It's in your blood...

A while ago I wrote a blog post about how I'd been diagnosed with diabetes and the steps I took to battle that diagnosis.  I thought it was time I wrote about why it's important for everyone to keep an eye out for the signs of diabetes (and pre-diabetes) so that they can get on top of the condition before it gets worse.

Firstly, what is diabetes?  According to Diabetes New Zealand, "Diabetes is the result of the body not creating enough insulin to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels in the normal range.  Everyone needs some glucose in their blood, but if it's too high it can damage your body over time.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the cells in the body don't recognise the insulin that is present.  The end result is the same: high levels of glucose in your blood."

Having high blood sugars over a significant length of time can lead to complications affecting many different body parts such as your eyes, kidneys, feet, teeth and mouth, heart and blood vessels as well as many other issues.  This alone makes it worth keeping an eye out for the possibility of diabetes developing.

So who is at risk?  There are quite a few risk factors which make you more likely than other people to suffer this condition.  These are pretty numerous, so to save space, check out the Diabetes New Zealand website for more details on this.  It is well worth the quick read, and the website has other great information on diabetes and how to deal with the condition if you have it.

So now that we have discussed what diabetes is and who may be at risk, what can you do about being proactive in your management of the condition or to be vigilant about it?  Firstly, one of the big risk factors is carrying excess weight around your waist.  Losing fat around your middle can help both in preventing the development of diabetes and in managing the condition if you have it.

Something that can help prevent the condition developing is to get a regular blood test from your GP.  A simple finger prick test can tell you whether your blood sugar reading is in the normal range at that particular point in time, but a test called a HbA1c can give you a sort of "average" blood sugar reading for a period of the last 3 months or so.  This can be useful in terms of knowing where you are overall rather than just at that moment when you are sitting in your doctors office.  

Having a regular checkup with your doctor is one of the best ways to prevent diabetes from happening.  I was diagnosed completely by accident - I went to the hospital for a sore back, they took bloods to make sure it wasn't by kidneys, and they told me there and then I needed to make an appointment with my GP as there was a problem.  I had no symptoms of diabetes, but my blood sugars were already in the pre-diabetic range (above normal but not quite high enough to be considered diabetic yet).  I fully recommend seeing your doctor on a regular (at least yearly) basis.

Take it from me, you don't want to have to take multiple pills per day (possibly for the rest of your life), with the possibility of having to take insulin later on down the track.  You don't want to have to prick your fingers multiple times per week, and often up to 6 times per day if you are trying to nail down a stable blood sugar level.  It sucks.

Prevention is a way better alternative to treatment - there is currently no cure, so take my word for it, take stock of where you are at and look at ways in which you can prevent the condition happening to you.

Are you diabetic and in need of some help from a trainer who knows what they are talking about from first hand knowledge?  Make an online booking for an initial consultation and we can talk about ways I can help you. 


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