Diabetes: The Silent Killer

Diabetes: The Silent Killer

10 November 2020

What is something that’s become as South African as rugby or sunshine? Unfortunately, the answer is diabetes.

Look at the person to your left and then to your right on your next zoom call. One of the three of you have prediabetes. Over 3 million people in South Africa (6% of the population) suffer from diabetes and according to Stats SA is the second most common cause of death in the country. In addition to this, 5 million people are estimated to have prediabetes. Fact is, in just a generation, diabetes has gone from a rarity to an epidemic.

So, what is prediabetes? The World Health Organisation considers blood glucose levels of below 5.5mmol/l to be normal. Those of 7mmol/l and above are considered diabetic. Between these two cut-off points lies the prediabetic range: 5.5 to 7mmol/l.

Diabetes causes blood sugar levels to become higher than normal and leads to a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream. And, if not controlled, high amounts of sugar in the blood will damage tiny blood vessels and nerves and cause widespread damage in the body. It negatively affects the cardiovascular system, circulation, eyesight and kidney function. Diabetes is called the silent killer as people with Type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms at first.

The good news? If you have prediabetes you can make lifestyle changes and bring blood sugar levels back to the normal range. This will dramatically reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

But, what if you already have Type 2 diabetes? Can it be reversed? The short answer is: Yes. Most cases of diabetes are lifestyle-related. To reverse this disease, you should be willing to take personal responsibility for your own health.

Here’s how to turn prediabetes around, or in fact, reverse Type 2 diabetes:

  • Lose weight if you need to. Excess fat, especially around the tummy area often leads to diabetes. Why? Fat builds up deep in the abdomen raises the risk of insulin resistance.
  • Change your diet. Eating the right kind of food – and the right amount – can have a huge impact on your blood sugar levels. Eat more low fat, high fibre foods such as nuts, avocado, whole wheat bread, eggs and beans. Cut out sugary foods, junk food and refined carbs.
  • Stop smoking. People who smoke have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • Drink more water. Avoid sugary drinks and juices. Water assists in controlling blood sugar levels.
  • Maximize Vitamin D intake to improve insulin response. Eat more tuna, cheese, eggs, cod liver oil, etc.
  • Get active to improve blood glucose control. Move your body every day, even a 30-minute walk around the block can make a huge difference.

Diabetes has become known as the tsunami of the 21st century, killing more people worldwide than AIDS and cancer combined. This disease is a risk factor for Covid-19 and the fact that a third of our population has prediabetes means that we are at greater risk of more serious Covid-19 cases.

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day to raise awareness and to educate people about the devastating complications caused by this disease.

Don’t become another statistic. Make a healthy change in your life today.

Source: meritushealth.com, news24.com, sweetlife.org.za, friendsdiaper.in, lukecountinho.com, sybridmd.com, blog.myfitnesspal.com, blog.healthians.com, blogschihealth.com, noviquehealth.com, live.fundza.mobi

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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