Food

Sugar – are you sweet enough?

**I am guilty…

I am addicted to sugar, I’ve tried to give up – I managed three months and fell off the wagon because someone bought me a carrot cake for my birthday. I was doing so well but I messed up! Grrrr. Since then, I struggle to go a day without processed sugar but I really need to reduce my intake, I have friends with diabetes and it isn’t pleasant for them sometimes. I also already have epilepsy so I don’t want to develop another condition that I need to try to manage.

**Wow! The average person eats 53 lbs of sugar a year! I’m above average I’m sure. 

Read more about how sugar affects our health.

Here are some other quick-fire facts about sugar:

  • Sugar is a sweet tasting, a soluble carbohydrate that is hidden in a lot of foods that might not even taste sweet!
  • There are various types of sugar – for example, glucose, fructose and galactose
  • Sucrose is added to some prepared food and beverages – take a look at the back of food packaging to find out how much
  • Sugars are found in the tissues of plants – concentrated in sugarcane and sugar beet
  • A diet high in refined sugar can damage a person’s health and it can be addictive
  • Excessive consumption could lead to obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and tooth decay

**Gosh!  Worldwide, over 422 million people have diabetes – it is a long-term condition that causes high blood sugar levels.

Read more about diabetes.

There are three types of diabetes

  1. Type 1 diabetes:

The body doesn’t produce insulin – insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas and it’s the lack of insulin that causes type 1 diabetes.

Approximately 10% of all diabetes cases are type 1. If you have type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life.

Read more about type 1 diabetes.

2. Type 2 diabetes

The body doesn’t produce enough insulin for proper bodily function.

Approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes worldwide are of this type. Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication and or insulin to control blood glucose levels.

Type 2 is a progressive disease and it will get worse.

Read more about type 2 diabetes.

3. Gestational diabetes

Women can sometimes get this type of diabetes during pregnancy. Some women have very high levels of glucose in their blood when they are pregnant and their bodies are unable to produce enough insulin.

Women should always be tested for diabetes during their pregnancy.

If a pregnant woman has diabetes, the baby may be bigger than he or she would have been if the mother hadn’t developed the condition.

Read more about pregnant women and diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Going for a wee a lot
  • Intense hunger
  • Intense thirst
  • Weight gain
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Cuts and bruises that will not or take ages to heal
  • Male sexual dysfunction
  • Numbness and tingling in hands and feet

Read more about the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

Men and diabetes

Men whose testosterone levels are low have been found to have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, say that low testosterone levels are linked to insulin resistance.

Read more about men, diabetes and male sexual dysfunction.

Obesity and diabetes

Obese or overweight people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People that have a lot of visceral fat (fat stored in the abdominal cavity) are especially at risk. Being overweight, inactive and eating the wrong foods can contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Scientists revealed that the impact of sugary soft drinks on diabetes risk may be a direct one rather than an influence on body weight.

Read more about drinks high in sugar and diabetes.

Age and diabetes

The older we get the higher the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People tend to put on weight and become less active as they age.

Read more about old people and diabetes.

How to determine whether you have diabetes, prediabetes or neither

Doctors can determine whether a patient has a normal metabolism, prediabetes or diabetes in one of three different ways – there are three possible tests:

  1. The A1C test
  • At least 6.5% means diabetes
  • Between 5.7% and 5.99% means prediabetes
  • Less than 5.7% means normal

      2. The FPG (fasting plasma glucose) test

  • At least 126 mg/dl means diabetes
  • Between 100 mg/dl and 125.99 mg/dl means prediabetes
  • Less than 100 mg/dl means normal
  • An abnormal reading following the FPG means the patient has impaired fasting glucose (IFG)

3. The OGTT (oral glucose tolerance test)

  • At least 200 mg/dl means diabetes
  • Between 140 and 199.9 mg/dl means prediabetes
  • Less than 140 mg/dl means normal
  • An abnormal reading following the OGTT means the patient has impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)

Find out more about a home diabetes test.

Here is a list of symptoms and complications due to badly controlled diabetes:

  • Eye problems – such as cataracts or diabetic retinopathy
  • Foot complications – neuropathy, ulcers or gangrene
  • Skin complications – skin infections and skin disorders
  • Heart problems – such as ischemic heart disease, this is when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished
  • Hypertension – which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke
  • Mental health – risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders
  • Hearing loss – a higher risk of developing hearing problems
  • Gum disease – there is a higher count of gum disease among diabetes patients
  • Gastroparesis – the muscles of the stomach stop working properly
  • Ketoacidosis – a combination of ketosis and acidosis
  • Neuropathy – nerve damage which can lead to several different problems.
  • HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome) – blood glucose levels shoot up too high, and there are no ketones present in the blood or urine. It is an emergency condition.
  • Nephropathy – uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney disease
  • PAD (peripheral arterial disease) – symptoms may include pain in the leg, tingling and sometimes problems walking properly
  • Stroke – if blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood glucose levels are not controlled, the risk of stroke increases significantly
  • Erectile dysfunction – male impotence.
  • Infections – people with badly controlled diabetes are much more susceptible to infections
  • Healing of wounds – cuts and lesions take much longer to heal

 

Controlling diabetes…  

Treatment is effective and important.

All types of diabetes are treatable.

  • Type 1 diabetes lasts a lifetime, there is no known cure
  • Type 2 diabetes usually lasts a lifetime, however, some people have managed to get rid of their symptoms without medication. They have done it through a combination of exercise, diet and body weight control, special diets can help sufferers of type 2 diabetes control the condition

If you are concerned that you may have developed diabetes please see a doctor.

Visit the UK diabetes learning zone to find out more about diabetes.

 

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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **

References:

www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes

 

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