Woman&Business talks to Sr Jossie van der Westhuizen from the Diabetes Clinic at Life Rosepark Hospital about the warning signs of Diabetes and what readers should be aware of.
Firstly, it is very important to distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Children and young adults are more susceptible to Type 1. It is easier to diagnose, Sr. Jossie says, because the symptoms are very clear: “Children are very thirsty, urinate more, have problems with their vision and get sick easier, with all types of infections, thus your GP will be able to make an early diagnosis.”
Type 2 Diabetes is not as easy to diagnose. “While Type 1 diabetics usually lose weight, Type 2 diabetics are prone to gain weight” Sr Jossie says that “tiredness, low energy levels and serious infections may also be warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes. You might have Type 2 Diabetes and not be aware of it. They experience this quite often when patients are due for operations and only then find out that they are Type 2 diabetics. On a world wide scale of the diabetic population, about 10% have Type 1 Diabetes, which might be hereditary, thus the other 90% are Type 2 diabetics. This situation can be linked to our modern lifestyle – we are not eating healthy food and don’t exercise enough.
“There is no such thing as a diabetic diet.”
The only way to diagnose Diabetes is by have a fasting blood glucose test done at a laboratory. If you suspect that you might have Type 2 Diabetes, Sr. Jossie’s advice is to visit your GP as a matter of urgency. If Diabetes is diagnosed, you will have to make changes to your lifestyle and diet.
Drink lots of water, exercise daily and eat healthy. Sr. Jossie feels that you have to make changes to your lifestyle instead of going on a diabetics diet. Eat a variety of healthy food, like fresh vegetables and fruit, avoid fatty food and cut down on salt. “Eat smaller meals three times a day and snack in-between on fruit. Avoid fruit juice. The label might state, no added sugar, but fruit juice contains too much sugar.”