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Diabetes: Know the Signs and Symptoms!

Diabetes is a condition which occurs when a person’s blood sugar levels are too high for an extended period of time. High blood sugar is often a result of low insulin levels. There are two types of diabetes:

Type 1: This type is present from birth and is the result of the body’s immune system destroying the cells which produce insulin.

Type 2: This type is a result of the body not producing adequate levels of insulin, or the body’s cells developing resistance to insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes, and around 90% of those diagnosed fall into this category.

The signs and symptoms of diabetes

The signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the same. If you notice any of the following in yourself or in someone you know, you should visit a GP.

  • Frequent visits to the toilet, especially during the night
  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Thrush or genital itching
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Blurry vision

These symptoms are caused by excess glucose in the blood which isn’t being used to create energy. The body will try to flush the glucose away via the urine. This can lead to feelings of thirst and frequent visits to the toilet. High levels of glucose in your urine can provide the ideal conditions for bacteria to breed, which can lead to thrush. High levels of glucose can also damage the blood vessels in your eyes which will affect your vision. If you ignore these symptoms, it could lead to very serious health problems later in life.

Type 1 diabetes can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which, in acute cases, can result in coma and death.

Type 2 diabetes tends to develop later in life at a much slower pace. Because it develops slowly, many people do not realise they are unwell. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause damage to the major organs of the body such as the heart, kidneys, and nerves.

Diabetes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. However, to properly manage the condition, you will need the support of medical professionals who can monitor your progress and offer medication and advice.

The next steps

If you display any combination of the above symptoms, you should book an appointment with your doctor today. Having these symptoms doesn’t mean that you definitely have diabetes, as other medical conditions could cause them. However, the sooner you are assessed, the sooner you can begin treatment. If you do have diabetes, the earlier you are diagnosed, the better your treatment outcome will be.

Your doctor will perform a blood test to establish if you have diabetes. If the test confirms that you do, the doctor may refer you to a specialist clinic for further assessments and treatment. Your GP will assess your weight and diet before recommending changes you can make to your lifestyle which will help you to manage the condition. You may also be given medications which will help to regulate your blood glucose levels.

If you are worried that you or someone you know may have diabetes, contact your GP today.

 

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Four Ways to Encourage Weight Loss When Living with Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is linked to weight, with over 90 percent of those who have received a recent diagnosis of the disease being overweight. If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, losing excess weight could help you to manage the condition and could improve the quality of your life. Studies have found that a person who is living with type 2 diabetes can reduce their insulin resistance by losing as little as 7 percent of their body weight. Below is a guide to some steps you can take on your weight loss journey.

Weigh Yourself

The first thing you will need to do is to establish your Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI is a medical tool which assesses your body fat in relation to your height and weight. To calculate your BMI you simply need to enter some basic body measurements into a BMI calculator. Once you have established your BMI, you can speak with your GP or diabetes nurse about any support you may need to reach a healthy BMI.

Change Your Diet and How You Eat

The food and drink which you consume can have a dramatic impact on your blood sugar levels and on your weight. If you are planning to lose weight, you should eat a diet which contains high levels of fruit and veg, lean meat, whole grains, and nuts. You should avoid foods which contain high levels of fat or sugar. As well as thinking about what you are eating, you should also think about how you eat. By eating slowly and using smaller plates, you can help to regulate the number of calories you consume. If you would like further advice about changing your diet so you can lose weight and manage your diabetes, you should contact a registered dietitian today.

Get Some Exercise

Losing weight isn’t just about changing your diet, it is also about burning calories by being active. You should aim to do around 30 minutes of exercise every day. The form of exercise isn’t important, as long as it gets your heart rate up and your muscles moving. You may wish to sign up at your local gym, take an exercise class, visit your local pool or rent a fitness DVD. Remember to start slowly and build the rate at which you are exercising up gently. You could even start by going for a walk every day. Exercise not only helps you to lose weight, it can also help to boost your energy levels, your mood, and your overall health.

Set Yourself Realistic Goals

Finally, it will be difficult to measure your progress if you don’t set yourself goals. When setting goals, you should make sure they are realistic and achievable. Rather than saying you want to lose a stone in a month, you should aim to lose a few pounds a week over a longer period of time. When you achieve your weekly goal, you can reward yourself with a little treat.

If you would like further advice, contact your GP today.

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