Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce sufficient amounts of a hormone called insulin to process the food eaten by the patient. All the food you eat is converted by your digestive system into glucose, a form of sugar. When the pancreas senses a surge in the glucose levels in your body, it produces adequate amounts of insulin. This insulin carries some of the glucose to your cells so that they can convert it into energy and function. The balance is carried to your muscles and liver to be stored as fat. Because of diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce enough of the hormone. As a result, the excess sugar continues to circulate in the blood as blood sugar. If left untreated, the disease can affect your organs and cause other problems.
There are two forms of diabetes. Type I and Type II. Type I is a genetic condition and people are either born with it or develop it early in life. Type II diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes is typically caused because of your lifestyle.
Causes of Diabetes
While you may not be able to avoid getting diabetes altogether, if you are in any of these situations, you raise your risk of contracting the disease.
- Leading a sedentary life with low physical activity
- Having a genetic predisposition (If you parents, grandparents or other blood relatives have the disease, you are more likely to develop it.)
- High cholesterol levels
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- If you had diabetes during the term of your pregnancy, you have a greater chance of getting it later in life. having babies with a high birth weight of 9 pounds or more can also raise your chances.
- If you have had problems with the circulatory system of your body, that makes you more susceptible to the disease.
- Being overweight or obese
Aside from genetic propensity, you can try and eliminate (or reduce to some extent), the possible causes of diabetes and perhaps, delay its onset. Here are a few steps you could take:
- Incorporate regular physical activity and exercise into your life.
- Opt for a low-fat, low calorie diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
- Avoid processed foods and those that are high in calories and low in nutrition value.
- Eat smaller portions at meal times and have about 4 to 5 meals a day.
- If you have high cholesterol, make sure you consult your doctor and begin taking the necessary medication to control it.
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you delay the onset of diabetes and its effects on other parts of your body. With a little care, there is no reason why you cannot lead a full, healthy life.