding it to your food. You should also look at reducing your consumption of salty foods such as processed meals and soups, crisps, salted nuts, bacon, cheese, pickles and smoked fish
     
  • Keep alcohol to moderate levels:

    Alcohol is essentially just liquid sugar, so should either be avoided, or taken in small quantities, with a meal.


 

 

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