WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a disease where a person’s blood glucose is elevated. Our bodies convert most food we eat to glucose or sugar and then use it as energy. The pancreas produce a hormone called insulin to help the body regulate the amount of glucose in the blood and cells. When a person develops diabetes, the insulin production of the pancreas is inadequate or –/ and the body’s cells can’t respond properly to the insulin produced. The sugar then builds up in the blood. Diabetes causes serious health complications, including:
• Heart disease
• Kidney failure
• Vascular disease, which can cause amputations of
the lower extremities.
Two main types of diabetes are identified, namely
Type 1 and Type 2. A third type which occurs during
pregnancy is gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is caused by autoimmune,
genetic and environmental factors
Type 2 diabetes are mainly caused by lifestyle
choices and usually occurs in older people, obese
people, people with a family history of diabetes
and physically inactive people.
MANAGEMENT OF DIABETES
Type 1 diabetes: Eat healthy, be physically
active, use insulin injections and blood glucose
Type 2 diabetes: Healthy eating, be physically
active and blood glucose monitoring. Many
people also use oral medication, insulin injections
or both to control blood glucose levels.
It is very important that a diabetic person visit
their doctors / clinics regularly to monitor for
complications of diabetes. The health of the feet,
eyes, heart and kidneys should be monitored to
ensure early identification and treatment of any
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
• Unusual or increased thirst
• Frequent need to urinate
• Blurry vision
• Extreme hunger
• Frequent or recurring infections
• Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
• Fatigue or lack of energy
• Slow healing cuts or sores
• Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
**Not all people will show signs and symptoms
* Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented.
* Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making a
couple of lifestyle changes:
• Reduce weight if overweight (BMI over 25)
• Increase physical activity
• Increase food with high fibre content
• Eat whole grain food
• Reduce food containing sugar in the diet
• Stop smoking to reduce the risk of heart disease