by Grenada Food and Nutrition Council
Grenada will observe World Diabetes Day 2023 on 14 November, with the theme “Empowering Global Health.”
Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the body’s ability to turn food into energy and affects the body’s ability to produce and use insulin which helps in the distribution of energy from your bloodstream.
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) “With diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much sugar or glucose stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.”
There are 3 types of Diabetes. Type 1 is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction of the body where “the body attacks itself by mistake.” People of any age can develop this type, and there is no way of preventing it because of its nature. The CDC says that people with this type of diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 usually develops over time and is most common in adults and elderly people. This type of diabetes affects the body’s ability to use insulin properly. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that it can take years before symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes can be noticed although in some people, the disease can come on suddenly. The most recognised symptoms of diabetes are the need to urinate more often than usual, significant and unplanned weight loss, feeling thirsty most of the time, blurry vision and feeling tired even though you are well rested.
The third type is Gestational Diabetes and this occurs in women who are pregnant and have not had diabetes before pregnancy. As a result of this, babies are at higher risk for health problems and may develop childhood obesity and type two diabetes as an adult.
Regular health checks and testing can help you to detect changes in your blood sugar levels. Early detection of diabetes can help you to manage and possibly even reverse this chronic disease. Testing can be done through blood glucose testing using a portable blood sugar meter at home or during a routine visit to a doctor.
Diabetes can be prevented and managed through healthy lifestyle practices, such as regular exercise, keeping physically active and a properly balanced diet.
People with diabetes are encouraged to work with a dietitian or nutritionist to develop a healthy eating plan to ensure their bodies can better control blood sugar levels. As a person living with diabetes, meals involve eating healthy foods in moderation, such as foods rich in nutrients and low in saturated fat; these would include whole grain/wheat, vegetables and fruits, legumes/beans and peas, and low-fat dairy products.