Diabetes is a worldwide chronic health condition that affects over 400 million people and which has doubled in incidence in those over the age of 18 years. There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes predominantly affects children and teenagers because their pancreas does not produce insulin where Type 2 diabetes affects adults because their body is unable to use the insulin it produces effectively. Insulin is a hormone in the body, which helps sugar (glucose) to be absorbed by the body’s cells. When the body becomes resistant to the effect of insulin the sugar cannot be absorbed and this causes a high level of sugar in the body. Type 2 diabetes is caused by being overweight, physically inactive and eating a poor diet.
The rise of processed foods which are rich in sugar, low in fibre and high in calories; combined with reduced physical activity has caused rates of obesity to increase. The excess fat carried on the body directly affects the body’s ability to use insulin to drive sugar into the cells and muscles for energy use and storage. When the sugar is no longer used or stored it causes damage to the major organs of the body.
Common effects of chronically raised blood sugar includes:
- damage to the heart causing heart attacks and lifelong coronary artery disease
- damage to the kidneys causing kidney failure
- damage to the eyes causing loss of sight
- damage to the nerves causing loss of sensation to limbs
- damage to blood vessels causing infections and amputations
To prevent the onset of diabetes it is imperative that you incorporate simple lifestyles measures. These include
- maintaining a healthy weight
- participating in 30 minutes of regular daily exercise
- eating a healthy diet plant based diet and avoiding foods high in fat or sugar
If you have diabetes and are unwell and need to speak with a doctor download the My Emergency Dr app to speak with and be assessed by a qualified specialist doctor today.