Its World Health Day and the topic of conversation is TO BEAT DIABETES
However can it be beaten Doctor?
Many people know about Diabetes and increasingly many of us have or know someone with the condition. But there is still a myth about what diabetes is. Many think its about the amount of sugar that you take. However few are aware of the larger picture including the impact and scale diabetes can have on your life.
Firstly let us define what diabetes is. It is a long term, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
However diabetes is generally split into Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in the younger generation and means the body stops its production of insulin. This a hormone that helps control the level of glucose in your body. Type 2 is much more common in the older generation and is seen as the body not making enough insulin or the cells in your body not being able to utilise insulin properly. Type 2 is is much more common and seen in overweight individuals and the subject of worldwide awareness. Its therefore important to concentrated on Type 2 as it easily can be prevented by recognition of the factors that lead to it from an early start.
Symptoms commonly mentioned by patients are a gradual onset of increased urinary frequency, increased thirst, tingling in the both hands and/or both legs and increased fatigue. If such symptoms occur then it is a good idea to see your GP/health professional. A GP/health professional can arrange a blood test called HbA1c to help diagnose diabetes. There is specific criteria for diagnoses. HbA1c is also very useful in helping to monitor how good a person is in controlling their diabetes. At particular areas programs are advised to help those with diabetes deal with the condition and reduce further deterioration.
Treatment normally consists of medications and on occasions the use of Insulin via injections. However a massive part in the fight to beat diabetes is diet modification, weight management and physical activity.
By poor action being taken against diabetes it then becomes a risk factor for heart attack, stroke and causes poor wound healing, increased susceptibility to infections and even circulatory problems which can lead to amputations. Its impact can be so devastating that driving restrictions can be imposed and increased insurance premiums among many. The fight lies in early recognition of symptoms but more importantly early on setting a good lifestyle that reduces the diagnoses of diabetes ever being made. As they say, prevention is better than cure.
Diabetics can be classed as an epidemic and its everyone’s responsibility especially for parents to promote healthy eating and exercises to their children. Good resources to use for parents would be the promoted “change for life” which helps identify habits that can go unnoticed. This helps build a strong basis for a child’s future and health. Once these values and instilled and promoted, we can have diabetes on the run.
So with all this information, can diabetes be beat? It can, but truthfully can only be monitored and controlled but not cured. Therefore it is vitally important not only to look at your diet, but look at other areas like exercise. This is where WAFFL
can help with both so you can track your progress( BMI, nutrition, etc) and specific goals to reduce the chance of developing diabetes or helping to control. Nutritional programs and specific exercise are all set up to work in conjunction with you to prepare, arm and beat diabetes.
Dr A Egboh, WAFFl Doctor
MBBS, BSc, AICSM, MRCGP