Living with diabetes

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A child with diabetes. Picture from www.nhs.uk
A child with diabetes. Picture from www.nhs.uk
A child with diabetes. Picture from www.nhs.uk

Today is the Safaricom Diabetes Marathon and we thought we should shed some light on what diabetes is. Check out the cool infographic at the end. In our generation with the busy lifestyles we lead it is becoming easier and easier to fall into the trend of fast foods and eating out, because a lot of the time it is more convenient. Though, we have started hearing it being preached over and over again that junk food is not good for us.  People are waking up and realizing that our lifestyles need to change if we want to actually live long, but are we realizing it fast enough?

Diseases have appeared in the last century that were not common before. Things like cancer, tumors, and Diabetes had no place in human civilization centuries ago. What has changed since then? I believe it is basically the respect we have for our bodies. We work our bodies like slaves to an unyielding master then replenish them with the types of food that are not a good source of energy. Yet we expect our body to give its bet performance? At some point something’s going to give, and some part of your body will give up on you. This is a scary thought, though it is a reality. One of the scariest things you can be diagnosed with is Diabetes, because it never goes away.

My grandmother is diabetic and my mother is pre-diabetic so I want talked to her and want to share with you what it is like from a personal point of view. Then share what precautions you can take to avoid it.

The Basics

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes as a metabolic disease in which the body is incapable of producing any, or enough insulin causing elevated levels of glucose in the blood. There are three main types of diabetes;

  • Type 1: where the pancreas produces very little insulin or no insulin at all. People who get Type 1 diabetes are usually under the age of 20.
  • Type 2: About 90 percent of all cases of diabetes are Type 2 diabetes. The difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that with Type 2 diabetes the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body does not properly use it.  Type 2, diabetes is sometimes considered a lifestyle disease because it is normally triggered by living a fairly sedentary life, being overweight and not participating in exercise. However, age is a factor as well as heredity. If a parent or sibling develops Type 2 diabetes later in life, a person has greater chances to getting Type 2 diabetes as well.
  • Type 3: The third main type of diabetes is gestational diabetes, which is a condition that women can get when they are in the second trimester of pregnancy. About 4 percent of all pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes. Unlike Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes will disappear after the baby is born. Though, it does put the woman at high risk of getting type 2 Diabetes later on in life.
  • Pre-diabetes, also known as Impaired glucose tolerance is a condition where your Blood sugar level elevates to a level higher than the normal range for most people, but is still low enough not to be considered diabetes.

People who have pre-diabetes are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life if they do not monitor their condition carefully.

Controlling and Avoiding Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes has no known cure, and must have a combination of regular insulin injections, a healthy diet, and exercise to lead a normal life. Type 2 Diabetes is also a lifetime disease and has no known cure, although some people have been able to rid themselves of the symptoms through a healthy lifestyle of a nutritious diet and regular exercise.

From experience I asked my mom a bit about her pre diabetes. She was diagnosed with it when she went to the doctor’s office for a check-up because her blood pressure was at the borderline. This concerned the doctor who proceeded to do a thorough investigation. He then diagnosed her with pre-diabetes when her blood sugar was found to be higher than normal.

Living with her mother who has Type 2 diabetes, this seems to run in the family. Here are a few tips and tricks that have helped them lead normal lives. These are also healthy measures and precautions to protect you from becoming diabetic.

  • Eat small frequent meals instead of spaced out large meals.
  • High fiber products are absolutely necessary, e.g. Oats, Weetabix, Brown Rice, Whole meal products.
  • Avoid white, refined products
  • Avoid sweets, all the cookies and cakes should be substituted for a fruit or a healthy treat that would satisfy your sweet tooth craving.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise!
  • Veggies and lean proteins are great addition to have.

It’s easy to think that we are invincible; to believe that we will live forever because our view is so limited. You can’t predict the future but you can invest into your future, in the present by taking care of your body now. Thirty or forty years from now when your body is growing old it will thank you for taking care of it now.

diabetes infographic

Infographic courtesy of http://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/statistics-infographic

References:
http://www.diabetes-info.co.uk/what-is-diabetes/types-of-diabetes.html
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/diabetes/

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