Diabetes – The High Blood Sugar Disease
Here in Nigeria, we are all too familiar with the word diabetes.
The condition otherwise known as high blood sugar is synonymous with sudden blindness and foot amputations, however, it’s more complicated than you think.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that causes an imbalance in your blood sugar, causing it to be too high. With diabetes type 1, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, if any at all.
This type of diabetes occurs starting in childhood, and there is usually no exact cause. The person who develops type 1 diabetes will always need to use insulin to be able to process sugar and carbohydrates.
Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body handles sugar or glucose. Type 2 diabetes is also known as insulin resistance. Resistance happens when the person consumes more glucose than the insulin available to process it.
After a while, the pancreas cannot meet up with the increased need to produce insulin, and the excess blood sugar circulates in the blood causing damage.
This condition arises in adulthood and is almost directly related to lifestyle choices (food, especially).
Diabetes type 2 if left untreated can lead to many issues including heart disease, stroke, foot problems, and kidney damage and nerve pain.
Risk factors for developing type 2 include being overweight, having large babies, living a sedentary lifestyle and hereditary factor and being of African descent.
The average age of onset is about 45 years, but we are starting to see this condition occur even in teenagers and children, due to the increase in the consumption of sugary, high fat and carbohydrate foods and drinks.
Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst/urination, fatigue, blurry vision, tingling of hands and feet, reoccurring yeast infections and wounds that don’t heal.
What can be done to reduce your chances of developing diabetes and its side effects?
The first thing I always recommend is to check your blood sugar, before and after meals to detect which foods raise your blood sugar and by how much.
Reducing or eliminating these foods will be of great benefit to your body. Lose weight if you are overweight as excess body fat can cause insulin resistance.
Engage in physical activity, a minimum of 30 minutes a day. It can be a brisk walk, riding a bike or swimming.
Eat foods low in carbohydrates and high in fibre.
Such as tons of vegetables like spinach, lettuce, green beans, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, etc.
For grains, stick to low glycemic index grains such as fonio (acha), millet, guinea corn and legumes like beans and chickpeas.
Acha, in particular, has been shown to be superior to most of the local grains regarding stabilising blood sugars and it tastes very similar to the regular yam based poundo products.
Herbs and plants that have shown to possess anti-diabetic properties include bitter melon and aloe vera.
These two herbs can be used alone but work better when used together. These herbs have been proven to lower blood sugar levels and increase insulin levels.
Diabetes is a chronic lifelong condition; however, it can be reversed if these lifestyle changes are adopted.