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Diabetes is a condition characterized by high blood sugar levels ( hyperglycemia). Normally after a meal digestion takes place and glucose is released into the blood. If not absorbed into the cells it accumulates in the blood raising blood sugar levels. The hormone insulin is the one responsible for lowering glucose levels in the blood by enhancing it’s uptake by the cells from the blood.
Causes of diabetes
High blood sugar levels will occur if
a) The body doesn’t produce enough insulin
B) The body completely releases no insulin
C) Body’s inability to use the produced insulin
Types of diabetes
Diabetes Type 1
This is a type of diabetes common among children. It results from the body’s inability to produce the hormone insulin. With this type the patient will have to depend on insulin for survival.
Diabetes type 2
This is common among the elderly, from 30 years and above. It occurs as a result of the body not being able to use the available Insulin or the body not producing enough insulin
This occurs during pregnancy where mothers presents with high blood sugar levels but fall back to
normal immediately after delivery.
The person presents with high blood sugar levels than normal but not too high to be diagnosed as
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Risk factors to developing diabetes
• Family history of diabetes
• Overweight and obesity
• High blood pressure
• Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise )
Common signs and symptoms of diabetes
*Poor healing of wounds
*Numbness and tingling of toes
The only way to rule out diagnosis is by carrying out a lab test of the blood sample.
Dietary management of diabetes
-Take Carbohydrates a quarter of your plate or the size of your closed fists. Avoid highly refined
carbohydrates as they are low in fiber. Use whole grain cereals or flour and foods high in amylase as its difficult to digest
-Take proteins a quarter your plate or size of the palm of your hand and same thickness as your little finger. Take animal protein in moderation as its high in cholesterol, however some plant protein eg dried beans contain some starch hence your starch section should be filled with less when used.
-Restrict fats, recommended to use unsaturated fats(oils). Use fats size of the tip of your thumb. Take low cholesterol diet as high cholesterol levels bring heart disease and issues of overweight.
-Take plenty of fresh vegetables half your plate or as much as you can hold in both hands as they are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber.
Avoid highly refined foods as they cause inflammation e.g processed red meat
-Restrict sugary foods eg sweets, juices among others as they increase your blood sugars further
-Have small frequent meals at regular timing to ensure steady release of glucose into the blood. Staying without food and taking a bulk one instead would result to abrupt release of glucose and rise your blood sugars
-Consume foods of low glycemic index (rate at which glucose is release following consumption of food)
.Adding acid to a meal lowers the glycemic index. eg lemon juice. Too much cooking of food increases the glycemic index hence should be avoided
-Restrict sodium intake(take salt in moderation) to prevent Hypertension
-If overweight or obese work on weight loss to attain a BMI of 18.5-24.9
-Carry out some physical activities to help in weight management, burning of cholesterol and to increase your insulin sensitivity to cells
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• Observe general body hygiene and foot care as any wounds occurring would take long to heal
• Carry something ( easy to absorb carbohydrates) glucose, juice or sugar syrup in case of insulin shock-
Complications of diabetes
Hyperglycemia- high blood sugar levels
Hypoglycemia -low blood sugar levels
Keton bodies- due to altered mechanism of protein and fat breakdown.
• Kidney damage (nephropathy)- the fine vessels get damaged and kidney may stop functioning
• Eye damage (retinopathy) which can lead to blindness
*Nerve damage (neuropathy) which results in numbness and tingling sensation starting from toes
*Foot loss- if proper care is not taken any bruises results to wounds that heal slowly and may
necessitate the leg been amputated.
• Heart problems – heart attack, stroke or blockage of blood vessels (atherosclerosis)