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Understanding sugar disease

HEALTH DIALOGUE
SUGAR disease is the lay man’s term for diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much “sugar” (glucose) in the blood stream. The most common myth is that you can get “sugar disease” from eating too much sugar.
In scientific speak, diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder in which there are persistently high glucose levels in the blood. There are three types of diabetes.
Type 1 is usually diagnosed in childhood and treated with injectable medication; Type 2 is more common in adults and not necessarily treated with medication; Gestational diabetes happens in women who are pregnant and usually resolves after delivery.
347 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes; most of these people are either obese or live sedentary lives. According to the World
Health Organisation, 9 percent of adults in the world suffer from diabetes; of those 90 percent suffer from type 2 diabetes.
It was estimated that in 2012, 1.5 million people died as a direct result of having diabetes. Between fifty and eighty percent of people with diabetes die from cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased appetite, excessive thirst, weight loss, fatigue, reduced concentration & blurred vision. Although these are the most common symptoms for diabetes, they are not the only ones.
Diabetes is diagnosed by certain laboratory tests. The most commonly used test to check for abnormal glucose levels in the blood is known as the fasting blood sugar. If the fasting blood sugar test is abnormal sometimes another test may be performed, the Glucose Tolerance test, this test checks the response of your body to glucose over a specific period of time. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has recommended the blood test A1c or glycosylated haemoglobin test to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes.
Once diagnosed with diabetes, the next step is to prepare for a change in lifestyle. It was previously thought that diabetic patients required an extremely complicated diet, it is now known that most diabetic patients can actually have a relatively “normal” diet, as long as it is a healthy one with a reduction in starch and processed sugar. In other words sweets and chocolates.
Not all people diagnosed with diabetes will need medication, but all people diagnosed with diabetes will need a healthy diet and exercise appropriate for them, taking into consideration age, weight, type of exercise and any previous experience with exercise.
For information on Diabetes email 990Health@champ.org.zm

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