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Author: Sabrina Barr
With the number of people with diabetes in the UK doubling over the past two decades, it’s important that people are educated on the symptoms, causes and effects of the chronic condition.f
There are currently around 3.7 million diagnosed cases of diabetes across the country, with many at risk of developing the disease due to factors such as childhood obesity.
So what are the symptoms of diabetes, how is it caused and how can it be treated?
Here’s everything you need to know
What is diabetes and how is it caused?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels.
It does this by breaking down the glucose that’s in your blood so that it can be used for energy, explains the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
When a person has diabetes, then this means that their pancreas is unable to produce enough or any insulin to break down the glucose in their blood.
As the world prepares itself to observe World Diabetes Day on November 14, let’s take a look at some ways to avoid diabetes.
Diabetes, a form of metabolic disease, is caused when the amount of glucose in the blood increases due to insufficient insulin production by the pancreas. There are two types of diabetes. While the cause for Type 1 remains uncertain and cannot be prevented, up to 80 percent of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes. To mark the occasion of World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, let’s take a look at some ways to avoid the disease.
Drink water before meals
Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meals as that can help with diabetes weight loss and keeps you away overeating. It will make your stomach feel full and cut down on portions by about three ounces (85 grams) daily.
Use smaller plates and cutlery
Another way to loose diabetes weight is by using teaspoons, salad forks, or child-size forks as that will help you take smaller bites. Also, replace your usual plate with a smaller breakfast plate to consume lesser portions.
Don’t gobble your food! Take it easy and eat slowly, as it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to the brain that you are full. It is very essential to maintain weight for people who suffer from diabetes, so try not to overeat.
Switch off the TV
Watching TV during mealtime is a common habit, but did you know that you actually end up eating more in the process? This habit may actually upset your diabetes weight-loss efforts. So, try listening to soothing music instead while eating.
Workout at home
Staying fit and keeping the blood sugar in control is a must for a diabetic patient. If you are not an outdoor person or dislike going to a gym, simply turn on the music and work out at home by watching a fitness DVD to burn calories. Those who get bored with the routine exercise schedule can use contemporary dance steps as an effective way of exercising.
Take the stairs
Even at work you need to manage diabetes simply by physical activity. Ditch the elevators and lifts, and take the stairs instead. At office, walk to a colleague’s desk to deliver a message, rather than sending a mail or pinging on the communicator.
Walk as you talk
You may also walk up and down the house or office corridor while attending long phone calls. Try catching up with friends and family often instead of spending hours on the mobile.
Eat more vegetables
Carbohydrate foods are very important for people suffering from diabetes as that affects the blood sugar levels. So pick non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots as they are low in carbohydrates.
Opt for low-sodium canned foods
Too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, which are common complications of diabetes. So, in case you have to buy frozen food due to shortage of time, always opt for low-sodium canned vegetables as they stay fresh for longer periods.
Cut back on oil usage
To protect your heart and to lower bad cholesterol, stop using too much oil and butter in your food. For frying and baking, use non-stick spray or low-salt broth. The healthiest cooking oils for diabetics are walnut oil, flaxseed oil, and canola oil.
Include whole grains in daily diet
Choose foods with little or no added sugar to reduce calorie intake, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and whole grain corn. They are not only helpful for digestive health but also contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Opt for healthier fast food
When going out with friends, pick healthy food at fast food restaurants. For example, eat grilled chicken (with skin removed), instead of a cheeseburger or pizza. Chicken is good for diabetic patients as it has low fat content and is useful for both the heart and the kidneys.
Fruits for dessert
When craving for an after-meal dessert, reach out for a bowl of fruit salad, rather than sugar and fat-laden desserts. Other than tasting great, fruits contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, which are great for the body and also provides antioxidants and fiber.
Say “no” to colas
Colas and other carbonated drinks are laced with high levels of sugar, and so are off-the-shelf fruit juices. Drink plain water instead to keep your body hydrated and flush out toxins. Also, opt for a whole fruit or fresh fruit juice in place of bottled ones.
Switch to skimmed milk
Try to avoid all full-fat dairy products and replace whole milk with fat-free or skimmed variety in order to reduce the amount of fat and calories you consume everyday.
You need to be very careful when consuming snacks as they contain carbohydrates and it could leave a bad impact on your blood sugar levels. Choose fresh fruits, nuts, whole-grain crackers, and low-fat popcorn over finger chips or chicken nuggets for healthy snacking.
Maintain a weekly record
Maintain a weekly written record of what you eat as it will help you better the eating habits. It will also help you keep a track of the amount of fat or calories consumed.
Other than nutritious food and regular exercise, a happy, positive mind goes a long way in keeping our body healthy. Reading a book, walking your dog, taking a long bath, going for a short vacation, or simply meditating can soothe your nerves and de-stress your body.
This can lead to a drastic increase in their blood sugar levels.
The amount of blood glucose that you have in your body typically depends on the foods that you eat, hence if you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar levels will rise.
Therefore, people who consume inordinate quantities of sugar are more likely to develop diabetes.
However, whether or not a person is diagnosed as diabetic may also depend on their genetic makeup, explains Diabetes.co.uk.
What are the different types of diabetes?
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
If someone is suffering from type 1 diabetes, then this means that their body isn’t producing any insulin at all.
Scientists have been unable to pinpoint the exact cause of type 1 diabetes, the Mayo Clinic explains, with genetics being the most likely factor.
While type 1 diabetes is commonly found in children, it can be diagnosed at any age.
When someone has type 2 diabetes, this means that their body is either unable to produce enough insulin, or the insulin that the pancreas is able to produce isn’t working sufficiently, explains Diabetes UK.
While genetics may also play a role in a person developing type 2 diabetes, it can also be caused by other factors such as whether or not they follow a healthy and active lifestyle.
Approximately 12.3 million people in the UK reportedly have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in future, due to factors such as obesity.
Symptoms of type 1 or type 2 diabetes can include fatigue, unexplained weight loss, excessive thirst and frequent urination.
How can diabetes be treated?
If a person is diabetic, then it’s essential that they do all that they can to manage their blood sugar levels.
They can do this by reducing the amount of sugar that they consume and by including healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and high-fibre cereals in their diets.
The NHS also recommends maintaining an active lifestyle and carrying out regular blood tests to keep an eye on blood sugar levels.
People who’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may need to take medication in order to reduce the amount of glucose in their blood.
Those who’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes must treat the condition with insulin injections or pumps every day.
The type and quantity of insulin that you need is a matter that you can discuss with a medical professional.
Wednesday 14 November marks World Diabetes Day 2018. November 14 marks World Diabetes Day 2018, part of Diabetes Awareness Month, which aims to raise awareness of the condition and encourage those who may be at risk to be tested. With many studies focusing on the lifestyle factors that are associated with diabetes, here we round up some of the recent research which suggests changes we can make to lower our risk of the disease.
Try to take time for yourself
Canadian research which followed 7,065 workers between the ages of 35 and 74 for a period of 12 years found that women who work 45 or more hours a week have a 63 percent higher risk of developing diabetes than women who work between 35 and 40 hours, although no association was found between working hours and diabetes in men.
The researchers suggested that women might work longer hours in part due to household chores and family responsibilities, which could prompt a chronic stress response in the body, increasing the risk of hormonal abnormalities and insulin resistance, and that reducing the amount of working hours might help curb the risk of the disease.
Get the optimal amount of sleep
Related: Celebrities you didn’t know had diabetes (provided by Starsinsider)
Korean researchers have found that sleeping too much or too little are both linked with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions including elevated waist circumference, high triglyceride levels, low levels of ‘good’ cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high fasting blood sugar. The large-scale study looked at 133,608 participants aged 40 to 69 years, finding that compared to those who slept six to seven hours per day, men who slept less than six hours and men and women who slept more than 10 hours were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, which can increase the risk of diabetes.
Get some exercise
A European study found that even in children, physical exercise can reduce the accumulation of risk factors of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, possibly lowering the risk of young people developing the conditions later in life. However, children who increased their sedentary behavior showed an increase in the accumulation of risk factors. In addition, US researchers found earlier this year that women who had a high level of fitness pre-pregnancy had a 21 percent lower risk of developing gestational diabetes than women with a lower level of fitness.
A large-scale study which looked at 512,891 Chinese adults aged 30 to 79 years found that regular smokers have a 15 to 30 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared with those who have never smoked. Smoking more cigarettes each day, starting smoking at a younger age, and smoking and being obese were also linked to an even greater risk of developing the condition.
Give your social life a boost
According to Dutch researchers, a good social life could help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Social isolation is already known to be associated with type 2 diabetes, with the new study also finding that a lack of participation in clubs or other social groups increased the risk of pre-diabetes in women and the risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, while having more friends, and more friends who lived close by, helped reduce the risk of the condition.