Do you have di­a­betes?

The Manica Post - - Religion/health - Dr Tendai Zuze

TYPE 2 di­a­betes is a chronic con­di­tion that af­fects the way your body metabolises su­gar (glu­cose), your body’s main source of fuel. With type 2 di­a­betes, your body ei­ther re­sists the ef­fects of in­sulin — a hor­mone that reg­u­lates the move­ment of su­gar into your cells — or doesn’t pro­duce enough in­sulin to main­tain a nor­mal glu­cose level. Un­treated, type 2 di­a­betes can be life-threat­en­ing.

More com­mon in adults, type 2 di­a­betes in­creas­ingly af­fects chil­dren as child­hood obe­sity in­creases. There’s no cure for type 2 di­a­betes, but you can man­age the con­di­tion by eat­ing well, ex­er­cis­ing and main­tain­ing a healthy weight. If diet and ex­er­cise don’t con­trol your blood su­gar, you may need di­a­betes med­i­ca­tions or in­sulin ther­apy.

Bot­tom of Form

Re­searchers don’t fully un­der­stand why some peo­ple de­velop type 2 di­a­betes and oth­ers don’t. It’s clear, how­ever, that cer­tain fac­tors in­crease the risk, in­clud­ing:

◆ Weight. Be­ing over­weight is a pri­mary risk fac­tor for type 2 di­a­betes. The more fatty tis­sue you have, the more re­sis­tant your cells be­come to in­sulin.

◆ Fat dis­tri­bu­tion. If your body stores fat pri­mar­ily in your ab­domen, your risk of di­a­betes is greater than if your body stores fat else­where, such as your hips and thighs.

◆ In­ac­tiv­ity. The less ac­tive you are, the greater your risk of dia- betes. Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity helps you con­trol your weight, uses up glu­cose as en­ergy and makes your cells more sen­si­tive to in­sulin.

◆ Fam­ily his­tory. The risk of type 2 di­a­betes in­creases if your par­ent or sib­ling has di­a­betes.

◆ Race. Al­though it’s un­clear why, peo­ple of cer­tain races — in­clud­ing blacks and Asians — are more likely to de­velop di­a­betes than whites are.

◆ Age. The risk of di­a­betes in­creases as you get older, es­pe­cially af­ter age 45. That’s prob­a­bly be­cause peo­ple tend to ex­er­cise less, lose mus­cle mass and gain weight as they age. But di­a­betes is also in­creas­ing dra­mat­i­cally among chil­dren, ado­les­cents and younger adults.

◆ Pre­di­a­betes. Pre­di­a­betes is a con­di­tion in which your blood su­gar level is higher than nor­mal, but not high enough to be clas­si­fied as di­a­betes. Left un­treated, pre­di­a­betes of­ten pro­gresses to type 2 di­a­betes.

◆ Ges­ta­tional di­a­betes. If you de­vel­oped ges­ta­tional di­a­betes when you were preg­nant, your risk of later de­vel­op­ing di­a­betes in­creases. If you gave birth to a baby weigh­ing more than 4 kilo­grams, you’re also at risk of type 2 di­a­betes.

Bot­tom of Form

Di­a­betes symp­toms may de­velop slowly. In fact, you can have di­a­betes for years and not even know it. The fol­low­ing are com­mon signs and symp­toms of di­a­betes:

◆ In­creased thirst and fre­quent uri­na­tion. Ex­cess su­gar build­ing up in your blood­stream causes fluid to be pulled from the tis­sues. This may leave you thirsty. As a re­sult, you may drink — and uri­nate — more than usual.

◆ In­creased hunger. With­out enough in­sulin to move su­gar into your cells, your mus­cles and or­gans be­come de­pleted of en­ergy. This trig­gers in­tense hunger.

◆ Weight loss. De­spite eat­ing more than usual to re­lieve hunger, you may lose weight. With­out the abil­ity to me­tab­o­lize glu­cose, the body uses al­ter­na­tive fu­els stored in mus­cle and fat. Calo­ries are lost as ex­cess glu­cose is re­leased in the urine.

◆ Fa­tigue. If your cells are de­prived of su­gar, you may be­come tired and ir­ri­ta­ble.

◆ Blurred vi­sion. If your blood su­gar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may af­fect your abil­ity to fo­cus clearly.

◆ Slow-heal­ing sores or fre­quent in­fec­tions. Type 2 di­a­betes af­fects your abil­ity to heal and re­sist in­fec­tions.

◆ Ar­eas of dark­ened skin. Some peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes have patches of dark, vel­vety skin in the folds and creases of their bod­ies — usu­ally in the armpits and neck. This con­di­tion, called acan­tho­sis ni­gri­cans, may be a sign of in­sulin re­sis­tance and di­a­betes.

If you think you might have di­a­betes please con­sult your doc­tor.

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