Spotlight on... diabetic diets
A healthy diet is key to keeping your blood sugar levels in check and diabetes under control...
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition caused by a failure of the blood sugar regulation mechanism in the body. This is controlled by a hormone called insulin. Diabetes results when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin or cells of the body become resistant to insulin so blood sugar levels are not controlled as they should be. Without the proper function of insulin, sugar cannot enter muscle or fat cells, causing serious secondary complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, neuropathy and other complications.
There are 2 main Types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes
Insulin dependent, less common and usually develops before the age of 30.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. The exact cause is unknown but some believe that it is an autoimmune response in which the body attacks its own pancreatic cells. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin for life.
Type 2 diabetes
Non-insulin dependent, used to be most common in later life but is becoming increasingly more prevalent in younger generation largely due to an increase in obesity.
In Type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, but either it is not producing enough or the body does not respond to it properly. The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity. In many cases, Type 2 diabetes can be avoided through eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular exercise and often can be controlled in the same way if diagnosed. However, some cases will require medication and your doctor should be the one to determine whether this is necessary.
...a note on Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that affects women during pregnancy, when some women have slightly higher than normal levels of glucose in their blood and their body cannot produce enough insulin to transport it all into the cells.
Symptoms of diabetes can include tiredness, thirst, frequent urination and skin infections. A full list of symptoms can be found at diabetes.co.uk . Diabetes must always be controlled under the management of a doctor. For further advice and information see: diabetes.org.uk
People with diabetes of either Type 1 or 2 have a higher chance of developing a range of health conditions including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, circulation problems, nerve damage and damage to the kidneys and eyes. If you are overweight then losing this excess weight healthily and steadily can have a very positive effect on blood sugar levels and can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It's also particularly important to build up a good exercise routine as this will help the body maintain good blood sugar levels.