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Claiming back a sweet life: Diabetes
Aslm all

We all know someone who suffers from Diabetes, perhaps you do too.
Around 6% of the South African population suffer from Diabetes with the highest race group being Indian due to a strong genetic predisposition. Globally around 336 million people have the disease and the International diabetes Federation predicts this number to increase to around 552 million by 2030. The rise in urbanisation and obesity has greatly influenced the prevalence of the disease with a big change in diet which is higher in sugar, salt and fats and the lack of exercise. Most of the time, a person suffers with the symptoms of Diabetes but does not get him/herself checked; on average it takes 7 years for a person to be diagnosed.
Symptoms include excessive urination, constant thirst, constant hunger, fatigue, blurred vision and weight loss. Usually, each of these is passed off as a result of something other than Diabetes and it goes on until it becomes a serious concern, then only is the need to be tested important.
Being diagnosed with Diabetes does not mean one must surrender to the chronic disease and believe one’s life is over. Management is the key, mainly focusing on keeping blood sugar levels as normal as possible. Main areas of focus are the eating habits and the physical activity level. The different types of Diabetes have different levels of management, consultation with a medical practitioner is vital.
When it comes to eating habits, it does not just involve what is eaten, but how often meals are taken. Diagnosed with Diabetes means you are urged to eat more frequently; which is a sweet deal! Portion out your meals as opposed to gulping down a large meal or two a day. The main focus would be your choice of carbohydrates; choose slow-release carbohydrates. The good thing about this is that you will feel full for longer and it will send the right messages to your body on insulin release. The range of foods to choose from is vast; the list of non-starchy vegetables is long enough for anyone to have a few favourites. Processed foods are not that great anyway, we can never be sure of what shocking things go in there, so why not eat the way we were meant to eat and enjoy the full flavours and textures of nature. Crisp bright vegetables and fruit, unprocessed grain bread and cool clean water together with good meat, everything in moderation, use food as fuel.
Blood pressure issues and cardiovascular complications are also linked with Diabetes, so adopting a better lifestyle for management of Diabetes will help with the other two as well. The other main factor that contributes to the increase in these complications is being over-weight. Obesity, the apple-shape body and laziness contribute to the Disease getting worse. With the best fuel going into the body, the body is ready for activity. Activities such as walking, running, swimming, cycling are available, but a lot of the time it becomes monotonous and people stop. For half an hour do something that is fun for you and change as you wish; dance in the lounge with the kids, play with the dog, skip, whatever raises your heartbeat and makes you feel alive. Quit smoking, or in more appropriate terms, recover from the addiction to Nicotine; it does nothing but keep you in a crave-relief cycle all the while helping along its chosen disease to progress until it kills you.
Your body is the finest piece of machinery you will ever own, take care of it, listen to it, give it what it needs and you will enjoy a healthier sweeter life.

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