Fitness Friday: Diabetes — Disease or chronic condition?

Sara Drawwater
22 November 2013
This month’s Fitness Friday blog was submitted by

This month’s Fitness Friday blog was submitted by Food Lover’s Market.

What is diabetes?Diabetes mellitus is a condition characterised by raised blood glucose due to the body’s inability to use blood glucose for energy. There are two known types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2.

Editors note: Food Lover’s Market has been nominated as a #TopZedBrand. If you like what they do, vote and help them win!

Vote here!

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas no longer makes insulin and therefore glucose from the blood vessels cannot enter the cells. Glucose is used for energy by the cells in the body. In Type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use insulin correctly.

What causes diabetes?Type 1 diabetes is caused by “genes” (you are born with the chance of developing diabetes and unknown factors trigger the onset of the disease).

Type 2 diabetes is caused by “genes” + lifestyle factors (overweight and inactivity). Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks has diabetes, he revealed on a US talk show. “My doctor said, ‘Look, if you can weigh as much as you weighed in high school, you’ll essentially be completely healthy. You will not have Type 2 diabetes,’” Hanks said.

Type 2 diabetes is progressive. After being diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with tablets. However over time, the body gradually produces less and less insulin, and eventually tablets may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels under control. Changing to insulin injections to get blood glucose levels down is the right thing to do. This does not mean that you are doing something wrong or that your diabetes is “bad”. It only means that your body is not making enough insulin anymore.

Managing diabetes properly can prevent and/or delay diabetes complications. Uncontrolled diabetes and diabetes complications causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Symptoms of diabetesThe following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes are: frequent urinating, feeling very thirsty and hungry, extremely tired, blurry vision and slow healing of cuts and bruises. Other symptoms include weight loss even though you are eating more (type 1), and tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2).

How to manage diabetesA healthy eating plan for people with diabetes is generally similar to a healthy eating plan for anyone else — low in fat, with whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit, and moderate salt and sugar. Diabetic and “dietetic” foods generally do not offer any special benefits and may still raise blood glucose levels. They are also usually more expensive.

Making Healthy Food ChoicesEat lots of vegetables and fruits. Try picking from the rainbow of colors available to maximize variety.

  • Eat non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, carrots, broccoli or green beans with meals.
  • Include dried beans (like kidney or pinto beans) and lentils into your meals.
  • Include fish in your meals 2–3 times a week.
  • Choose lean meats and remove visible fat.
  • Choose water, unsweetened tea, coffee and artificially sweetened drinks, instead of regular soda, fruit juice, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks.
  • Cook without oil or fat, or choose liquid oils for cooking instead of solid fats that can be high in saturated and trans fats.
  • Watch your portion sizes. Eating too much of even healthful foods can lead to weight gain.
  • Avoid snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes, and full-fat ice cream high in kilojoules.

References:1. American Diabetes Association — Diabetes — Basics2. American Diabetes Association — Diabetes myths3. American Diabetes Association — Diabetes basics symptoms4. American Diabetes Association — Making healthy food choices

This Fitness Friday blog was submitted by Food Lover’s Market. You can visit their webpage, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

If you missed previous Fitness Friday blogs, you can view them here.