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Getting to Know the Enemy: Diabetes

WHAT IS DIABETES?




When your blood glucose, also known as blood sugar, is too high, that's diabetes. Think of glucose as the fuel your body needs, and it comes from both what you eat and what your body makes. Your pancreas releases insulin, a hormone helping your cells use glucose for energy. In diabetes, either your body doesn't make enough insulin, or it doesn't use it properly, leaving glucose in your blood instead of going into your cells.


Diabetes can lead to issues like kidney, nerve, heart, and eye problems, and even some cancers. The good news is, you can lower the risk of these health problems by managing or preventing diabetes.


DIABETES SYMPTOMS:


If you're noticing any of these signs of diabetes, it's a good idea to chat with your doctor and consider getting your blood sugar checked:


o Frequent urination, especially during the night

o Experiencing increased thirst

o Unintentional weight loss

o Persistent hunger

o Blurry vision

o Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

o Fatigue

o Dry skin

o Slow-healing sores

o Increased susceptibility to infections


Different Kinds of Diabetes:




Diabetes comes in various types, and some of the most common ones include:


1. Type 2 diabetes: This is common in adults but can affect anyone. Your body either doesn't make enough insulin, or your cells don't respond well to it.

2. Prediabetes: Before Type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis.

3. Type 1 diabetes: Mostly found in children and young adults, it's when your immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells.

4. Gestational diabetes: Happens during pregnancy, but usually goes away after giving birth. Still, it increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes later.

Other Types include:

o Type 3c diabetes: Happens when your pancreas is damaged due to conditions like pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer.

o LADA: Similar to Type 1 but develops slowly, usually in people over 30.

o MODY: Caused by genetic mutations, often runs in families.

o Neonatal diabetes: A rare type occurring in the first six months of life, can be permanent or temporary.

o Brittle diabetes: A severe form of Type 1 diabetes marked by frequent and severe blood sugar level episodes.


WAYS TO PREVENT DIABETES




Prediabetes is like the stage right before diabetes kicks in, where your blood sugar levels are a bit high but not quite in the diabetes zone. The good news is, you don't have to end up with diabetes! There are plenty of things you can do to lower your risk and keep things in check.


o Cut down on sugar and refined carbs: Swap out sugary foods for veggies, oatmeal, and whole grains to keep your blood sugar stable.

o Quit smoking: Ditching the cigarettes lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

o Watch your portion sizes: Keep your meals reasonable to help control blood sugar and insulin levels.

o Aim for 30 minutes of daily activity: Whether it's a walk, dance, or swim, staying active for 30 minutes a day makes a difference.

o Stay hydrated with water: Choose water over sugary drinks for better blood sugar control.

o Incorporate fiber into your diet: Boost your fiber intake with each meal for a healthier gut and weight management. It helps prevent blood sugar spikes, reducing the risk of diabetes.


SUPERFOOD FOR DIABETES:


The term "superfood" gets thrown around a lot by food and drink companies, claiming health benefits for certain foods. But interestingly, there's no official definition of the word by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA keeps an eye on health claims made on food labels, making sure there's solid scientific research backing them up. Here's a list of foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber—great for your overall health and possibly even disease prevention.


o Beans: Kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans are not only rich in magnesium and potassium but also packed with fiber. They offer a protein boost without the saturated fat found in some other sources. If you're short on time, canned beans work too – just remember to rinse them to reduce the salt.


o Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, collards, and kale are not just delicious but also loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as iron, calcium, and potassium. Low in calories and carbs, they make a great addition to salads, soups, and stews.


o Citrus Fruit: Whether it's grapefruits, oranges, lemons, or limes, citrus fruits are a delightful way to get your daily dose of fiber, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.


o Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, or any variety you love – berries are bursting with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this healthy option that also provides vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium, and more.


o Tomatoes: Whether you prefer them pureed, raw, or in a sauce, tomatoes offer vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium.


o Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and albacore tuna are excellent choices. Opt for broiled, baked, or grilled preparations to avoid extra calories. The American Diabetes Association recommends enjoying fish, especially fatty fish, twice a week.


o Nuts: A handful of nuts not only satisfies hunger but also provides healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber. Walnuts and flax seeds, in particular, offer omega-3 fatty acids.


o Whole Grains: Go for grains with "whole" as the first ingredient. Whole oats, quinoa, whole grain barley, and farro are rich in magnesium, B vitamins, chromium, iron, folate, and fiber.


o Milk and Yogurt: These aren't just for strong bones and teeth; they're also good sources of calcium and vitamin D. Keep an eye out for lower-fat and lower-sugar yogurt options in your meal planning.


Ladies, I sincerely hope this article has provided valuable insights and practical tips to navigate the prevention of diabetes during the menopausal phase. Remember, prioritizing your health during this transformative journey is key. By adopting mindful eating habits, staying physically active, and seeking professional guidance, you're taking proactive steps toward managing your health during menopause.


Embrace these strategies as part of your holistic approach to well-being, empowering yourselves to lead fulfilling and healthy lives. Here's to your health and vitality!


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