Showing posts with label blood sugar level. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blood sugar level. Show all posts

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Prevent Diabetes?


Diabetes is a complex, serious, costly and increasingly common disease.

"In Singapore, one out of 9 people aged 18 to 69 has diabetes. That’s about 11.3% of our population or more than 400,000 people!
Diabetes is the fifth most common medical condition diagnosed and one of the six top killer diseases in the country.
Diabetes is a chronic disease and, if not managed well, can deteriorate steadily to cause devastating complications such as blindness, nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease and limb amputation. Studies show that about half of patients already have diabetes-related complications at the time of diagnosis."
The above statistic's reference:

To understand the complexity of diabetes, we must first learn how the body processes food. 

Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (sugar) that the body uses for energy. 

  • The pancreas, an organ which lies near the stomach, produces a hormone called insulin. 

  • Operating much like a key, insulin opens up each individual cell's door, letting in glucose.  After the cells receive this sugar, energy is produced.
  • Diabetes is a condition where the body makes little or no insulin, or does not properly use the insulin it does produce. 
  • Thus, when the sugars are unable to enter the cells, they begin to build up in the blood becoming very harmful to the body.

Diabetes can adversely affect nearly every organ system. 

Complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system disease, amputation, dental disease and difficulties with pregnancy. 

And people with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses - studies have found that diabetics are more likely to die of pneumonia or influenza tha people who do not have this disease.

There are 3 types of diabetes:

1) Gestational Diabetes - is a form of glucose intolerance that is diagnosed in some pregnant women: the cause is unknown. 

  • During pregnancy, some forms of treatment are required to normalize maternal blood glucose level to avoid complications with the infant. 
  • Immediately following pregnancy, 5-10% of women with gestational diabetes are found to develop type 2 diabetes. 
  • Women with gestational diabetes who do not develop type 2 diabetes immediately after delivery have a 20-50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes during the following 5-10 years.

2) Type 1 Diabetes accounts for about 5% of all diagnosed causes of diabetes. 

  • It's a form of auto immune disease, usually strikes children and young adults. 
  • Causes are complex, cells within the pancreas are destroyed and eventually insulin is no longer produced.
  • The patients need to take insulin injection a day to survive.

3) Type 2 Diabetes the most common form, accounting for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Causes are due to:
1. Overweight
2. Older Age
3. Family-history of diabetes
4. prior history of gestational diabetes (during pregnancy)
5. Impaired glucose intolerance
6. Physical inactivity
7. Race/ ethnicity

How to Prevent Diabetes

While people diabetes can take insulin to keep blood glucose levels close to the normal, preventing or delaying the development of diabetes in the first place is EVEN BETTER.

There are some precautions that can be taken to lower the risk of developing diabetes.

1. Following a nutritious diet - must learn how specific foods affect their blood sugar level and what foods they should avoid in order to achieve a healthy balance.

Should diabetics just avoid foods that taste sweet? 

The answer is NO. The sweetness is not a good indication of its sugar content. Even bland foods break down into sugars once they are digested.

There are several types of sugars, including sucrose (cane sugar or table sugar), lactose (found in dairy products), glucose and fructose (occurring naturally in sweet fruits and honey) and maltose (malt sugar). Most of the food we eat is converted to glucose to provide the body with energy.

Diabetics should compare the Glycemic Index (GI) of food to know which foods are beneficial for them. 

GI is the rate at which sugar levels increase in the blood. 

For eg. glucose has a GI of 100 because when we eat glucose, it raises our blood sugar level right away. 

Most foods eventually turn into glucose. But if eat rice or bread for instance, it takes longer for the body's system to turn into sugar and thus raise the blood sugar level.

The lower the GI, the more ideal the food is as a source of nutrition for diabetics.

Below is a list of foods and their GI as a useful reference for diabetics when selecting the appropriate foods.

You can also refer to the below for GI of some Chinese Food:

The glycemic index of Chinese food chart1

2. Consistent exercise program and losing excessive weight. 

According to the Diabetes Prevention Program which studied 3234 people who were at high risk for diabetes and have participated in a moderate diet and exercise program, the results were a 5-7% weight loss which delayed or prevented type 2 diabetes by 58%.

For more info, can WA/ SMS me. 

Thanks and regards,
Nutritional Immunology Consultant