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  • Diabetes - The Silent Killer

    Diabetes has long been known as the silent killer - it has never gained full recognition for what it contributes to the mortality rate in developed countries, and people usually only think of the effect on their diet and lifestyle when diabetes is mentioned as a possibility. However, it has real, measurable and very serious health consequences - and kills thousands of people worldwide every year. This is why diabetes is known as the silent killer.

    What is diabetes? It is a condition where the pancreas overproduces insulin in response to ingested glucose - basically, your body is said to be unable to handle glucose. Insulin helps break down glucose to be metabolized into energy, and if it is overproduced, there is a sharp drop in blood sugar levels. These blood sugar changes affect the brain, your cholesterol levels, your blood vessel walls, and your heart and arteries. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive urination (as your body's metabolism of glucose is linked to water use), excessive hunger (which can exacerbate the symptoms and progression if the wrong foods are chosen), tiredness, and weight loss.

    In the Western world, diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions - however, the diabetes that is currently dominating our health scene is the preventable, adult-onset type 2 diabetes. This diabetes is developed in response to continued high sugar intake, where the pancreas must produce large amounts of insulin to deal with a high sugar diet, and the body suffers the consequences. The pancreas becomes burnt out, and the 'inability to handle sugar', or type 1 diabetes, develops.

    The reason that diabetes is known as the silent killer is because blood sugar spikes can be eroding venous and arterial tissue, causing damage to your pancreas, and otherwise harming your body for years before you get any acute symptoms that lead you to the medical profession. By the time you get to a doctor, it can be too late to reverse the damage done - your life span is often shortened irrevocably.

    Diabetes is often inherited, or at least there are genes that predispose individuals to diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes, the best thing to do is to watch your diet - prevention is the best cure. If you are already concerned about the possibility of type 2 or type 1 diabetes, use the home kits that are available to test your sugar counts, and stay in contact with the medical profession. Many hospitals have the services to treat pre-diabetes. If you catch diabetes early enough, the damage is reversible. Don't take the risk of having to have insulin injections for the rest of your life, and never even being able to look at chocolate again.

    Did you know that home diabetes test are available for both types of diabetes? Firms like TestMedica, Home Diagnostics, and FreeStyle make home products that you can use to give you an indication of whether you are disposed to diabetes, and whether you currently have issues with your blood sugar metabolism. If you are suffering some of the diabetes symptoms, you can use a home test kit as a precursor to speaking to your doctor about your risk of type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

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