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Living with diabetes

Last Updated: 19 January 2019

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Living with diabetes

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in the UK and around 4.5 million have been diagnosed. Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed has more than doubled.

 

Although there is currently no cure for diabetes, if it is managed well you can maintain a good quality of life and reduce your risk of developing other health conditions. 

 

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is managed by injecting insulin regularly (up to 6 times a day). It’s also important to follow a healthy diet, take regular exercise and monitor your blood glucose levels frequently. The main aim is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible (4-6mmol/l at fasting). This will help to prevent any complications in both the short and long-term.

 

Type 2 diabetes

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes often arises because of lifestyle factors – being overweight, eating a poor diet and lack of exercise can all contribute. About 90% of individuals diagnosed with diabetes have type 2. In the initial stages of type 2 diabetes, eating well and exercising regularly can help to keep the condition under control. But if the condition progresses, medication and insulin injections may be necessary. This is why it’s important to diagnose and treat type 2 diabetes as early as possible.

 

If left untreated, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications so it’s essential to see your health practitioner on a regular basis to ensure that you’re following the best possible treatment plan.

 

Gestational diabetes

Around 3-8% of women will develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy – this is when blood sugar levels rise above normal levels. It typically manifests around 24th-28th week of pregnancy, although it can be earlier.  

 

The mother’s blood glucose levels usually return to normal after birth but her risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future is higher. There is also an increased risk of the child developing type 2 diabetes.

 

If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s essential to monitor blood sugar levels regularly. Usually normal blood sugar levels can be managed with a combination of healthy eating and activity, but if not then insulin injections may be required for the duration of the pregnancy. Your doctor will advise on the best treatment plan for you and your baby.

 

 

Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)

 
Source:
https://www.diabetes.org.uk

 

Categories:
Disease
Healthy ageing
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