Prevention and awareness: allies for controlling blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a chronic and irreversible disease of the metabolism that is triggered when the pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin or when the body cannot process insulin efficiently.
Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for transferring the glucose from food to cells, where it becomes a main source of energy for the body. When this does not function normally, sugar accumulates in the blood until it reaches levels that are dangerous to your health, cells become dehydrated, and the body is left without fuel.
This medical condition is one of the four noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) that require priority attention due to how widespread it is. In addressing this, the World Health Organization (WHO) and its Diabetes Programme is focusing its efforts on ways to “…prevent diabetes whenever possible and, where not possible, to minimize complications and maximize quality of life.”
422 million people in the world suffer from diabetes and only half receive a diagnosis.
Types of diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) cannot be prevented. It is caused by a genetic predisposition that permanently and irreversibly destroys the cells responsible for producing insulin.
With Type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce insulin, but cannot use it efficiently. At least 90% of diabetes patients have this type of diabetes whose causes are associated with physical inactivity, being overweight and poor eating habits.
Patients can live normal, long and healthy lives with both types of diabetes.
This largely depends, however, on the patient’s commitment to their wellbeing and to their future.
Living with diabetes
- Treatment begins with an early diagnosis and by understanding that once you
are diagnosed, there is no way back. Proper treatment should include:
- Monitoring blood sugar levels
- Injecting or taking insulin if needed, following your doctor’s instructions
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Not smoking
- Controlling your blood pressure
- Visiting your medical specialist regularly
The greatest concern is that while only adults used to develop diabetes type 2, the rise in the consumption of fast food, soft drinks and foods high in sugar has increased the development of this condition among children. It is important for parents and educators to be become more aware of this issue and to pass on healthy eating habits to their children in addition to an active, sports-oriented lifestyle.
In 2030 diabetes will be the seventh cause of death in the world.
1.5 million people died from diabetes in 2012.