November 14 is World Diabetes Day and cases of diabetes are exploding by the year, especially among youngsters. This makes diabetes a very crucial determinant of our wellness and health! The term "diabetes mellitus" refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood glucose (aka blood sugar or glycemia). Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for all our cells - our brain can't function but on glucose! So when someone is diabetic, no matter what the type and its reasons are >> they have too much glucose in their blood and yes, too much glucose has serious detrimental consequences.
My concern is diabetes type 2. When we eat food, our body breaks down carbs to give glucose, which stimulate the secretion of insulin from the pancreas to help cells in absorbing the needed glucose. In diabetes Type 2, the cells cannot respond properly to insulin - a state called insulin resistance. Thus glucose stays high in the blood, cells don't get to have their need of glucose and the body keeps on making more insulin yet no response! Eventually with long term, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, the pancreas will reduce the amount of insulin it produces.
In 1992, an estimation of the prevalence of diabetes type 2 in Lebanon was at 7-8% and it rose to reach 16% in a study published year 2005! On the other hand, a very recent study showed that among Lebanese school students, glucose levels were significantly higher in overweight versus normal weight individuals with around 9 % of the normal weight group had hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels ) while among those who were overweight 37 % had hyperglycemia!
Therefore, it is quite crucial to know Diabetes Warning Signs! Diabetes symptoms vary depending on how high your blood sugar is. Most importantly, some people, especially those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, may not experience symptoms initially!!
- Thirst and dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Headaches, blurred vision and fatigue
- Slow healing sores and cuts
- Frequent infections, such as gum or skin infections and vaginal or bladder infections
- Erectile dysfunction
The causes are not quite determined yet, but many risk factors have been shown to increase the risk of developing diabetes type 2! Being overweight, being inactive, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, having high blood pressure, having high triglyceride and cholesterol levels and having polycystic ovary syndrome all increase the risk. Moreover the risk increase with age especially that we may tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as we age. Sadly, type 2 diabetes is increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults!
|Diabetes is preventable and manageable.|
You are able to control it!
The key in diabetes type 2 is that it's preventable!
So you see that some of the risk factors can be controlled and can be managed if you have diabetes as well!
- Keep your weight within the healthy range. So calculate your BMI to know if it's between 18 and 25: the healthier range. Weight loss improves insulin resistance, blood glucose, high lipid levels and help in reducing blood pressure. It is important to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
- Have a balanced healthy diet. A licensed dietitian can sure help you count your carbohydrates intake, have the right amount of healthy fats and limit your alcohol consumption. You can also check this detailed diet and diabetes guide!
- Keep an active lifestyle, exercise is indispensable so move more, sit less.
- Do your best to avoid stress. Stress is associated with increased inflammation state in your body. It can cause your blood pressure to rise or you would turn to food to cope. So adopt stress management skills, breathe and plan to reduce your stress as much as possible.
- Quit smoking, work hard on breaking this habit because tobacco use is associated with more complications in people with diabetes!
- Keep normal blood fats levels: HDL is best above 40 mg/dL, LDL should be lower than 100 mg/dL, total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL and triglycerides below 250 mg/dL
- Monitor your blood pressure to stay below 140/90 mmHg
|Diabetes complications affect all your body.|
They are never to be underestimated!
What's sneaky about diabetes is its complications! When your blood glucose levels are not regulated, complications become crippling, detrimental and life threatening. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and all that accompanies it: cardiovascular diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, foot damage, increased infections, brain damage and cancers. So it's definitely not the disease to neglect.
If you are suspicious that you, your parents (they tend to be neglectful about their own health) or your child is showing diabetic symptoms, don't neglect this. It is preventable, diagnosable and manageable and the earlier the better!
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