Diabetes is a disorder that causes a person’s blood sugar levels shoot up beyond normal. A life long condition, diabetes is either caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin or the cells of the body not responding properly to the insulin provided. There are two main types of diabetes– type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition wherein the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. This leads to an abnormal increase in blood glucose levels, which in turn damages the body’s organs. Known as insulin-dependent diabetes, this condition often develops before the age of 40.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition when the body fails to produce enough insulin or does not react to insulin. A disorder that can be genetically inherited, Type 2 is often associated with obesity, and is a progressive condition.
The most common symptoms associated with high blood sugar are frequent urination, thirst and hunger. If not managed medically, it can lead to complications like heart diseases, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.
How to control Diabetes
Increased physical activity will improve the body’s ability to use insulin and absorb glucose. In order to maintain a healthy body weight, experts recommend 20 – 30 minutes of brisk waking every day.
Eating healthy will help control blood sugar levels. Every meal, especially breakfast, should contain fruits, vegetables, whole grain, beans, fish and lean meat like chicken, which are rich in fibre. Avoid red meat and high-fat, oily food. Remember, skipping breakfast can lead to weight gain, which is one of the main risk factors of diabetes.
Drink lots of water to keep the body hydrated and flush off toxins. Do not opt for sugary, carbonated drinks as they can cause a sudden spurt in blood sugar levels.
Smokers are extremely prone to diabetes. The nicotine in cigarettes also harden and narrow blood vessels, which can lead to several other complications if the person gets diabetes.
World Diabetes Day
A day dedicated to the cause of raising global awareness on diabetes, World Diabetes Day is observed every year on 14 November - the birthday of Sir Frederick Grand Banting, a Canadian medical scientist, doctor, and Nobel Laureate, who, along with Charles Herbert Best, used insulin in humans for the first time in 1922.
The theme for World Diabetes Day 2014 is Healthy Living and Diabetes – specifically focusing on how blood sugar levels can be controlled by eating a healthy breakfast. This theme, which will be followed till year 2016, will aim at creating awareness on the need for those with diabetes to eat a healthy breakfast in order to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
According to experts, there are more 382 million people affected by diabetes worldwide and the numbers are increasing alarmingly. Kerala is the diabetic capital of India. In such a situation, a worldwide awareness campaign on Healthy Living and Diabetes will definitely benefit diabetics as well as others, as it makes them understand the need to adopt good eating habits in order to live a healthier, longer life.