Awareness about Diabetes….
My vice has always been eating, especially sugary things. I don’t like alcohol, I don’t smoke, I don’t even drink tea, or coffee – I know, weird right? I love chocolate, sweets, and crisps (SO yummy!). But just as alcohol can affect your liver, and smoking can affect your lungs, I was always worried that diabetes was in my future.
We don’t have a history of diabetes in my family, but nevertheless I was always concerned that my love of sugar could potentially give me the disease. So that’s why over the past few years I have been decreasing the amount of sugar I allow myself – I’m not the teenager anymore who can eat whatever she wants and get away with it – (though sometimes I wish I was).
Studies have shown that eating too much sugary food can definitely increase your risk of diabetes but sugar alone isn’t necessarily enough to cause the disease – which makes me feel a whole lot better!
Before researching this blog, I knew that there were two types of diabetes; and that it meant that the right amount of insulin wasn’t being produced to control blood sugar levels. But that’s where my basic knowledge ended!
The best description of the disease I found was on the Diabetes Ireland website which describe the components of it in simple terms; “Insulin acts like a key to open the doors into your cells, letting sugar (glucose) in. In diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin to enable all the sugar in your blood to get into your muscle and other cells to produce energy. If sugar can’t get into the cells to be used, it builds up in the bloodstream.”
There are two types of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2. There are differences between these two types, though they still come under the same umbrella term. Firstly, Type 1 usually occurs in in childhood or early adult life, and the treatment is always insulin injections. While Type 2 typically develops slowly throughout adulthood, and can sometimes be treated with exercise and diet, in most cases anti diabetic medicine and/or insulin injections would be required.
There are certain signs that everyone should look out for to make sure you don’t have Type 2 diabetes or are gradually developing it. Frequent urination, increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, increased hunger, foot pain and numbness, or blurred vision are some of the most common signs that you could potentially have Type 2 diabetes. There are some groups of people that are at an increased risk of being diagnosed, especially if it runs in your family. If you are overweight; have heart disease; high blood pleasure; your “good” cholesterol is low or your blood sugar is above normal; you are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Even not exercising on a regular basis can increase your risk.
One of the biggest misconception about diabetes – which I believed till quite recently – is that people who have it can’t eat sugar, especially sweets, chocolate and desserts – (absolute nightmare!). However if eaten in moderation as part of a healthy diet, and combined with exercise, these sugary (and yummy!) treats can be eaten by people with diabetes, which is a weight off my mind!
Writing this blog has opened my eyes to the world of diabetes, I believed many myths about the diseases that were simply not true. I feel informed about exactly what diabetes entails, and am adjusting my lifestyle to (hopefully) decrease the chances of me being diagnosed with it. Though, within reason, we all need that chocolate bar or a few Haribos for a treat sometimes… or every day, haha.
But like with many aspects of our lives, it’s about having them treats in moderation and trying to live as healthy as you can the majority of the time, whether you have diabetes or not.
Thanks so much for reading,
What is diabetes? – Diabetes Ireland : Diabetes Ireland. 2016. What is diabetes? – Diabetes Ireland : Diabetes Ireland. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.diabetes.ie/about-us/what-is-diabetes/. [Accessed 05 January 2016].