The Diabetes Pandemic: Information, Symptoms and Preventative Measures
Diabetes, a disease so common today that we all know someone affected by it. In fact, every 3 minutes another Canadian is diagnosed with diabetes and 29% of people in Canada are either living with diabetes or prediabetes. The scary part? That percentage is expected to rise to 33% by 2025 if current trends continue.
What is Diabetes? Diabetes is a disease in which your body either cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose (also called blood sugar) from food get into your cells to be used for energy. But when your glucose, is too high, it can be detrimental to your health and cause other serious complications like heart disease, kidney damage, blindness, and more.
Different types of diabetes:
Type 1: Usually diagnosed in children and adolescents, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are not able to produce their own insulin.
Type 2: The most common diagnosis, which usually develops in adulthood, occurs when the body cannot properly use the insulin or the body is not able to produce enough insulin.
Gestational: Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy, and is usually temporary.
Pre-diabetes: Not quiet diabetes yet but is still a big deal. Prediabetes is when the blood sugar levels in the body are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
What to look out for? Early signs and symptoms of diabetes:
Always feeling hungry
Feeling very tired
Slow healing cuts and wounds
Tingling, numbness, or pain in hands and feet
Patches of dark skin
Weight loss or weight gain
If you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms, speak to your doctor. Pharmacological interventions have been proven successful and even necessary to stabilize diabetes but have done little to stop or prevent it. Although there is no cure for diabetes, many studies have shown that by adopting healthy lifestyle changes some people have been able to successfully reverse or prevent this deadly disease!
Here are some healthy lifestyle tips that you can adopt today:
1. Diet It’s no secret by now that food is medicine and the choices we make daily to provide us with the nutrients and fuel our bodies need play a role in our overall health and wellbeing. When trying to reverse diabetes, or prevent it all together, the first step is definitely getting your diet in check. Consider making the following changes:
Cut sugar and refined carbs and chose whole grains and whole grain products instead
Replace sugar loaded fruit juices and sodas with water – make water your primary drink choice. Coffee and tea are also good calorie-free substitutes
Choose healthy fats – healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil, avocados, whole eggs, fatty fish, nuts, seeds can help ward off type 2 diabetes
Eat a high-fiber diet – beans, lentils, pees, barley, oatmeal, broccoli and berries are great sources of fiber which help slow the rise in blood sugar following a meal
Minimize processed foods – often high in sugar, fat and empty calories
2. Get moving Exercise helps keep your body at a healthy weight. Getting at least 30 minutes a day of aerobic exercise like walking, running, hiking, biking, swimming or even dancing can protect against obesity and reduce the risk of diabetes.
3. Quit Smoking On top of the many health risks of smoking, smoking increases the inflammation in the body and can cause insulin resistance.