Diabetes made simple - 10 facts you need to know

...and we promise it's not boring!

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You may have already heard that today is World Health Day and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) are calling for global action to halt the rise in diabetes and improve care for people who suffer from the disease.

In a survey done earlier this year by the International Diabetes Federation (Diabetes Atlas) , it was discovered that out of the approximate 7.5 million adult population (between 20-79 years) in the UAE, a staggering 803,000 have been diagnosed with diabetes. They also estimated that approximately 327,000  people are still undiagnosed. This makes one in nine adults a diabetic. In 2014 alone, in the UAE, an estimated 1,335 deaths were due to diabetes, with 80 per cent of them under 60.

So what exactly is diabetes? You've probably heard the word a lot and have a general idea that it's something to do with sugar levels, insulin and needles but still haven't quite got your head around what it is, how to prevent it and how to treat it.

Well we've made it easy, here are the 10 things you need to know...

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1. What is diabetes?

The WHO defines diabetes as "a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves."

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Somebody checking their blood sugar level

2. Insulin, what is it and what does it have to do with diabetes?

Insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas and is its primary function is to metabolise (digest) sugar in the blood.

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3. There are actually three types of Diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational 

4. Type 1 diabetes

Formally known as insulin dependent diabetes, it usually presents itself in childhood and is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. Sufferers of type 1 diabetes will need to take insulin injections daily to regulate their blood sugars for their whole lives.

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This is what an insulin needle looks like...it's a different kind of needle to the one's you get during a vaccination 

5. Type 2 diabetes 

Formally known as non insulin dependent diabetes, it's caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin or because of your body's resistance to insulin caused by long term over-exposure to sugar (ie. a diet high in sugar). It often results from excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be treated with diet alone however, oral tablets (oral hypoglycaemic agents) and insulin injections may also be prescribed by a doctor.

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6. Gestational diabetes 

Affects women only and its onset is during pregnancy. According to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Gestational diabetes usually develops between the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy and affects about four percent of all pregnancies. The condition usually ends after birth; however, these women have a 50% risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years.

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7. Type 2 diabetes is the biggest concern 

According to the WHO, type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children have also increased worldwide.

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8. Type 2 diabetes can, in fact, BE REVERSED sometimes

According to diabetes.co.uk , with a combination of weight loss, healthy eating, time and dedication, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be reversed.

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9.  Early diagnosis and intervention is KEY to living well with diabetes

Symptoms include: increased urination, extreme thirst, hunger, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, numbness in your fingers and toes, re-occurant infections

If you experience any of the above symptoms please visit your nearest doctor or call the Dubai Diabetes Centre

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10. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented

According to WHO 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical exercise alongside a healthy diet can drastically reduce the risk of diabetes.

So, what are you waiting for? Ditch the hoverboards and go cycling or skating instead. Keep it fun!

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All the above information and statistics have been taken from trustworthy information sites including the Dubai Health Authority website, the WHO website and http://www.diabetes.co.uk 

Now read:8 'healthy' foods you shouldn’t eat too much of

Written By

Lovin Dubai