Diabetes is a disease that can occur in a few types. The three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. People can develop diabetes at any age. Both women and men can fall victim to diabetes.
In Type 1 diabetes, the body no longer makes insulin or enough insulin because the it’s immune system, which normally protects from infection by getting rid of bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances, has been attacked and destroyed the cells that make insulin.
Type 2 diabetes usually begins with insulin resistance—a condition that occurs when fat, liver and muscle cells do not use insulin to carry glucose into the body’s cells to use for energy. As a result, the body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells.
Symptoms of Diabetes are:
- being very thirsty
- feeling very hungry
- feeling very tired
- losing weight without trying
- sores that heal slowly
- urinating often
- dry, itchy skin
- feelings of pins and needles in your feet
- losing feeling in your feet
In type 1 diabetes, the body can no longer make insulin because the body’s own immune system has attacked and damaged the cells where insulin is made. The cause of type 2 diabetes is largely unknown, but genetics and lifestyle clearly play roles. Type 2 diabetes has been linked to obesity, genetic risk factors, and inactivity. A few racial and ethnic groups are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Per day calorie intake of a diabetic should be between 1,500-1,800 calories with a proportion of 60:20:20 between carbohydrates, fats and proteins, respectively. A diabetes diet should have at least two seasonal fruits and three vegetables in the meal plan. Though dry fruits may seem like a healthy snack, it is not a good option for diabetics, as the fructose can spike the sugar level. Whole grains, oats, channa atta, millets and other high fiber foods should be incorporated in the diet. If you feel like pasta or noodles, make sure to accompany it with vegetable/sprouts. Good fats such as Omega-3 and monounsaturated fats (MUFA) should be consumed as they are good for the body. Natural sources for these are canola oil, flax seed oil, fatty fish and nuts. These are also low in cholesterol and are Trans fat free.
Studies have shown that lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating healthy and increasing physical activity can radically reduce the progression of type 2 diabetes and are important to controlling type 1 diabetes. These lifestyle changes can help minimize other risk factors like blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, which can have a tremendous impact on people with diabetes.
Prevention is always better than cure. In many instances, lifestyle changes must complement a regimen of medications to control high blood pressure, blood glucose levels and cholesterol as well as to prevent heart attack and stroke.