With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month in the U.S., you can imagine there’s a slew of awareness campaigns and fundraising events that go on throughout the month. This effort has taken on more international importance in recent years, with the growth of global observances of World Diabetes Day that takes place annually on November 14, the date marking the birthday of insulin co-discoverer Dr. Frederick Banting.
In our past Zoom meeting on health matters, Dr Kennedy Ouma, a Family Physician af LifeCare Hospital Bungoma, shared with us the key notes on Diabetes.
Dr. Ouma also mentioned the three main common types of diabetes namely type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
In type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.
Type 2 Diabetes
In type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born.
Let’s Deal With Type 2 Diabetes
As Dr. Ouma stated, this type of Diabetes happens because your body does not make enough insulin, or it does not use insulin well (this is called insulin resistance). If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you might be able to prevent or delay developing it.
- Having prediabetes, which means you have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes
- Being overweight or having obesity
- Being age 45 or older
- A family history of diabetes
- Being African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander
- Having high blood pressure
- Having a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol or a high level of triglycerides
- A history of diabetes in pregnancy
- Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more
- An inactive lifestyle
- A history of heart disease or stroke
- Having depression
- Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Having acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition in which your skin becomes dark and thick, especially around your neck or armpits
How can one keep away the type 2 diabetes?
If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay getting it. Most of the things that you need to do involve having a healthier lifestyle. Some of the things to observe include:
Losing weight and keeping it off: Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.
Following a healthy eating plan: It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. Dr. Ouma advises that your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar.
You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat, and avoid processed meats.
Get regular exercise: Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. At least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week with the help of your health care professional is advisable, he says. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.
Avoid smoking: Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.
Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.
Additionally, Dr. Ouma expounds that patients should find a good hospital that gives maximum care. The hospital should be in a position to not only treat or to regulate but also ensure that the condition does not occur later on.
At LifeCare hospital for example, diebetic patients are guided with a proper nutrition menu so that dangerous foods are strictly kept away from the patients. Hundreds of patients have benefited from this recommendation at LifeCare.