Diabetes can be genetic, but it is mostly associated with obesity. Diabetes can also be caused by independent conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome or by commonly used medications like diuretics.
Although diabetes leads to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and the loss of limbs due to poor circulation it is possible to treat or even avoid the disease completely.
WHAT IS DIABETES AND HOW IS IT CAUSED?
There are three recognised types of diabetes (also known as diabetes mellitus): type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes or diabetes of pregnancy. Each affects the way your body produces or manages the hormone insulin and the way it absorbs sugar, in the form of glucose, from the bloodstream after a meal.
- Type 1 diabetes, although most common in children, can develop in anyone and is caused by the destruction of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This is irreversible and requires lifelong insulin injections.
- Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes – affecting 90% of all sufferers. It is often associated with obesity, especially in those who have fat around the abdomen.
- Gestational diabetes is only present in pregnancy. However, 20 – 50% of affected mothers will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
THE TWO MAIN CAUSES OF DIABETES ARE:
1. If the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin glucose remains in the blood and builds up, sometimes passing into the urine.
2. Cells lining the blood vessels start to ignore the insulin’s instructions, causing the pancreas to secrete more insulin than is needed. This is called insulin resistance, or prediabetes, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES?
Type 1 diabetes symptoms usually manifest suddenly with severe thirst and the passing of large quantities of diluted urine. If untreated, type 1 diabetes leads to serious illness.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms are far less dramatic. It is estimated that many people have the disease for several years before being diagnosed.
Diabetes symptoms also include urinary problems, fungal infections, fatigue, slow wound healing, blurred vision, and sexual dysfunction – especially in men.
If you have had gestational diabetes, are on medication for blood pressure or have any of the mentioned diabetes symptoms, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist or mention it to your Sure Slim consultant.
HOW IS DIABETES TREATED?
A simple test to measure blood glucose along with a physical examination will determine whether a diabetes management plan is necessary for you.
Type 1 diabetes treatment requires insulin injections to supplement what the pancreas doesn’t produce.
Type 2 diabetes treatment requires sufferers to modify their diet by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and saturated fats to both lose weight and maintain healthy weight loss. If glucose remains unacceptably high your doctor will prescribe tablets to reduce the insulin resistance and stimulate the pancreas to work harder. In many cases of long standing Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas cannot maintain insulin production and insulin injections become necessary.
You can help to prevent Type 2 diabetes and reduce diabetes symptoms generally by:
- Controlling your weight
- Maintaining a body mass index (BMI) of no more than 25
- Taking part in physical activity
- Introducing a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and minimal refined starches
- Stopping smoking
When you join SureSlim, you will be tested for diabetes as part of your weight loss assessment. We’ll also show you how to make changes in your lifestyle to minimize the effects of diabetes or reduce your chances of contracting the disease altogether.