Welfare Notes - May 2006

May, 2006

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Hyperglycemia and other related disturbances in the body’s metabolism can lead to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Diabetes has become one the major causes of premature illness and death mainly through the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Diabetes is also a leading cause of blindness, amputation, and kidney failure.

People with type 1 diabetes require daily injections of insulin to survive. People with type 2 diabetes can sometimes manage their condition with life style measures alone, but oral drugs are often required, and less frequently insulin, in order to achieve good metabolic control.

Although the onset of type 1 diabetes typically occurs in childhood, it may also first occur in adults. People with a family history of type 1 diabetes are at an increase risk. Blood tests may also identify those at high risk.

Adults and children who are overweight or obese and are physically inactive have an increased risk to develop type 2 diabetes.

Studies have shown that many complications of diabetes can be prevented or delayed. Lifestyle changes can help. A healthy diet consisting of eating more fruits and vegetables and less sugar and saturated fats can help in controlling weight. Physical activity is important. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise a day five times per week promotes good health. Smoking cessation is also highly recommended. For more information, please consult your physician.