Do you know about Diabetes?
Date: Thursday, 27 September 2018. -
Blog, Health & Safety
Diabetes is a chronic illness, which causes a person’s blood glucose level to become too high. Sadly, more people than ever are suffering from diabetes, with over 4.6 million people living with this condition in the UK. While it is possible to live a normal life after a diabetes diagnosis, without the right treatment and care, there can be many health complications.
What causes diabetes?
As previously stated, diabetes is caused by high blood glucose levels, but there are two different types to look out for.
Type 1: Where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, resulting in the level of glucose in your blood becoming too high. Once a diagnosis has been given, patients must give themselves daily injections to control their glucose levels.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include feeling very thirsty, urinating more frequently than usual, extreme fatigue, losing weight without trying, blurred vision and cuts/grazes that won’t heal.
Type 2: The most common type; it is where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. Around 90% of diabetes cases are type 2. Many people living with type 2 diabetes do not experience any symptoms, or do not notice them, meaning that some people can go up to 10 years without being diagnosed.
If you do notice any of the following symptoms, do not hesitate to visit your doctor, as complications associated with diabetes include damage to your heart, eyes, feet and kidneys. Feeling extremely tired, thirsty and frequently contracting infections like thrush are typical symptoms that you should look out for.
Type 2 has been linked with being overweight, but with a healthy diet and more active lifestyle, diabetes can be managed. Medication may also be required to maintain a safe glucose level.
Hypoglycaemia is related to diabetes and occurs when your blood glucose level is too low. Taking too much insulin can cause hypoglycaemia, which is why people who have diabetes are often victims of this. This can also happen if meals are delayed or not enough carbohydrates are eaten to be broken down into glucose. Hypoglycaemia can be easily treated by consuming 15 to 20 grams of a fast-acting carbohydrate, such as glucose tablets or fruit juice.
Living with diabetes
It is possible to live a normal life with diabetes, however, there are a few small adjustments that you must make to stay healthy.
Exercise and sports can be beneficial to help reduce glucose spikes after meals and for your overall general health. However, it is important to be mindful that exercise lowers your blood sugar, which can lead to Hypoglycaemia. This can be prevented through eating carbohydrates before, during and after exercise and keeping an eye on your glucose level
Travelling is also possible when you live with diabetes, but there are a few things that you should remember before taking off. Make sure that you invest in travel insurance that covers your diabetes, get a letter from your GP about taking your insulin on the plane and adjust to the time zones in the location you are heading to.
If you’re planning to go to university and have been diagnosed with diabetes, then do not worry, as you can still have an enjoyable experience like everyone else. We would suggest making your flatmates and any residential advisors (if you’re living in halls) aware of your condition.
In addition to this, testing your glucose more often is advised, as exam stress and a bigger workload can affect your blood sugar levels.
Alcohol is acceptable in moderation, as long as carbohydrates are consumed beforehand, to avoid Hypoglycaemia.
Although being told that you have diabetes may seem like the end of the world, with these simple changes, you can still live an ordinary life and do the same things as everybody else.
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