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Friday, June 24, 2011

So what is diabetes?

Diabetes prevents your body from turning your food into energy. Instead glucose stays in your bloodstream, and left untreated can result in a range of complications.

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If you have recently been diagnosed as diabetic, don't worry. With proper treatment and care, you will lead a normal and happy life. You may need to make a few changes in your lifestyle - but then, if you are like me, you probably had plans to do that anyway and just never got round to it.

Now is the time to kick yourself into action. You cannot leave this up to your doctor alone - it needs you to take responsibility for your own treatment, and that starts with understanding what you are dealing with.

There are three types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes, (sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes) is usually found in young children and teenagers, but can also occur later in life.

In Type 1 Diabetes, your body is not producing insulin, a hormone needed to convert blood sugar into energy. Normally this hormone is produced by cells in your pancreas, but for some reason this is not happening as it should.

As the glucose in your blood can't be converted into energy and absorbed by your cells, it builds up causing high blood sugar.

Left untreated, high blood sugar can cause serious long-term health problems.

The normal treatment for people with type 1 diabetes is daily injections of insulin which keeps the blood sugar level within normal ranges.

Finding out you have diabetes can be upsetting, but it should not prevent you from living a long and happy life.

If you think this condition will prevent you leading an active life, consider Sir Steve Redgrave, one of the World's greatest Olympic athletes.

Sir Steve battled type 1 diabetes to win his record-breaking fifth Olympic Gold medal at the Sydney games in the coxless fours rowing event!

Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called mature onset diabetes) is the most common form of diabetes.

As with Type 1 Diabetes, the problem is related to insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar into energy.

With Type 2 diabetes your body might be producing too little insulin, or it might not be reacting to the insulin correctly. Either way, the end result is that glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. Left untreated, high blood sugar can cause serious long-term health problems.

Type 2 diabetes usually appears later in life, often between the ages of 35-45 years. As it often develops slowly, many people may not recognise the symptoms, and may have diabetes without knowing it.

If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you are one of the lucky ones. Many people have diabetes without knowing it, and are at much greater risk of long term medical complications.

Finding out you have diabetes can be upsetting, but it should not prevent you from living a long and happy life. You may need to make a few changes in your lifestyle, but these changes are also good advice for non-diabetics, so probably a good idea anyway.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes, that is only suffered by pregnant women.

In Gestational diabetes, a woman’s blood sugar is higher than normal because of the other hormones pridcued during preganancy interfere with the insulin that is produced naturally.

Gestational diabetes usually becomes apparent during the 24th to 28th weeks of pregnancy, and, in most cases, disappears of its own accord once the baby is born.

Women with gestational diabetes usually do NOT have an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects.

Generally, sufferers of gestational diabetes have normal blood sugar levels during the critical first stages of the preganancy.
Whilst there can be complications caused by gestational diabetes, these can usually be managed by careful attention to nutrition and blood sugar levels.

Approximately 3 to 5 percent of all pregnant women in the developed world suffer from gestational diabetes.


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