What is Diabetes and What are the Causes of it.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic disorders leading to the person having high blood glucose (sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin.
The main symptoms of Diabetes include:
- Polydipsia (Excessive thirst)
- Polyphagia (Excessive Eating)
- Polyuria (Excessive Urination)
- Weight Loss
- Blurred Vision
- Slow Wound Healing
- Genital Itching
What is Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes ?
Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that is not preventable. In Simple terms, it occurs when the immune system turns on itself and destroys cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. As your body isn’t making enough insulin, this means that glucose cannot be moved out of your bloodstream and into your cells – causing high blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes. This form occurs when the body produces enough insulin but is unable to use it effectively (insulin resistance). It is more widespread in people that are older, are overweight or obese, have a family history of diabetes, or have had gestational diabetes (when you are pregnant).
Is Diabetes Curable?
As a nutritionist I am not allowed to say that I can cure any disease! However, my experience tells me that the symptoms of Diabetes Type II can be reversed (traditional medicine would say that the disease has gone into remission) through diet and lifestyle modifications.
Diabetes and the Diet
The diet is one of the most important factors when it comes to diabetes, as it is a condition in which the blood sugar levels increase. Any diet that contains carbohydrates or sugars is directly responsible for increasing the blood sugar level. The following foods are responsible for the development and aggravation of type 2 diabetes so they should be avoided:
- all foods that contain sugar such as jam, jelly, marmalade, chocolates, desserts, ice cream, confectionery, and so forth
- soft drinks and other artificially sweetened cold drinks
- milk and milk products such as cheese and butter
- fruits and fruit juices that have a high sugar content
- oily foods
- alcoholic beverages
Contrary to popular perception, there’s no diabetes diet. However, it’s important to center your diet on these high-fiber, low-fat foods:
- Whole grains
You’ll also need to eat fewer animal products, refined carbohydrates and sweets.
A nutritionist can help you put together a meal plan that fits your health goals, food preferences and lifestyle. Remember the importance of consistency. To keep your blood sugar on an even keel, try to eat the same amount of food with the same proportion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats at the same time every day.
Low glycemic index foods also may be helpful. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food causes a rise in your blood sugar. Foods with a high glycemic index raise your blood sugar quickly. Low glycemic foods may help you achieve a more stable blood sugar. Foods with a low glycemic index typically are foods that are higher in fiber.
Diabetes and Exercise
Everyone needs regular aerobic exercise, and people who have type 2 diabetes are no exception. Get your doctor’s OK before you start an exercise program. Then choose activities you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or biking. What’s most important is making physical activity part of your daily routine. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. Stretching and strength training exercises are important, too. If you haven’t been active for a while, start slowly and build up gradually.
Remember that physical activity lowers blood sugar. Check your blood sugar level before any activity. You might need to eat a snack before exercising to help prevent low blood sugar if you take diabetes medications that lower your blood sugar.
Diabetes and Lifestyle
Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and people that lead a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to suffering from it. This is because they have unexercised muscles and tissues, which can affect the overall action of insulin and reduce its capacity in the utilisation of glucose.
Stress is another important cause of type 2 diabetes as it can cause malfunctioning of the pancreas and thus affect the secretion of insulin. Some common stress factors include injury, surgery, infections, pregnancy, and mental tensions or worries.
Diabetes and Obesity
Obesity is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. This is because being overweight is linked to insulin resistance. If your body fat levels are higher than thirty percent, you have a BMI over 25, or a waist size more than 90cm for women and 100cm for men, you are at high risk.
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