November is National Diabetes Month. This is a time when communities across the globe are teaming up to create awareness of diabetes. This year’s focus is prediabetes and preventing diabetes. Prediabetes is a serious health condition where blood levels are higher than what’s normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes.
As of today, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has released new figures showing that 537 million adults are now living with diabetes worldwide, 1 in 10 adults are living with diabetes and almost half of it are undiagnosed. This is another pandemic which needs to be addressed.
Globally, more than 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This is driven by a lot of factors and key contributors which include urbanization, decreasing levels of physical activity, an aging population, and an increased rate of overweight and obesity. In the Philippines, 1 in 14 Filipino adults live with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable and early diagnosis and access to proper care for all diabetes types can avoid or delay the complications in people living with the disease.
How do you get diabetes?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes happens when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. It also happens when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Types of Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes – Also known as insulin-dependent, juvenile, or childhood-onset. According to the US CDC, its causes can be from an autoimmune reaction where the “body attacks itself by mistake” and attacks your body by mistake. It’s usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. When someone has this, they need to take insulin daily to survive. Until now, no one knows how this can be prevented.
Type 2 Diabetes – With this type of diabetes, the body does not use insulin well and cannot keep the blood sugar at normal levels. Approximately 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2 and this develops over years and is usually diagnosed in adults. There may not be noticeable symptoms so it’s important to get tested if you’re at risk. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by adopting a healthy lifestyle change like losing weight, being active, and eating healthy food.
Gestational Diabetes – This type of diabetes develops in women who never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems. This usually goes away after birth but increases your risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life. The baby is also more likely to suffer obesity as a child or teen and could also develop into type 2 diabetes later on.
Prediabetes – With prediabetes, the blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes raises the risks for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. If you have diabetes, the Chinese General Hospital Medical Center has a Diabetes Center that has an extensive holistic program for diabetes which includes support groups, programs, counseling, and a diabetic foot department.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
- Frequent or excessive excretion of urine (polyuria);
- Being thirsty all the time (polydipsia);
- Unexplained weight loss;
- Blood sugar level higher than 200mg/dl;
- Fasting plasma glucose level of more than 126mg/dl
Other symptoms include constant hunger, vision changes, and fatigue that might suddenly occur in people with diabetes.
Genetics, age, and family history contributes to the likelihood of becoming diabetic, but certain behaviors also contribute such as:
- Children of diabetics;
- Obese people;
- People with hypertension;
- People with high cholesterol levels;
- People with sedentary lifestyles
How can you cope or manage diabetes?
Drug therapy isn’t the only way to control diabetes. You have the power to manage your symptoms more than you’ll ever know. There are habits that can help you manage diabetes. Here are 5 easy ways you can manage or control diabetes:
1. Diet is important.
Having diabetes means you must manage your blood sugar, and it means eating a healthy diet that’s not high in saturated fat or sugar. These are some of the best foods for diabetes control and are great to start with:
- Omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna
- Plenty of fiber and good carbohydrates from fruits, grains, legumes and veggies
- Mono and polyunsaturated fats from avocado, nuts and some oils
2. Increase mobility.
The human body is designed to move, so having a sedentary life sets the stage for a lot of problems. When you have diabetes, it compounds your symptoms. Getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day can help lower your weight, risk of heart disease, stress levels, and blood sugar.
3. Sleep better.
Sleeping regenerates your body and restores itself. When you don’t get enough sleep, the body cannot function properly. Having diabetes adds concerns because a long-term lack of sleep makes your hormones crazy. Your body produces less insulin and produces higher levels of cortisol (stress hormones) which interferes with the insulin’s function. This is a bad combination for diabetics.
When you lack sleep, you lack satisfaction from eating which makes you eat more and may crave sugar and carbs. This could lead to weight gain and increase your diabetes symptoms.
4. Quit smoking.
In general, smoking is bad. But if you have diabetes, smoking puts you in serious danger. Smokers have a 30%-40% higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes than those who don’t. If you already have diabetes, smoking prevents your body from effectively responding to insulin treatments.
5. Calm down.
Stress is diabetes’ enemy. Too much stress makes your heart race, blood pressure spike, and your blood sugar gets out of control. Manage stress with practices like praying, meditation, support groups, or talking to a friend or a therapist can help lower stress and improve your diabetes symptoms.
Living with diabetes is manageable. Self-management practices are meant to complement your doctor’s recommendations. The Chinese General Hospital Medical Center – Diabetes Center provides holistic practices to help manage stress, anxiety and mental well-being of the patient.
Whether you want to get checked for diabetes or need help to manage your symptoms, you can always visit us and talk to one of our medical professionals. Tel. no: (02) 8711-4141 local 536.
The Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center is always here to provide guidance and support to our patients. Get vaccinated now and together we can help keep the numbers down and protect ourselves and our loved ones from getting sick. If you think you might be infected and need a swab test, please call our hotline at (02) 8711-4141 local 372/373/379 or send us an SMS / Viber message at +639955442347.