The Danger of

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					          inspiration • health

              The Danger of
                           Right now, a mind-boggling 285 million people worldwide have
                           diabetes mellitus, according to the International Diabetes
                           Federation (IDF). And in developing countries like SA, the
                           World Health Organisation predicts that the number of people
                           with the condition will increase by a massive 150% by 2025

2   DESTINY   march 2010
                                                                                                                                     inspiration • health
                                                                                                                                                     wri t t en by lynne gidish

                                         ype 2 diabetes (which affects        between 3,9 and 6,0mmol/L. IGT refers
                                         90-95% of diabetes suffer-
                                         ers) was once the sole domain
                                                                              to a level of blood glucose which is higher
                                                                              than normal, but not high enough to be
                                                                                                                             sa and diaBeTes
                                         of the over-40s. Nowadays,           classified as diabetes. People with IGT        The recent National Heart Awareness
                              though, more and more young adults,             have a greater risk of developing Type 2       Drive hosted by the Netcare hospital
                              adolescents and even children are devel-        diabetes and cardiovascular disease.           group and Medicross Family Medical and
                              oping the disease because of our stress-        Diabetes during pregnancy: Gestational         Dental Centres throughout SA offered
                              ful, sedentary, fast-food lifestyles. Certain   diabetes develops in 2-5% of all pregnan-      interesting insights into the general health
                              drugs and infections can also unmask            cies, but usually disappears when the          and well-being of our nation. As part of
                              the condition.                                  pregnancy’s over. If you’ve had gesta-         the campaign, free glucose, cholesterol,
                                While diabetes can be controlled, it          tional diabetes or given birth to a large      blood pressure (hypertension) and body
                              can’t be cured. However, left untreat-          baby (4kg or more), there’s a higher risk      mass index screenings were undertaken.
                              ed, it can cause blindness, heart attack,       of your developing Type 2 diabetes at a        The results showed that 26,3% of people
                              kidney failure, stroke and gangrene which       later stage.                                   screened were at risk of diabetes and
                              requires amputation. It can also be fatal,         If any of the above risk factors apply      heart disease. Although there are no offi-
                              and currently claims 4 million lives every      to you, now’s the time to make lifestyle       cial statistics for people living with diabe-
                              year. Most tragic of all, though, is the fact   changes which could save your life.            tes in our country, Michael Brown, Clinical
                              that up to 80% of Type 2 diabetes cases can     MaNaGiNG diabetes                              Manager of the Centre for Diabetes and
                              be prevented by making simple lifestyle         If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes,        Endocrinology in Johannesburg, believes
                              changes: healthy eating, regular exercise       commitment to careful management and           that current estimates of 2-4 million are
                              and reducing high stress levels.                effective treatment will help you live a       possibly under the mark, and that – like
                              What is diabetes?                               long, normal, highly productive life.          the rest of the world – we’re dealing with
                              In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops          • Get educated: Understanding diabetes         an epidemic.
                              producing insulin (the hormone that             is essential for making healthy lifestyle
                              regulates blood glucose). In Type 2             choices. Join your local branch of             UsefUL coNtacts
                              diabetes, it only produces an insufficient      Diabetes SA and attend courses in              •	 Diabetes	SA	will	put	you	in	touch	with	
                              amount for the body to function.                diabetes self-management.                        a nurse educator or diabetes doctor
                                  Type 2 diabetes develops over a long        • Make lifestyle changes:                        in your area. Tel: 011 886 3721 or visit:
                              period, with symptoms which typically           Eat healthily: How much you eat, and   
                              include fatigue, excessive thirst, frequent     when, is as important as what you eat.         •	 The	Centre	for	Diabetes	and	Endocrinol-
                              urination and poor blood circulation.           The crucial thing is to regulate your blood      ogy provides managed diabetes care
                              However, some people experience no              glucose levels. A registered dietician will      for members of many medical aids.
                              symptoms at all and their condition’s           help you work out a meal plan suitable to        For further information, visit:
                              only detected after a routine blood test.       your lifestyle, needs and budget.      
                              That’s why a routine laboratory fasting         Exercise regularly: This is vital in order     •	 The	Novo	Nordisk	Changing	Diabetes	
                              blood glucose test should be prioritised on     to lower blood glucose, lose weight and          Bus raises awareness in communities
                              your regular health check calendar.             reduce stress.                                   and offers free diabetes screenings
                              What are the risk factors?                      Manage your weight with the help of a            by trained diabetes educators, as well
                              Age: The older you are, the greater your        dietician – it’s crucial in controlling          as details of health clinics in various
                              risk of diabetes.                               Type 2 diabetes.                                 regions where you can receive proper
                              Obesity: Over 80% of people with Type 2         Quit smoking: It’s particularly dangerous if     care. For further information, contact
                              diabetes are seriously overweight, which        you’re living with diabetes.                     Shelley on tel: 0800 116 941,
                              has given rise to the buzzword “diabesity”.     Reduce stress levels: Try meditation, yoga,      email: or visit:
                              The more overweight you are, the greater        Tai Chi or breathing exercises.        
                              your risk.                                      • Medication may be required at some           •	 American	Diabetes	Association	–	visit:	

                              Family history: You’re more at risk             stage to help your body make or use    
                              if there’s a history of diabetes in your        insulin more effectively. If you need to                                                    	
                                                                                                                             •	 International	Diabetes	Federation	–	visit:	
                              family. The closer the relative, the greater    give yourself daily insulin injections,
                              your risk.                                      there are now pre-loaded, measured             •	 World	Diabetes	Day	–	visit:	
                              Physical inactivity: The less exercise          syringes that do the injecting for you 
                              you do, the greater your chances of deve-       quickly and painlessly. Simply position        •	
                              loping diabetes.                                the syringe against your skin and push           is an interactive website packed with
                              Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): A             a button. Ask your local pharmacy for            information about diabetes from
                              healthy person’s blood glucose is usually       more details.                                    around the globe.       D

                                                                                                                                        march 2010 DESTINY 3

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