There is a rise in lifestyle diseases amongst many people in the country both young and old. As we acquired civilisation, we also took on the diseases of civilisation. One of such disease is diabetes. This life style disease is as a result of change in the eating habit of most persons. Although there is no cure, it can be managed. Here are the basic things you need to know about diabetes as culled from
Diabetes is a medical condition that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin. It also affects blood sugar levels.
There are three types of diabetes which include type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects the body’s ability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes affects the body’s ability to use insulin well. Gestational diabetes impacts the body’s ability to use blood sugar during pregnancy.
• Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is categorized as an autoimmune disease and occurs when the body’s misdirected immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Although genetic or environmental triggers are suspected, the exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not completely understood. According to research, most patients are diagnosed as children or young adults. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin daily to manage their condition.
• Type 2 Diabetes
This type of diabetes most often develops gradually with age and is characterized by insulin resistance in the body. For reasons not yet totally understood, the cells of the body stop being able to use insulin effectively. Because of this resistance, the body’s fat, liver, and muscle cells are unable to take in and store glucose, which is used for energy. The glucose remains in the blood. The abnormal build up of glucose (blood sugar), called hyperglycemia, impairs body functions. Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in people who are overweight and sedentary, two things thought to lead to insulin resistance. Family history and genetics play a major role in type 2 diabetes.
• Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is defined as blood-sugar elevation during pregnancy; it is known to affect about three to eight percent of women. Left undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to problems such as high birth weight and breathing problems for the baby. All pregnant women are tested for gestational diabetes at between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, as this is when this problem usually develops. Gestational diabetes usually resolves in the mother after the baby is born, but statistics show that women who have gestational diabetes have a much greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years.
• Pre diabetes
Although pre diabetes is not technically diabetes, some experts now consider it to be the first step to type 2 diabetes. This condition is marked by blood sugar levels that are too high to be considered normal but are not yet high enough to be in the range of a typical diabetes diagnosis. Pre diabetes increases not only your risk of developing diabetes but also your risk of heart disease and stroke.
The cause of type 1 diabetes is not understood and at this time is not preventable. However, people trying to avoid type 2 diabetes may be able to engage in lifestyle changes that lower their risk.
• Eat a Healthy Diet
Obesity is a major risk factor in type 2 diabetes. According to the National Diabetes Education Program, overweight people who lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight can help prevent diabetes.
The first step in weight loss or weight maintenance to prevent diabetes is eating a healthy diet. This includes avoiding foods that are high in unhealthy fats and cholesterol in favour of fresh foods and whole-grain carbohydrate choices. Avoiding processed and pre-packaged foods can help.
Portion control is often an important aspect of eating a healthy diet. For example, a serving of meat or fish should be roughly the size of a deck of cards. However, most people eat significantly larger food amounts. By limiting excessive portions, people can cut calories to result in weight loss.
• Exercise
Exercise is the second part of the weight-loss plan for people trying to prevent type 2 diabetes. Engaging in at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week can help. However, people who do not currently exercise may need to start in smaller intervals. This can include three 10-minute exercise sessions each day.
Exercise does not have to be strenuous to be effective. Moderate, low-impact physical activity can help people achieve weight loss. Exercise examples can include:
• Dancing
• Riding a bicycle or stationary bicycle
• Swimming
• Taking an aerobics class
• Using an elliptical exercise machine
• Walking
If the activity gets the heart pumping, it can be effective in diabetes prevention.
According to studies, gestational diabetes increases a woman’s risk for getting type 2 diabetes. By taking steps to lose weight after giving birth in a slow, healthy way, women can reduce their risk. However, women should not begin exercising until their doctors given them the permission to begin.
• Quit Smoking
Smokers are significantly more likely to have diabetes. According to several studies, smokers are 50 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than are people who don’t smoke. The more a person smokes, the higher their risk.
Quitting smoking is not easy. People who have developed the habit over time must work hard to break it. However, many helpful resources exist. Many support groups exist to help people successfully quit. Nicotine patches and gums can also help to ease cravings. While quitting may take some time, it can reduce diabetes risk and improve overall health.
• Avoid Excess Alcohol Intake
According to experts, consuming excess alcohol increases diabetes risk. However, moderate alcohol consumption in people who already drink alcohol may have protective effects against diabetes. Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol helps the body use blood glucose more effectively. For men, this is no more than two drinks per day. For women, moderate consumption is no more than one drink per day.
If you do not currently drink alcohol, you don’t have to start. A healthy lifestyle is an effective way of reducing diabetes risk. Take small steps today for a greater reward tomorrow.

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